Our footy scribe previews round nine of the 2016/17 English Premier League season.
Gameweek 9 of the Premier League sees Manchester City and Arsenal level on 19 points at the top of the table with Pep Guardiola's men leading the way on goal difference. Tottenham are a point behind them in third with Liverpool fourth on 17 and Chelsea fifth on 16 points.
Manchester United are in seventh position on 14 points, five adrift of City and Arsenal. It’s very tight in the Premier League and every point will be crucial. This weekend serves up a mouth-watering clash between Chelsea and Manchester United, with Jose Mourinho returning to Stamford Bridge.
Saturday 22 October
Bournemouth 28/10 | Draw 5/2 | Tottenham 19/20
Saturday's early kick-off sees free-scoring Bournemouth play host to Tottenham. The Cherries picked up a morale-boosting 6-1 victory at home to Hull City, which lifted them two places in 11th on the Premier League table. Eddie Howe’s side are now unbeaten in three matches, winning twice and come off a hat-trick of wins at the Vitality Stadium. Bournemouth have netted eight goals while conceding just once in their last three home games. It will be interesting to see how they fare against Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs.
Tottenham were close to suffering their first defeat of the season when old boy Nacer Chadli gave West Brom the lead in the 82nd minute, but it took an 89th minute reply from Dele Alli to earn his side a point. The north Londoners were rewarded for their patience, persistence and belief as they stuck to their game plan. Pochettino will be sweating on the fitness of Belgian defender Toby Alderweireld, who suffered a knee injury in that game. Spurs are just not as solid when his not on the field. Although there’s good value on Tottenham, the safest bet is Both Teams To Score at 7/10.
Arsenal 1/4 | Draw 47/10 | Middlesbrough 10/1
Arsenal recorded their sixth straight league victory as they beat Swansea 3-2 at the Emirates, thanks to a brace from Theo Walcott, who took his league tally to five goals this season. The game wasn’t as close as the scoreline suggested though with the Gunners guilty of missing a hatful of chances. However, Granit Xhaka’s dismissal in the 70th minute did make things uncomfortable for Arsene Wenger’s side.
The aggressive Swiss midfielder will now miss the next three matches for Arsenal, but Wenger has an abundance of riches in midfield, with Francis Coquelin and Mohamed Elneny raring to get their chance. The Gunners are in great form and it’s certainly not going to take a struggling Middlesbrough side to stop them. Aitor Karanka’s men are winless in their last six matches in the Premier League, suffering four defeats. Back Arsenal on the (-1) Handicap at 13/20 for value.
Burnley 17/4 | Draw 26/10 | Everton 13/20
Burnley suffered their fifth loss of the season as they went down 3-1 away to Southampton – their second straight defeat. The scoreline would have flattered Burnley, whose best player was goalkeeper Tom Heaton. Sam Vokes was isolated up front and didn’t have enough support or service, while the injury suffered by key man Steven Defour late in the first half is a huge concern.
Everton come into the match off a commendable 1-1 draw away to Manchester City – their second draw in a row, with Romelu Lukaku scoring in both games. After a solid performance against Pep Guardiola’s side, the Toffees will be looking to claim maximum points after going winless in four matches in all competitions. Ronald Koeman’s side are tipped to pile further misery on the Clarets.
Hull City 39/20 | Draw 22/10 | Stoke City 29/20
Hull City are really battling to compete in England's top flight as they are now winless in six matches, suffering five losses. Their latest defeat – and fourth in a row – was a 6-1 annihilation at the hands of Bournemouth, which equalled their heaviest defeat in the Premier League. They’ve shipped 20 goals in the league this season – no team has conceded more goals. The alarm bells are ringing at the KCOM Stadium and Mike Phelan needs to improve them quickly.
Stoke City have shown signs of improvement in recent weeks and are off the mark at last. Mark Hughes’ side recorded a 2-0 victory over bottom-placed Sunderland, courtesy of a double from Joe Allen – his fourth for the campaign. The former Liverpool man has added clinical finishing and leadership qualities to his trademark passing game, and his contribution is rubbing off on the other big names like Marko Arnautovic, Wilfried Bony and Xherdan Shaqiri. I’m backing the visitors to pick up all three points at 29/20.
Leicester City 21/20 | Draw 47/20 | Crystal Palace 26/10
Fallen champions Leicester were thumped 3-0 at Chelsea last weekend – their fourth loss of the season – and the Foxes could now challenge the Blues' unwanted record of making the worst-ever defence. Claudio Ranieri got his team selection all wrong, leaving out ultra-creative winger Riyad Mahrez and towering striker Islam Slimani due to Champions League commitments. The Foxes are winless in three matches and Ranieri will be hoping for a positive response from his players. At the King Power Stadium, Leicester have been a lot better, picking up eight points from a possible 12.
Crystal Palace are winless in two matches and come off a 1-0 home defeat against West Ham. The Eagles had plentiful chances to at least draw level but Christian Benteke missed from the penalty spot which proved crucial. With home advantage, Leicester are tipped to oust their opponents at even money.
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Swansea City 5/4 | Draw 9/4 | Watford 22/10
Swansea’s 3-2 defeat at Arsenal, their first match under new boss Bob Bradley, saw them slip to 19th place. The Swans have not won in seven league matches since they beat Burnley on the opening day and the challenge facing Bradley could not be spelt out more clearly. The Swans will be going all out for a much-needed victory against Watford, whom they beat 1-0 in this fixture last season.
The Hornets moved up to 10th place after edging Middlesbrough 1-0, thanks to Jose Holebas' brilliant goal. Walter Mazzarri's side have lost just once in their last five games, winning three times. Swansea’s shaky defence will struggle to deal with the physical threat of Watford’s Troy Deeney, who is just one goal away from scoring 100 goals for the club. Back the Hornets on the Win/Draw Double Chance at 6/10.
West Ham 7/10 | Draw 11/4 | Sunderland 37/10
West Ham are unbeaten in two matches after grinding out a vital 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace, despite going down to 10 men. The Hammers needed a bit of luck though as Christian Benteke missed from the penalty spot, but they were sharp, hungry, creative and dominant. Slaven Bilic’s side will be looking to make it two wins on the bounce against Sunderland.
The Black Cats remain rooted to the bottom of the table and, quite frankly, look like staying there. They barely threatened Stoke last weekend and Jermain Defoe, at the age of 34, should not be expected to carry the team with his goals. David Moyes’ side are yet to win a match, losing six of their eight games this season. West Ham should secure maximum points at 7/10.
Liverpool 1/4 | Draw 47/10 | West Brom 9/1
Liverpool come off a goalless draw at home to Manchester United, which isn’t a bad point but the Reds may deem it as a missed opportunity. They could have gone level on points with Manchester City and Arsenal at the summit of the table and, perhaps as significantly, six points clear of United. The victory saw them remain in fourth place, with Chelsea just a point behind them. Prior to their draw with United, Liverpool were on a five-match winning streak and Jurgen Klopp will be confident his side can return to winning ways against West Brom.
The Baggies are unbeaten in four matches, but have drawn the last three. Tony Pulis’ side might be struggling to win games, but it also shows how tough they are to beat. They came the closest to beating Tottenham last weekend, with Spurs needing an 89th minute equalizer from Dele Alli after Nacer Chadli had put the Baggies in front in the 82nd minute. Still, at Anfield, you’d expect Liverpool to win this. The Reds are too short at 1/4, so I’d recommend taking the Halftime Draw at 17/10 for more value.
Sunday 23 October
Manchester City 5/10 | Draw 34/10 | Southampton 5/1
Manchester City were left frustrated after having two penalties saved in a 1-1 draw at home to Everton, dropping their first home points of the season. City dominated the game and enjoyed 72% possession, but found it difficult to break down the Toffees and beat goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg, who was awarded Man of the Match for his outstanding performance. The one positive for City was the return of captain Vincent Kompany, even though he only came on in the 88th minute. His return will give Pep Guardiola a massive lift as City have kept just one clean sheet from eight games this season. Guardiola’s side are winless in their last two matches in the Premier League and will seek a return to winning ways against Southampton.
The Saints come off a comfortable 3-1 win over Burnley, with Charlie Austin netting a brace and taking his tally to four goals this season. Claude Puel’s side are in good form having gone unbeaten in four league matches with three wins – keeping three clean sheets. However, they’ve already lost twice on their travels from four matches. Although I’m expecting Southampton to give City a hard time, I think the hosts will secure all three points.
Chelsea 11/10 | Draw 47/20 | Manchester United 49/20
Jose Mourinho will return to the place he is loved the most, Stamford Bridge on Sunday, as Manchester United lock horns with Chelsea in what promises to be a mouth-watering encounter.
The Blues are in good form having won back-to-back games against Hull and champions Leicester, scoring five goals and keeping clean sheets in both. United are unbeaten in their last three matches in the Premier League, but have drawn the last two.
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TREBLE @ 3/1
Everton Win 13/20
West Ham Win 7/10
Man City Win 5/10
Written by Chadley Nagel @Hollywoodbets