By Antony Jordan
Although we’re only three rounds into the 2016/17 Premier League season the first international break of the campaign will shortly be upon us following the final two matches of the weekend. These two final games see Manchester City aim to keep their 100% winning start to the season as they welcome West Ham to The Etihad Stadium while the opening action this Sunday sees West Brom and Middlesbrough look to push towards the top four places in the table.
Both games offer plenty, but who’ll take the points and where is the betting value? We preview both games with online sportsbook Sports Interaction to provide our best EPL picks of the day.
Although they come into this match as the massive outsiders, it was the Londoners who had the best of things in clashes between the sides last season as The Hammers triumphed 2-1 on this ground last September and drew 2-2 at The Boleyn Ground in January to claim four points from a possible six. They will be aiming to claim another positive result this Sunday afternoon too, but are they able to do so after exiting the Europa League during the week as they were beaten 1-0 at home by Romanian side Astra?
West Ham have won one and lost one in the EPL as they bounced back from losing 2-1 to Chelsea with a late, late 1-0 win their first league match at The London Stadium against Bournemouth and they certainly have the ability to push City all the way in this one. However, after losing a number of striking options, including Andy Carroll, Andre Ayew and Diafra Sakho, through injury they are number down on midfield players too as Havard Nordtveit is out while Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini are doubts.
City are almost at full strength for the match, with only captain Vincent Kompany out, and after resting players in midweek as they secured their place in the Champions’ League group stage they will be fully fit for this clash. They have scored six goals in their two EPL games so far as they saw off Sunderland and Stoke City, now with home advantage against a depleted West Ham side we feel that City will join Chelsea and Man United with three wins from three matches at the start of the season.
Our best Man City v West Ham bet is back the home win with Over 3.5 goals to be scored @ 2.38 at SportsInteraction.com.
The Baggies and The Boro may come into this match sitting mid-table at 11th and 8th respectively, but both teams will be desperate to bounce back from some mid-week disappointments as they exited the League Cup to lower league opposition. The home side at The Hawthorns this Sunday were beaten on penalties by third tier Northampton Town after finishing 2-2 after two hours, while Championship side Fulham came back from a goal down to beat Middlesbrough in extra time now both teams will want to return to winning ways. Which side will do so?
West Brom triumphed 5-0 at The Riverside and 2-0 on home side when they last shared a division in the 2009/10 season but after losing their only EPL match at The Hawthorns this season as Everton came from a goal down are they good enough to win this clash? They’re missing new loan signing Brendan Galloway after picking up an injury during the week and, as a result, may play 16 year old Kane Wilson at full back. Should Wilson play then he will become the first player born in the 21st century to feature in the Premier League!
Middlesbrough are short in their full back positions too with George Friend and Fabio both out injured while goalkeeper Victor Valdes and midfielder Marten de Roon also join them on the sidelines. Both sides have scored in both of Boro’s two matches so far and stand in keeper Brad Guzan was directly responsible for Sunderland’s goal in their last league match, and with West Brom having netted five in three this season we feel that, despite many feeling that this will be a boring game, there will be goals in the Midlands this Sunday afternoon.