August 29th, 2019

Premier League Gameweek 4

By Jonny Houghton

The thing about putting your opinions on the internet is that sometimes you can end up looking a bit silly and last weekend was definitely one to forget.

This Premier League Gameweek round 3 of fixtures saw only Aston Villa and Liverpool managing use their home advantage to claim all 3 points. With the dreaded early internationals looming, teams will be looking to go into the break with some momentum and points on the board.

Man United v Southampton-12.30pm Saturday

Fresh off a last minute defeat to Crystal Palace last weekend, Manchester United begin proceedings in Saturday’s lunchtime kick off with a trip to St Mary’s. Ralph Hasenhüttl’s men come in to the game off their first win of the season against a 10-man Brighton last time out and will look to pile more misery on Ole Gunnar Solskjær.

Given Southampton’s narrow 4-2-2-2 approach, I expect United’s pacy wingers to give them trouble. Daniel James has been impressive in recent weeks but having been booked for diving again in his last fixture, could do with being careful to avoid any kind of suspension. You’ll have to go back to 2016 to find the last time United lost to Southampton though coincidentally that’s also the last time the visitors won at St Mary’s.

Tough to call given United’s recent form and Southampton’s lack of goals, but the lunchtime kick off always seems to deliver on the Both Teams To Score front and this can be found at 8/11. United’s quality should see them take 3 points here and both sides have found the net often in recent games so Man United to win with over 2.5 match goals looks good to me at 23/10.

Chelsea v Sheffield United-3pm Saturday

Chelsea face Sheffield United in the first of the 3 o’clock kicks off and come into the fixture with identical records (P3 W1, D1, L1). Frank Lampard’s men ran out 3-2 winners to Norwich in last weeks early kick off thanks to goals from Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount while The Blades lost 2-1 to Leicester courtesy of a Harvey Barnes screamer.

Lampard’s faith in youth has started to pay dividends with both Abraham and Mount having great games, which will only help their confidence. Norwich were a tough test for the young Chelsea side having impressed so far this season and now face their second promoted team in a row in front of their own fans, a good opportunity to rack up some points before the international break. You can back Tammy Abraham to continue his good fortune in front of goal at 100/30 for the first goal and 19/20 anytime, though I’d be going for the wincast at 5/4 for a bit of extra value.

Crystal Palace v Aston Villa-3pm Saturday

Crystal Palace scored their first two goals of the season against Manchester United and they face Aston Villa, who will be well rested after victory over Everton last Friday. Gary Cahill was lucky to remain on the pitch after bringing down Anthony Martial in the box, but was spared when Marcus Rashford missed the resulting penalty and went on to put in a man of the match performance on his debut for his new club, clearing the ball six times.

One good result isn’t enough to paper over the cracks though and there doesn’t seem to be any sign of Wilfried Zaha returning to form and lack of a plan B doesn’t bode well. Villa on the other hand have put in some good performances this season and although that hasn’t translated to many points yet, fans shouldn’t be discouraged.

Record signing Wesley got his first goal in English football and both Jota and John McGinn have been good in midfield. It’s just been some individual mistakes rather than actual bad performances being their undoing so far. Both teams have Carabao Cup commitments midweek but at this stage of the season, I don’t expect that to be a problem. Villa are in interesting price to win in the 90 minute market at 23/10 and I’m backing them to beat a lackluster Crystal Palace side who lost midweek to Colchester after a penalty shootout.

Leicester v Bournemouth-3pm Saturday

After chasing Manchester City shadows for first 30 minutes on Sunday, Bournemouth managed to grab a consolation goal thanks to a brilliant long range strike from loanee Harry Wilson. Their passing let them down against the champions, and will need to be a lot tighter defensively when they travel to the King Power Stadium this weekend to face Leicester.

Both teams needed penalties to advance in their midweek Carabao Cup fixtures but Jamie Vardy has managed 10 goals in 13 league appearances since Brendan Rodgers took over the Foxes and a budding partnership with James Maddison providing him 4 assists in those 10 goals. I expect this to continue. The 32 year old is 3/1 to open the scoring and Leicester to win with both teams to score is 21/10.

Man City v Brighton-3pm Saturday

Manchester City welcome Brighton this weekend, and after cruising to a 3-1 win last time out against Bournemouth the visitors will be without Florin Andone after the Romanians straight red against Southampton last time out.

They had looked comfortable until then but this weekend looks like one where they’ll struggle to contain a City side who have been near perfect this season so far. The last few weeks I’ve backed Raheem Sterling to score anytime and I’m going to stick with it despite the price shortening, the 24 year old is joint top scorer in the league so far this term and is only getting better. He’s 3/1 to score the first goal this weekend.

Newcastle v Watford-3pm Saturday

For Watford’s last game I predicted a really dull 0-0 draw and after 3 minutes Mark Noble slotted a penalty making me feel a little bit silly. I never do draws, serves me right! It didn’t really get any better for The Hornet’s though they did manage to level the score before Sebastien Haller’s braced finished it off.

Watford lie bottom of the table with 0 points from their first 3 games played and just 1 goal to show for it. Poor. They face a Newcastle who will be buoyed by their victory over Spurs, the Magpies proved tough to break down and came away with the points thanks to Joelinton’s first goal in English football after an assist from substitute Christian Atsu.

Given Watford’s habit of not scoring very often while also conceding very often, Newcastle should have a good day here, provided they can take build on last weekend’s positives, they’re 6/4 to beat Watford on Saturday. A penalty loss at Leicester in the Carabao cup midweek gives Steve Bruce something to think about and he will be hoping for at least one win in these next two games to lift some of the pressure on his shoulders.

West Ham v Norwich-Saturday 3pm

Despite being one of the more entertaining teams so far this season, Norwich find themselves with just 3 points after 3 games. In fairness to them they’ve played two of last season’s top three and have managed 6 goals with Finnish sensation Teemu Pukki responsible for 5 of them. He’s this season’s joint top goalscorer so far (tied with Raheem Sterling) despite the notable handicap of being in my fantasy football team.

The Canaries take on a West Ham side who beat Watford last time out, but everybody does that recently. West Ham will want to build on their first win of the season but will have to work hard defensively to cope with Norwich who put 2 past Chelsea last time out. Pukki seems to be enjoying life in the Premier League so far and I’ll go with him to score anytime and Norwich to win at 7/2.

Burnley v Liverpool-5.30pm Saturday

Saturday’s evening kick off sees Burnley welcome the European Champions Liverpool to Turf Moor. (typing that does not get old, I promise you as a Liverpool fan)

Fresh off a 3-1 victory over Arsenal, The Reds look to maintain their 100% league record in to the international break and have a good record against their hosts in recent years. Sean Dyche will likely set up to try and frustrate Liverpool although they have been a bit more attacking than usual this season. Their last two games they registered 31 shots between them, hardly the long ball tactics we’ve become used too.

Ashley Barnes has been in good scoring form in 2019 (13), only Sadio Mané (15) and Sergio Aguero (16) managing more. With Liverpool still utilizing back up keeper Adrián, he will look to get caught up with his rivals. Liverpool haven’t kept a clean sheet yet this season, but that hasn’t mattered as their front 3 have looked sharp from the off.

Roberto Firmino has been excellent for The Reds so far this term and you wouldn’t be far wrong picking any one of his attacking colleagues in the first goalscorer market this weekend. Liverpool have conceded late in every game this season. Back them to win, but definitely in the Goals Galore Plus market, just to save any sweating in the last 20 minutes. It’s 2/1.

Everton-Wolves-2pm Sunday

Everton missed out on the chance to go top of the league on Friday after defeat to Aston Villa, they take on Wolves this Sunday in a fixture which featured over 3.5 goals both times last season. The Blues had previously been the only team in league to have kept a clean sheet in the league, but had only played teams who apparently only found out where the goal was on match day 3.

Still, Marco Silva will want to bounce back from this and use the likes of Moise Kean and Alex Iwobi, who looked bright when he came on against Villa last Friday to add a bit of attacking verve to their solid back line. Wolves left it late to salvage a point against Burnley on Sunday, a 97th minute penalty from Raul Jiménez sparing blushes for the home side.

Wolves are yet to win this season having drawn all 3 of their matches so far while the Blues have played 3, won one, lost one and drew one. I’m thinking Yes in the Win Galore for this one. It’s

Arsenal v Spurs-North London Derby 4.30pm Sunday

Before we’re condemned to 13 days without club football there’s the small matter of the North London Derby to settle. Arsenal come into the game having lost 3-1 to Liverpool, an improvement on recent trips to Anfield, while Spurs are fresh off a defeat at the hands of Newcastle.

The Gunners held their own during the last game but failure to put away a gilt edged chance after a poor clearance from Adrián turned the game in the Reds favor. Unai Emery could see some positives though and will be feeling confident heading into this one. Tottenham lacked creativity in their last outing and Mauricio Pochettino will probably be left feeling aggrieved over the penalty that was denied to his side by referee Mike Dean.

Don’t know if you’ve seen it, but it’s a pretty good example of a ref not giving something so as not to be seen to be favoring the home team. North London Derbies usually mean goals and both sides certainly have the firepower. Nicholas Pepe looked lively against Liverpool (he dribbled past Virgil Van Dijk you know) and I’m backing him to open his account for the Gunners at 2/1 in the anytime scorer market. I’m not even going to try and pick a winner here, it could go either way.

Four To Score:

Tammy Abraham vs Sheffield United – 19/20

Roberto Firmino vs Burnley – 13/10

Teemu Pukki vs West Ham – 7/5

Raheem Sterling vs Brighton – 4/6

3pm Saturday Acca:

Abraham/Chelsea wincast vs Sheffield United – 5/4

Pukki/Norwich wincast vs West Ham – 7/2

Aston Villa to beat Crystal Palace – 23/10

Newcastle to beat Watford – 6/4

Manchester City win both halves – 8/11

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