With the exception of Manchester United, the likely title contenders all made winning starts last week including away wins for Chelsea and Manchester City. With the pre-season cobwebs having been blown away, let’s go through this week’s coupon in running order.
Saturday 23rd August 13:45: Aston Villa v Newcastle
The first action of the weekend comes from Villa Park where the hosts bid to make it two wins from two games after they came away from Stoke with a 1-0 victory last weekend. Standing in their way, a Newcastle side who have beaten Villa on this ground in each of the last two seasons. Newcastle opened their season with a 2-0 home defeat to current title holders Manchester City but they put in a decent shift and this looks as wide open as the match result betting suggests. This could be tight and amongst the many alternatives to predicting the match result, the total goals market takes our eye. Preference is for under 2.5 goals which basically means that as long as no more than three goals are scored, the bet will be settled as a winner regardless of who wins the game.
The chances of Chelsea winning the title have been well hyped in pre-season and although they conceded first at Burnley last Monday night, they quickly replied with three first half goals of their own to put the match to bed early. Chelsea now face another of the newly promoted sides in the shape of Leicester who picked up a useful point with a 2-2 draw at home to Everton last week. Having scored three away from home first time out, Chelsea could at least repeat that feat here in their first home game of the season. For our selection to win, we need Chelsea to score at least three times.
Saturday 23rd August 16:00: Southampton v West Brom
Southampton were beaten 2-1 at Liverpool last week whilst West Brom drew at home to Sunderland 2-2. Both of last season’s head to heads finished 1-0 in Southampton’s favour but it could be a higher scoring game this time around. Backing both teams to score? (yes) in Southampton’s trip to Liverpool and West Brom’s meeting with Sunderland last week was the way to go and that trend could continue here.
Saturday 23rd August 16:00: Crystal Palace v West Ham
Palace face a second London derby of the season having started their campaign away at Arsenal last week. They almost took a surprise point off the Gunners but a late goal saw them beaten 2-1. Considering Tony Pulis resigned as manager of Palace on the eve of their first match, they put in a spirited display and they generally had a good record at home to mid to lower table teams last season. West Ham also faced late heartbreak in a local derby last weekend when they were beaten 1-0 at home by Spurs and the Hammers also missed a penalty. London derby matches can sometimes develop into an arm wrestle and we like the chances of a draw at half time.
Saturday 23rd August 18:30: Everton v Arsenal
Last season these teams had quite a battle for a fourth placed finish and qualification for the Champions League play offs and it was Arsenal who won that particular race. The Gunners also knocked Everton out of the FA Cup last season, a trophy they went on to win, but they were soundly beaten 3-0 on their most recent visit to Goodison Park. Arsenal were made to sweat before getting the better of Crystal Palace last week and they subsequently played out a 0-0 draw at Besiktas in the Champions League play off first leg on Tuesday night. Everton started their season with a 2-2 draw at Leicester and they are often a real handful for top clubs on Merseyside. For a pick, we are looking to the correct score market where a 1-1 draw gets the vote.
Sunday 24th August 14:30: Hull City v Stoke
Hull made a winning start to the season, getting the better of Queens Park Rangers with a 1-0 win away from home. Meanwhile Stoke were quietly fancied to win their opening home game against Aston Villa but they went down 1-0. The early momentum is with Hull but both these clubs bought well in pre-season and this looks like it could be tight. We are happy sit on the fence and call a draw.
Spurs left it late to see off West Ham with a 1-0 away win last week and given they had a man sent off in the first half, they will be delighted to have bagged maximum points. QPR boss Harry Redknapp returns to his old club and his team are looking for a first point and first goal of the season after opening up with a 1-0 home defeat to Hull. Spurs made a habit of winning by the minimum margin in the early stages of last season and the price for the same outcome here makes plenty of appeal. Backing the home team to win by exactly one goal (HT 1) in the winning margin market is our pick so any result such as 1-0, 2-1, 3-2 etc. in Spurs favour would see the bet land.
Sunday 24th August 17:00: Sunderland v Manchester United
We finish with a look at Manchester United who were on the wrong end of the shock result of last weekend, a 2-1 home defeat to Swansea. Louis van Gaal will have learned plenty from that performance and he will hope that Robin van Persie is passed fit to play here. United have a good record against Sunderland on this ground in Premier League meetings but they did lose a Capital One Cup semi final over two legs to this opposition last season. Sunderland still look in need of a quality signing or two but they are capable of giving United a contest and we think both these teams will find the net.
Monday night’s televised match between Manchester City and Liverpool will be covered in a separate preview.
The odds quoted above are correct at the time of writing but are subject to change. In addition to the match result, Bet.co.za also offers a comprehensive range of betting markets for individual games and you can also bet live, “in play”, where the odds change as the action unfolds before your eyes.