October 4th, 2019

Premier League Gameweek 8 Preview

By Jonny Houghton

As Premier League Gameweek 8 rolls around, reflection is key. When Mike Ashley took over Newcastle United in 2007, their opponents last weekend, Leicester were in League One. In that time, Leicester have been promoted twice, had a miraculous escape from relegation, won the Premier League, reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League, built a brand new training complex and spent £30m on Newcastle’s best player of recent seasons in Ayoze Perez.

Sunday’s match showed just how bad things have got for Newcastle where only the most die-hard Geordies stayed to the end and fair play to them. They deserve so much more than what they currently have.

On a more positive note, the usual thrills and spills of the Premier League continued, though there were very few surprises, except maybe the fact that Everton managed to score against City.

We have another international break after this round of fixtures, which I don’t think anybody is looking forward to, but thankfully it’s the last one for this calendar year. I’ll take a well earned break I think. Let’s have a look at this week’s fixtures and see where the value lies. 

Brighton v Tottenham

To be honest, I’d forgotten this Brighton team even existed, they’ve been that unremarkable this season. Just one win since the opening day of the season yet find themselves out of the relegation zone by virtue of there being 4 worse teams that them in the league this season, more on them later though.

They face a Spurs side who have been about as inconsistent as you can. Brighton’s biggest problem has been scoring goals, usually an integral part of winning football matches while Spurs have had the opposite problem, just one clean sheet in their last five games has meant Harry Kane and Heung Min-Son have had to do the leg work for their team. Despite their recent bad form, you’d have to fancy Spurs for this one.

Tottenham to win to nil sounds like a good option here, as mentioned they haven’t kept a clean sheet in a while but against this Brighton team, that shouldn’t matter much.

Burnley v Everton

Burnley had to equalise twice last time out against Aston Villa to rescue a point and have quietly put together a 3 match unbeaten run, granted they’ve only won once in that time. Ashley Barnes has 4 goals so far this season and will relish the opportunity against this Everton defence who have conceded 12 goals in the league at this point. Marco Silva is favourite to be the next manager to lose his job and anything less than a win here might just be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Like Brighton, mentioned above.

Everton’s biggest problem is a lack of goals and there’s no sign of this improving. Alex Iwobi, Moise Kean and Gylfi Sigurðsson have underperformed and it’s been quite some time since The Blues managed to keep a clean sheet so I expect Burnley to take all 3 points here and pile more pressure on Marco Silva, who’s looking more and more like Colin Farrell’s sad, emotionally tortured character from the movie In Bruges every day.

Burnley to win at 19/10 seems like an absolute gift, even better if you can find something to go along with it.

Chris Wood to score anytime 15/8 at adds a bit of value if you’re looking to do a single bet.

Liverpool v Leicester

Liverpool needed a bit of luck to maintain their 100% record against Sheffield United last time out, a spill from on loan keeper Dean Henderson led to the only goal of the game from Gini Wijnaldum’s tame shot. The Reds won’t care though, they’re 5 points clear of their nearest rival and have managed to find a way to win even when they don’t play particularly well.

Leicester will provide a tough test of their title credentials though, The Foxes come to Anfield after a 5-0 drubbing of a poor Newcastle side and Jamie Vardy has a brilliant record of scoring against Top 6 teams, he’s got 7 against Liverpool. Never a dull moment between these two clubs, both teams have scored in their last 4 Premier League meetings, three of which producing over 2.5 goals.

This is the first big test for Leicester this season, a result here shows that they’re serious about breaking into the promised land of the Top 4 and back in to European competition. It’s also a bit of a win-win situation for Brendan Rogers’ side as a loss to Liverpool is no great shame and doesn’t hurt them too much in terms of league standing and obviously a win is huge for them.

Hard not to let my supporter loyalties cloud any predictions but just so I can’t be accused of any bias, I’m going to sit firmly on the fence with the result of this one.

Stick Yes on the Win Galore coupon in your acca this weekend at 5/4.

Norwich v Aston Villa

The first clash between two promoted sides this season takes place at the very edge of the relegation zone. Norwich find themselves just a point above the relegation zone, largely thanks to Teemu Pukki’s 6 goals this season, but having failed to record a clean sheet so far this season, they might be the first team to concede a billion goals in a league campaign.

Neither Villa or Norwich have been disgraced so far this season and both sides have picked up points against top sides (and Everton). Meetings between these two in the Championship last year guaranteed over 2.5 goals and this season there’s only been one goalless draw involving either team, so a dull 0-0 seems unlikely.

Teemu Pukki has been off the boil recently, having not scored since match day 5, but he’s in my fantasy team and I’d hate to have to transfer him out, so I’ll be backing him to score anytime this weekend at 21/20.

Watford v Sheffield United

Sheffield United have to be the banker of the weekend. Watford have been awful this season and 12/5 for United to win seems too good to be true. They are still the highest placed promoted team this season and gave Liverpool a bit of trouble last time out and manager Chris Wilder should be very proud of his players so far.

Ollie McBurnie had a couple of chances to force saves out of Adrian in the last game and with Watford being down in the dumps as they currently are, he’ll be wanting to go one better and find the back of the net for only the second time this season.

Like I said, a Sheffield United win at 12/5 looks to be the bet of the day and you can’t really look past that. Those who play Fantasy Football will be interested to know that Watford left back José Holebas has managed a whopping ZERO points in 527 minutes over 6 starts this season, he’s maybe one to leave out of your team for a while.

West Ham v Crystal Palace

After an entertaining 2-2 draw against Bournemouth in their last fixture, West Ham line up against Punters Enemy number 1 Crystal Palace *angry face*. Just a point and 4 league places separate these two teams making this an entertaining prospect.

Both teams are high up in the scoring charts this season so I’m expecting goals, though given Palace’s habit of making an absolute mockery of my predictions, this’ll probably end up 0-0. Saturday 5.30pm is the best time to watch football in my opinion, the whole day leads up to it and it can make or break your weekend depending on the result.

For an interest, I’d be backing Yes on the Win Galore coupon at 6/4. Andriy Yarmolenko has been in fine goal scoring form with 3 in his last 5 and for him to get the first goal in this game is 7/1.

Super Sunday

Sky Sports are really playing fast and loose with the term Super Sunday the last few years, I’d be surprised if Trading Standards aren’t investigating it anytime soon. This Sunday though treats us to 4 matches and it looks as if goals will be the order of the day. Just one of the 8 teams out this Sunday managed a clean sheet in their last outing, in fairness that was Wolves against Watford, and they’re rubbish, so that doesn’t count.

All 8 teams to score on Sunday pays around 17/2.

Arsenal v Bournemouth

The Gunners played out a dull 1-1 against Manchester United last time out, the game was a far cry from previous iterations of this fixture and show just how far both teams have fallen over the past few years. Having said that, Arsenal are 4th and have only lost one game so far this season.

They face a Bournemouth side that are unbeaten in 3 matches coming into this one and have scored 13 goals so far this season. Both Josh King and Calum Wilson can give this Arsenal defence trouble. Neither team have kept a clean sheet in their last 5 games and I don’t expect that run to end anytime soon.

Arsenal just have the greater strength in depth and can see them winning this, albeit with both teams scoring. Arsenal Goals Galore Plus is 13/10.

Man City v Wolves

The reigning champions had a bit of nervy spell at Goodison Park in last Saturday’s game before eventually finishing 3-1 winners and after cruising to victory in the Champions League will be relishing the chance to rack up the goals against a Wolves side who just managed their first league win of the season last week against Watford.

Since losing to Norwich, City have scored 11 goals goals and conceded just once, the loss of Aymeric Laporte not being felt as much as first thought, but then they’ve played largely inferior sides since then. The real test will come when they play teams who know where the goals are. Wolves has scored in every game since their 0-0 opener against Leicester and with 7 different goal scorers so far, they’re not simply relying on Raul Jiminez as much as they might have.

As always, it’s hard to look past City, Raheem Sterling bagged a goal against Everton last time out and he’ll be one to watch as usual. City are long odds on for this as you would expect, so have a look at the handicap market if you want any sort of value. I still fancy Wolves to get a goal and City to win and both to score is 8/5.

Southampton v Chelsea

Having not found the scoresheet in his last two games Tammy Abraham will be looking to add to his 7 league goals this season when Chelsea visit Southampton on Sunday. Frank Lampard’s men have won 3 out of their last 5 league games but come off back to back wins in all competitions including a 7-1 EFL cup win over Grimsby.

Chelsea have won 2  of their 3 away games so far this season while Southampton have struggled in front of their own fans. A win over Lille on Wednesday might give this squad some tired legs, but I fancy them to get through the short trip to Southampton fairly unscathed.

The Saints have scored in all but one of their games this season but haven’t beat anyone that finished above them last season, Chelsea Goals Galore Plus looks a good option here at 23/10. Abraham is 5/6 to add to his goal tally this season at anytime in the 90 minutes.

Newcastle v Man United

I feel like I’ve said all I can say about Newcastle without sticking the boots in too hard. The promising attacking partnership of Joelinton and Miguel Almiron hasn’t translated into goals, just one between them in 7 games doesn’t make for good reading for fans.

Despite their own troubles on the pitch, this should be an easy 3 points for Man Utd, there’s a clear gulf in talent and even with United’s worst start to a league campaign in 30 odd years, there’s definitely something wrong if they don’t come away with 3 points this weekend.

United top scorers Daniel James and Marcus Rashford should have a field day here and I’d be surprised if one or both of them doesn’t find themselves on the score-sheet at the end of this.

United Goals Galore Plus at 16/5 seems a sensible choice, but you can get Newcastle at 7/2 just to win the match if you’re in the business of miracles. The stats are firmly on United’s side though, with the Magpies winning just 3 times in the last 9 years. 

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