October 16th, 2019

Premier League Gameweek 9

By Jonny Houghton

We’re just about a quarter of the way through the season, how’s that happened? I mean we’ve had an international break every other week. Time flies when you’re having fun, I guess. Some cracking fixtures on offer this weekend and nothing short of 4 games on your TV screens between Saturday and Monday.

Usually when I check on the Man City score, they’re 3-0 up after 10 minutes and I go about my day cursing just how good they are and the pace they’re setting for the rest of the league. So imagine my surprise when I checked the score against Wolves. All of a sudden my Whatsapp group lights up with eye emojis as Man City and Man United both lost. What a wonderful weekend eh?

Everton v West Ham

Everton fans will have spent the international break staring at the league table and wondering just what’s happened? The Toffees were cast into the relegation mire courtesy of Newcastle’s victory of Manchester United a few weeks ago, Marco Silva will be under immense pressure to get a result here to take them out of the bottom three.

West Ham on the other hand have had a great start to the season, finding themselves in 8th place and playing some attractive football under Manuel Pellegrini. Sebastien Haller and Andriy Yarmolenko are racking up the goals between them and will be rubbing their hands at the opportunity to run at this Everton defence that has conceded 13 goals and lost their last two home games.

The Goodison faithful will be up for this, but the players will need to be at their best to get any sort of result here to lift the fog of depression. West Ham have won just once on their travels this season but at 14/5 just to win seems like a good way to start your weekend off right. Incidentally, for those that are into that sort of thing, Everton have failed to win any of their previous eight Saturday 12:30 kick-offs (D3, L5). West Ham all day!

Aston Villa v Brighton

Villa will be coming into this match on a high after dismantling Norwich 5-1 last time out. They now find themselves out of the bottom three and can use this to get some points on the board before a difficult run of fixtures which includes Wolves twice, Manchester City and Liverpool.

Brighton got just their second win of the season last time out after beating an abysmal Tottenham side 3-0. Republic of Ireland teenager Aaron Connolly bagged himself a brace in that game, earning a first international call up in the process. Manager Graham Potter might be inclined to give him more of a run out in this match too while the player is in form, if he does he’s 12/1 to repeat his brace.

Both teams are averaging around a goal a game so both teams to score seems like a sensible option here and at 8/13, it’s definitely one for your accumulator rather than a single bet. John McGinn scored a hat trick for Scotland during the international break, albeit against San Marino and he’s 3/1 to score anytime for Villa.

Bournemouth v Norwich

Well on their way to conceding more goals than anyone in Premier League history, Norwich make the long trip to the south coast to face Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth. Since beating Manchester City, The Canaries have lost the 3 following games, scoring just once.

The Pukki party has fizzled out since then too, yet the forward still finds himself 4th in the top scorer list highlighting just how important he is to his side. Bournemouth are coming off an away defeat to Arsenal continuing their trend of only losing to teams above them in the table.

By that logic, they should batter Norwich, shouldn’t they? At 8/11, the betting seems to agree with me, but for a bit of value back Bournemouth to keep a clean sheet at 12/5. Norwich’s unfortunate injury list sees them on their third choice goalkeeper and now midfielder Tod Cantwell too. Bournemouth have lost only one of 16 PL home games in which Callum Wilson has scored, this makes the wincast a tempting option as well at 5/2.

Chelsea v Newcastle

Three wins in their last 5 league games for Chelsea shows that Frank Lampard’s faith in youth is starting to pay dividends. Tammy Abraham sits top of the top scorer charts with 8 goals and he will no doubt be looking to add to this tally when they face Newcastle this weekend, he’s 12/5 to bag a brace.

The Magpies beat Manchester United last time out but that’s no longer the achievement that it used to be, let’s not kid ourselves here!

Even with that there’s very obvious flaws in this Newcastle side and only Watford have scored less goals than them. I expect Lampard’s men to run out comfortable winners in front of their own fans and if results go against them.

Leicester v Burnley

Conceding a 95th minute penalty to lose their previous fixture will leave a sour taste in the Leicester players mouths. The Foxes posed a credible threat to Liverpool’s unbeaten record so far this season, though the final score flattered them somewhat as they give up far too many chances to the league leaders.

That said, they should be able to bounce back this weekend. Just two points separates them and this weekend’s opponents and without the European commitments that hampered them last season, Burnley are quietly having a great season so far unbeaten in four and are 11/2 to beat Leicester.

James Maddison should be returning to the Leicester side after withdrawing from the England squad over the break, his goal against Liverpool will be keen to get back onto the pitch. It’s 7/4 for either team to win and both teams to score and that’s what I’ll be looking at this weekend.

Burnley players weren’t nearly as active as Leicester’s were during the international break and I expect them to be the fresher, though I am slightly hesitant to suggest that that means they’ll win the game. Leicester just have that extra quality and Jamie Vardy is never far off the scoresheet.

Tottenham v Watford

Watford finally managed to keep a clean sheet, it’s an early Christmas miracle! The Hornets have been at the foot of the table more or less from the word go, winless all season and on their second manager, there doesn’t really seem to be much chance of improvement.

I feel like I’ve typed that last sentence every week for ages now, feel free to check. Despite all the questions around the Tottenham players and managers, there would be something seriously wrong if they don’t manage to come away with all the points this weekend.

Harry Kane played 90 minutes and scored twice in both Euro 2020 qualifiers for England, so the international break was anything but that for the striker. I’d suggest getting him in to your fantasy team and backing him to score two or more at 5/2.

Wolves v Southampton

Unbeaten in three matches, including a 2-0 win over Manchester City last time out, Wolves will likely bounce into this game. They’ll face a Southampton side that are winless in their last three and have found the net just three times and are a massive 7/2 just to keep a clean sheet.

For the record, I wouldn’t if I were you, they’ve got more holes in their defense than a broken colander. They’ve conceded 9 goals in their last 3 games, the majority of which coming in the first half so Wolves to win in the half time result market at 6/4 seems like a reasonable choice.

Crystal Palace v Manchester City

A second shock defeat for City this season means they’ve dropped 8 points after the same amount of games this season. In normal circumstances, this wouldn’t be that surprising, it is the Premier League after all, anyone can beat anyone. At least that’s the theory, but this City team are not really normal though are they? I mean, two titles in a row and 198 points over those two seasons is ridiculous.

This is a strange one for me, as anyone who reads this regularly will know that Crystal Palace routinely make a mockery of my predictions. I won’t bet on any game that involves Roy Hodgson’s men while at the same time, I’m borderline obsessed with City’s results, perhaps even more so than Liverpool’s.

Traditionally Palace don’t do well in this fixture save for last years 3-2 win, though that was away from home. City do however average over 2.5 goals per game and when up against Palace’s unbeaten home record, conceding only once in that time you’d think something’s going to give.

The last time City lost in the Premier League, they ran out 8-0 winners in the very next game so Palace should be a bit worried. City have a point to prove.

Not a lot of value about in terms of City to win this match, as they’re expected to but 6/4 for them to win both halves could prove a wise investment. Crystal Palace are 10/1 to cause an upset, but they’re that price for a reason. Stranger things have happened though.

Manchester United v Liverpool-Huge Preview

No matter the fortunes of either team involved, this is almost certainly the biggest game on the English calendar. Liverpool are top of the league and unbeaten, I may have mentioned that once or twice, but this is still a game that fills me with dread right up to kick off.

The head to heads don’t make for good reading, especially when it comes to visiting Old Trafford. It’s been almost 5 years since the Reds won there thanks to two Steven Gerrard penalties and a Luis Suarez strike in 2014.

Thankfully fortunes have changed since that day and a 3-1 victory at Anfield last season dispatched then manager Jose Mourinho and ushered in the Ole Era, whether that’s a good thing or not remains to be seen.

As it is United come into this game under massive pressure. The fans clearly aren’t happy with things and a loss to arguably their greatest rivals might just be enough to send yet another manager to the dole queue. I don’t think that will happen, but I do expect Liverpool to finally overcome their Old Trafford hoodoo and get the three points here.

Goalkeeper Alisson should return to the starting lineup on Sunday after a few months on the sidelines and Mo Salah, who went off injured during their last game has had the international break to recover and will want to get back on the scoresheet after being rather quiet, by his own high standards, in the last few weeks.

United’s lost to Newcastle and injury to David De Gea will have the United faithful in low mood, but despite their worst start to a league season in 30 years. Old Trafford will be rocking when the old enemy comes to town.

Goals have been at a bit of a premium for United in recent games, but with Marcus Rashford finding the net for England during the break and the return of Anthony Martial to training gives Ole Gunnar Solskjær another option up front.

My first instinct would be to go with Liverpool to win and both teams scoring, given the lack of clean sheets for The Reds this season, but the likely return of Alisson Becker to the starting lineup could bring back the stability shown last season, it’s 12/5 in any case.

Marcus Rashford is 5/2 to score anytime for United and given their lack of attacking options, this could present the best bet for any United fans watching. Liverpool beat United 3-1, thanks for a Xherdan Shaqiri brace, last season and a repeat of that in the anytime wincast market is around 33/1.

Sheffield United v Arsenal

After what seems like an eternity, Monday Night Football is back on our screens. Arsenal make the 160 mile trip up north to take on Sheffield United who still find themselves the highest place promoted team in the league so far this year.

Arsenal meanwhile are enjoying a bit of a purple patch and are unbeaten in their last 8 games winning 5. Unai Emery’s men are averaging over 1.5 goals per game with Pierre Emerick Aubameyang their top scorer with 7 of their 13 league goals so far.

But fitting him in the team alongside Nicholas Pepe and Bukayo Saka, who have functioned in a front three while Lacazette has been out, will prove a challenge for Emery.

It’s difficult to see Sheffield United getting anything out of this one, it’s been a while since they found the back of the net, by the time this match kicks off, it’ll be a calendar month. The Gunners are 9/2 to win both halves, that should add a bit of spice to a Monday night fixture.

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