Our footy scribe previews round five of the 2016/17 English Premier League campaign.
You know it’s been a tough week when you need Everton to pull you out of a hole on Monday evening. Thanks to Romelu Lukaku, they did just that, and we can move on to greater things. It was a tough weekend all-in-all, with Pep outwitting Jose once again and Chelsea doing their best to scupper many a punters multiples.
There was a last minute reprieve for Arsenal, a glorious rabona from Dimitri Payet and plenty controversy in the refereeing department. City may have landed the biggest blow of the season, but it was Liverpool who were most impressive this weekend as they tore apart the defending champions with a display of heavy-metal, high-octane football.
Friday 16 September
Chelsea 12/10 | Draw 49/20 | Liverpool 43/20
Fitting then that we should start with Liverpool’s trip to Stamford Bridge on Friday evening. It will be something of a clash of styles, with the pragmatic Conte coming up against Klopp’s rampant Reds. No side has scored more goals in the Premier League than Liverpool in 2016.
With David Luiz likely to step in for the injured John Terry, I only see that record improving here. Of course, Chelsea are good for a couple goals of their own. Diego Costa is looking as sharp as ever and will relish the prospect of facing Klopp’s makeshift defence. Both Teams to Score at 6/10 looks a safe bet and one for the multiples.
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Saturday 17 September
Hull 47/10 | Draw 31/10 | Arsenal 11/20
Arsenal relied on an acrobatic goal from their centre-half and a soft penalty to overcome Southampton at home. It really shouldn’t have been that difficult. Lucas Perez was handed a home debut, but did little to ease fears that the Gunners look a bit goal-shy this season. This week they travel to the KCOM Stadium to face a Hull City side who have punched above their weight all season. They’re currently level on points with Arsenal after drawing with Burnley over the weekend.
Hull's sole defeat came against a very good Manchester United side, and even then they almost managed a draw. The Gunners have struggled to break teams down in the past and a draw could be on the cards here, at a well-priced 31/10.
Leicester 5/10 | Draw 31/10 | Burnley 52/10
Leicester’s underwhelming defence to their title continued over the weekend as they were soundly beaten by Liverpool. Without the protection afforded by N’Golo Kante, Robert Huth and Wes Morgan were left exposed against a high-quality attack and the Foxes paid the price. However, the concern for Claudio Ranieri will be their complete lack of threat up front. I’d expect him to change things this coming weekend with Islam Slimani and Ahmed Musa given their chance to impress against Burnley.
While the Clarets have been impressive at home, their away record has been far less inspiring. Defeats to Chelsea and Accrington Stanley mean I can look no further than a home win. Couple it with Both Teams To Score for a 23/10 match-bet.
Man City 3/10 | Draw 9/2 | Bournemouth 17/2
Pep Guardiola’s Man City taught Jose Mourinho’s Man Utd a footballing lesson on Saturday. The scoreline wasn’t a fair reflection on the domination enjoyed by the visitors, who treated the match as a training session – holding onto the ball for long periods before picking an incisive pass almost at will. At the centre of it all was Kevin de Bruyne. The Belgian was sublime, enjoying the time and space that seems exclusive to those at the very top of the game. There was industry as well, plenty of it. The only blot on an otherwise polished performance was Claudio Bravo’s unsteady first showing. He’ll get better, and so will City.
It doesn’t bode well for Bournemouth, who could be in for a bit of a hiding this weekend. City on the HT/FT double looks the way to go at 15/20, with a Kelechi Iheanacho anytime goal thrown in for good measure.
West Brom 33/20 | Draw 43/20 | West Ham 7/4
Well now, West Ham did me good and proper against Watford this weekend. After throwing away a two-goal lead to go down 4-2, I have very little time for Slaven Bilic’s side this week. Before their demise though, there was some good football.
Michael Antonio continues to provide an aerial threat, while Dimitri Payet remains a delight to watch. The rest of the side, not so much. As for their opponents this weekend, West Brom, there isn’t a single player I’d pay to watch. A 1-0 loss at Bournemouth says it all really. I’m steering clear of this one for obvious reasons. If you are to have a bet, the customary draw bet looks a good option.
Everton 7/10 | Draw 26/10 | Middlesbrough 4/1
Everton continue to get things right under Ronald Koeman, with Monday’s 3-0 win lifting them into second on the log. Koeman has enjoyed a fine start as manager and the return of Romelu Lukaku has only lifted them to a new level.
Looking at their teamsheet on Monday, it’s easy to see why they’re where they are. They’re a wonderfully balanced side. The addition of Ashley Williams has solidified their defence, while Idrissa Gueye provides great protection in front of them. Ross Barkley provides thrust from midfield, while Yannick Bolasie and Romelu Lukaku provide pace and power. They’ll come up against better this season, but at the moment, they’re looking pretty damn good. Another home win at 15/20 looks a solid bet and another for the multiples.
Sunday 18 September
Watford 52/10 | Draw 31/10 | Man United 11/20
After coming up short against Man City in the Manchester Derby, Jose Mourinho and Manchester United will look to set things right with an away day against Watford this weekend. Mourinho would do well to start Marcus Rashford – who was the sole bright spot of an otherwise miserable derby for the Red Devils.
As for Watford, after being shamed by Dimitri Payet in the first 30 minutes of their encounter with West Ham, Troy Deeney and his side responded in the perfect way to run out comfortable winners. You don’t want to showboat against this team. They’ll chop you down at the knees. If Mourinho’s men show the tiniest bit of overconfidence, I suggest you get on the home Double Chance. Otherwise, Zlatan to score looks a good bet. He’s got 4 in 4 and he ain’t about to stop now.
Crystal Palace 19/20 | Draw 23/10 | Stoke 3/1
Crystal Palace must be commended for their result at Middlesbrough last week, but it would be foolish to think Alan Pardew is out of the woods. Luckily for Pardew his £27 million gamble paid off, with Christian Benteke beating the normally sound Boro defence into submission. Wilfried Zaha was on-hand to wrap things up in a fairly solid 2-1 victory.
This week they’ll host a Stoke side who seem to be losing their identity with each passing week. Mark Hughes has been able to translate a solid, well-built Premier League club into a shaky European parody of itself. They’re short on goals and leaky at the back. Not a good recipe for success. But at least they pass the ball nicely. Palace may be average at best, but Stoke are worse. Back Palace to go back-to-back for the first time since God knows when.
Southampton 7/10 | Draw 26/10 | Swansea 4/1
Swansea have effectively spat in the face of my pre-season predictions, with some stellar showings so far this campaign. There may still be time left for them to fail, but their results have been far from catastrophic. They sit two point ahead of Saturday’s hosts, Southampton, who have yet to really click under Claude Puel. They can consider themselves unlucky to take nothing away from their trip to The Emirates, but even after the penalty they had a chance to claim a point.
Unfortunately that chance fell to Shane Long and was predictably squandered. Four of the last five meetings between these two have been decided by the odd goal. Under 2.5 goals comes in at 8/10 and looks the play here.
Tottenham 3/10 | Draw 17/4 | Sunderland 17/2
Sunderland were absolutely terrible on Monday evening, but that was to be expected. They now haven’t won any of their last 22 Premier League matches contested in either August or September. That is a quite staggering record. It will likely be extended this week as they head to White Hart Lane to face a side they haven’t beaten in six years.
Spurs looked much-improved on their trip to Stoke, where last season’s heroes – Harry Kane and Dele Alli – finally got on the scoresheet. Last season they took this match 4-1 courtesy of a brace from Christian Eriksen and I don’t seeing them having any problems against Moyes’ men. Spurs on the HT/FT double looks good value, especially since Sunderland have failed to attempt a shot on target in the first half in each of their last three Premier League games.
TREBLE @ 44/10
Chelsea v Liverpool BTTS 6/10
Everton Win 7/10
Crystal Palace Win 19/20
Written by Commodore Vegas @Hollywoodbets