English Premier League: Week 4 Preview

EPL-Week-4-Preview

Our footy writer previews round four of the 2016/16 EPL season, which includes the highly anticipated Manchester derby. 

Thank god that’s over. As if International breaks aren’t irritating enough, they decided to place one just two weeks into the season and just days after the end of the transfer window. Well played FIFA. However, we can put all that behind us now and focus on the stuff that really matters. And what better way to do that by kicking things off with Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola going toe-to-toe in their first Manchester Derby.

Saturday 10 September

Manchester United 5/4 | Draw 9/4 | Manchester City 22/10 
United have been imperious in their first three matches. They’ve exhibited the hallmarks of the great United sides of old – arrogance, intent and even the ability to win it at the death. And yet, they still find themselves behind their neighbours on the table. There has been far less fanfare about City’s work, but they’ve done enough in each match.

Raheem Sterling has rediscovered his confidence and looks a threat every time he touches the ball. However, the loss of Sergio Aguero to an uncharacteristic elbow has left City scrambling ahead of their biggest game of the season so far. Nolito is a capable deputy, but they will doubtless miss a player of Aguero’s quality. There was only one goal between these two over the course of 180 minutes last season. There may be new faces across the park and on the touchline, but I expect a similar outcome. I’ll give this one to United on points, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic tipped to have too much for John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi.
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Arsenal 6/10 | Draw 3/1 | Southampton 9/2
After spending much of the transfer window defending his policies, Arsene Wenger finally splashed the cash in a double move to allay fans’ fears. While I can’t say I know too much about Lucas Perez, Shkrodan Mustafi looks a great signing. They’ve needed a quality centre-back for some time now and in Mustafi they finally have one. This lad is no Mangala. His first test in English football will be a goal-shy Southampton side.

I’m not convinced Claude Puel has done enough to replace Graziano Pelle and Sadio Mane, even with a new club-record signing. Shane Long won’t get you goals on a consistent basis even if he is a great player on his day. Arsenal were much better against Watford before the break and should pick up another three points here.
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Bournemouth 21/20 | Draw 22/10 | West Brom 29/10

Another window has passed with Saido Berahino remaining at West Brom. Poor lad. Perhaps he’s not as good as he thinks he is. Joining him at the Hawthorns are Hal Robson-Kanu and Nacer Chadli. Their opponents this week, Bournemouth, stole headlines with their loan signing of Abou Diaby-like Jack Wilshere, which could be a great signing or a potentially terrible one.

Wilshere is a classy player, no doubt, but his injury record is a major concern. If he can capture the form he showed on loan at Bolton a couple year’s back, then they’ve made a real coup. Neither side has really excited much this season and I can’t look further than another draw. It’s always a solid bet when West Brom are involved.

Burnley 21/20 | Draw 22/10 | West Brom 29/10 

I’m still not quite sure what to make of Hull City. Having doomed them prior to the season, they’ve surprised me  in every match they played. Their narrow defeat to Man United showed a defensive resolve that gives them a great platform to build on. I still feel they may be caught short over the course of the season, but Mike Phelan has done a great job thus far.

They’ll have a chance at another three points when to Turf Moor this weekend to face a Burnley side who went down at home to Swansea last time out. Both sides are better when sitting deep and looking to counter, but it will be Burnley who will be expected to come out and play at home. It could well work against them, with Abel Hernandez and co tipped to pick them off. Hull have shown an ability to get the job done and 47/20 for the away win certainly has some value about it.

Middlesbrough 5/4 | Draw 21/10 | Crystal Palace 5/2
Following their draw home draw with Bournemouth, Crystal Palace have now failed to win 20 of their 22 games in 2016.  Not even an injury time equaliser from Scott Dann can paper over those cracks. Alan Pardew needs a win and he needs it soon. This weekend he makes the trip north to face Middlesbrough at The Riverside Stadium. There will be easier trips this season, especially given Boro’s solid home record.

Aitor Karanka’s side have taken five points from their first three games and look the best bet of the promoted sides to stay up. Defensively, they won’t give up much, especially at home. It will be up to Palace to break them down, but without the pace and power of Yannick Bolasie, this Palace side just doesn’t carry the same counter-attacking threat. This is a home win for me and one of the best bets of the weekend at 5/4.



Stoke City 34/10 | Draw 5/2 | Tottenham 8/10 
Stoke rounded out their summer with two pretty decent loan signings. Wilfried Bony and Bruno Martins Indi will strengthen the spine of their side, which has looked a bit soft in their first couple matches.

 On Saturday they host a Spurs side, who have yet to catch fire this season. Their sole victory came over Crystal Palace, while they were lucky to escape with a draw from the visit of Liverpool. Harry Kane has yet to find the net, while their new signings have an underwhelming look about them. Fixtures between these two have been notoriously tough to call in recent season’s, with two wins apiece and a draw from their last five meetings. If you must have a punt, I’d go with Under 2.5 Goals at 15/20.
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West Ham 17/20 | Draw 5/2 | Watford 33/10
It’s been a shaky start to West Ham’s life at the Olympic Stadium, where their victory over Bournemouth was somewhat overshadowed by their Europa League exit to Astra. Injuries have certainly played their part, but with the money they’ve outlaid, that is no excuse. There’s a lot to like about their new signings and I’m excited to see what the likes of Sofiane Feghouli and Simone Zaza can do in the Premier League.

 This weekend they host Watford, who picked up their first point of the season against Southampton last time out. Each of their last five matches have seen both teams scoring and it looks the way to go at 9/10, especially given the home team’s odds are even shorter.

Liverpool 6/10 | Draw 3/1 | Leicester City 17/4
Another candidate for Both Teams To Score – I’m expecting goals at Anfield this weekend when Liverpool host the champions. Leicester finally picked up their first win of the new season with a 2-1 victory over Swansea courtesy of goals from Jamie Vardy and Wes Morgan.

Meanwhile, Liverpool looked the better side at White Hart Lane without really driving home their advantage. They may have won this fixture last season, but 6/10 is a ludicrously short price on Jurgen Klopp’s side. Their defensive frailties mean they’ll need to score two or more goals in order to win and I struggle to see where those are gong to come from. Leicester on the Double Chance at 12/10 looks a far better bet for me.
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Sunday 11 September

Swansea 9/2 | Draw 3/1 | Chelsea 6/10 
Perhaps the biggest story of deadline day was David Luiz’s return to Chelsea. However, it is the signing of Marcos Alonso that could do more for the transformation of Antonio Conte’s side. Chelsea have lacked a left back since the departure of Ashley Cole and the capture of Alonso will allow Cesar Azpilicueta to move to his preferred right-back slot. This new-look side will likely get it’s first run out at the Liberty on Sunday, when they come up against a struggling Swans side.

With both Manchester sides meeting on Saturday, Chelsea will see this as an opportunity to cement their place at the top of the table. I expect them to do just that and will throw them into my multiples at 6/10.

Monday 12 September

Sunderland 26/10  | Draw 47/20 | Everton 21/20 
Monday Night Football makes a not-so-triumphant return with Everton’s trip to the Stadium of Light. David Moyes has endured a tough start to his reign up north, with just one point to show from his first three competitive matches in charge. The only positive has been the signing of Didier Ndong. I have no clue whether he’s a decent player, but he certainly has a glorious name.

As for Everton, they have made a promising start under Ronald Koeman and currently find themselves in fourth position. The return of Romelu Lukaku from injury will certainly give them a lift and happy to get them over the victory line at odds of just over even money.

BEST BET: Middlesbrough to beat Crystal Palace (5/4).

Written by Commodore Vegas 
@Hollywoodbets

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