Our Thomas Henry previews Saturday’s action in the Premier League where he expects wins for both Newcastle and West Ham.
Burnley v Manchester United
Burnley are yet to pick up a point but there has been encouraging signs for Sean Dyche’s side from their opening two games. There is energy in their performances and chances have been created in both games. The difficulty for Burnley is that don’t have enough quality in their side to compete with the bigger sides in the league.
Manchester United have started poorly under Louis Van Gaal with them failing to win any of their opening two leagues and then suffering the humiliation of a 4-0 loss to the MK Dons in the Capital One Cup. It was largely a second string team that United played in midweek but it won’t have helped confidence and just serves to heap more pressure on them. The issue for United is largely around the 3-5-2 system which Van Gaal seems intent on playing and the players’ unfamiliarity with that system. The United boss has said it will take 3-4 months for his players to become familiar with it and that could see some surprising results in that period. I don’t think United have the defenders who are comfortable playing in a three at the back and those who do play there on Saturday are sure to be a bit nervous.
This is a game that United should have no problem winning as they have much the better quality. However they are a team in transition and make no great appeal at odds of 4/7. There is however likely to be plenty of chances at both ends and the best bet lies in backing Over 2.5 goals.
Recommended Bet: Back Over 2.5 goals at 19/20 (BetVictor)
Manchester City v Stoke
Manchester City will be on a high following their 3-1 win over Liverpool on Monday night and have the opportunity to make it another impressive home win just six days later. Stevan Jovetic was the star of the show on Monday and is likely to be the key man again for City who have an impressive home record against Stoke – six straight Premier League home wins by an aggregate score of 15-0. Mark Hughes’s side have disappointed in their opening two games, losing at home to Aston Villa and drawing away against ten-man Hull.
Recommended Bet: Manchester City -2 goals at 7/5 (bet365)
Newcastle v Crystal Palace
Despite being winless, Newcastle have impressed me in their opening two games and I make them a good bet to beat Crystal Palace. There is a goal threat in French duo Emmanuel Riviere and Moussa Sissoko while Jack Colback has added quality in midfield. Alan Pardew’s side have a good record against Palace winning their last four meetings and without conceding a goal. Neil Warnock was appointed the new Palace manager during the week but it’s difficult to see him making an immediate impact. They conceded three goals at home to West Ham last weekend and Brede Hangeland looks a weak link in their defence.
Recommended Bet: Back Newcastle to win at 3/4 (BetVictor)
QPR v Sunderland
QPR have lost their opening two games of the season and already look to be struggling under Harry Redknapp who has decided to adapt a questionable 3-5-2 formation. They have conceded five goals in their opening two league games and were knocked out of the Capital One Cup in midweek by League 2 side Burton. They have also failed to score a goal and it’s understandable that the pressure is already starting to build at Loftus Road. Sunderland have drawn both games so far and put in decent performances against both West Brom and Man United. It’s surprising to see Gus Poyet’s side at odds of 23/10 and, given the current difference in form, are worth backing to win in London.
Recommended Bet: Back Sunderland to win at 23/10 (bet365)
Swansea v West Brom
Garry Monk’s Swansea have won both games of the new season, including a victory at Old Trafford, and they have a good record against West Brom, winning four of the last six league meetings between the teams. West Brom have drawn both of their opening two games and look a team who are vulnerable at the back. They conceded two on the opening day at home to Sunderland and would have done so again last weekend only for a toothless Southampton.
Recommended Bet: Back Swansea to win at 20/23 (Boylesports)
West Ham v Southampton
West Ham impressed in their 3-1 away win to Crystal Palace last weekend and some of the football played was in stark contrast to last season. The Hammers have been more positive in their opening two games and there seems to have been a change in philosophy at the club. New signing Mauro Zarate has made a difference playing behind the striker.
Southampton played well in their opening day loss to Liverpool but were ineffective in a goalless draw at home last weekend. Ronald Koeman’s side failed to create any real chances against West Brom and that could be a worrying sign given that they were the home side. It may have been a case that the Liverpool game was one where the players were motivated to do well against some former teammates and the truer form lies in last weekend’s performance. It’s difficult to see them getting anything away to West Ham.
Recommended Bet: Back West Ham to win at 15/8 (BetVictor)
Everton v Chelsea
Everton have drawn their opening two matches of the season but will feel disappointed at not having beaten Arsenal last weekend where they let a 2-0 lead slip in the last seven minutes. They will be keen to make amends against another top-4 side when they welcome Chelsea to Goodison Park on Saturday evening.
The recent head-to-head record at Goodison Park certainly favours Roberto Martinez’s men who have dominated this fixture in recent seasons with 4 wins, 0 draws and just the one loss.
Chelsea have started the season in very positive fashion recording 6 points from their opening 2 matches and even at this early stage of the season Jose Mourinho’s side look formidable with new signings Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa. However, it should be remembered that these opening 2 matches have been against promoted sides Burnley & Leicester. There is also a major injury doubt about Costa which will rob them of a major attacking threat.
I was really impressed with Everton in that first half against Arsenal and feel that if they reproduce that then they will go close to beating Chelsea.
Recommended Bet: Back Everton – Draw No Bet at 13/8 (BetVictor, Skybet)
Best Bet for Saturday: West Ham to win at 15/8 (BetVictor)
Saturday Treble: Over 2.5 goals (Burnley v Man United), Man City -2 & Newcastle at 7/1 (BetVictor, bet365)
Anytime goalscorers: Jovetic (Man City), Juan Mata (Man United), Zarate (West Ham) at 20/1 (bet365)