Our football scribe previews round eight of the highly entertaining English Premier League.
After the distraction of the uneventful international break, it’s back to the real business. Gameweek 8 of the Premier League has some cracking encounters lined up. As well as great football to watch, there’s lots of money to be made and I’m feeling optimistic about my picks.
Saturday 15 October
Chelsea 6/10 | Draw 31/10 | Leicester 17/4
We kick Saturday’s action off with a clash between Antonio Conte’s Chelsea and his Italian counterpart – and former Chelsea boss – Claudio Ranieri’s Leicester City. This will be the fourth time these managers will go head to head, with Conte winning two of his three matches against Ranieri – a record he'll be eager to maintain. The Blues come into the match off a 2-0 victory away to Hull, who beat Ranieri’s side 2-1 on the opening day of the season.
Chelsea have looked dangerous going forward with top scorer Diego Costa hitting his stride. The defence has been the biggest concern for Conte, however, captain John Terry will return and bring calmness to the side, while Kurt Zouma is nearing a return. The Foxes are winless in their last two league matches following a hefty 4-1 defeat at Man United and goalless draw at home to Southampton. They’ve lost all three of their away games this season, shipping 10 goals while finding the net just three times. Get on the Blues at 6/10.
Arsenal 1/4 | Draw 47/10 | Swansea 9/1
Arsenal are in a rich vein of form with five wins in succession, keeping back-to-back clean sheets. Alexis Sanchez and Theo Walcott have been Arsene Wenger’s star performers having been involved in 11 goals between them. Arsenal's defence has been impressively solid of late with Shkodran Mustafi forging a formidable partnership with Laurent Koscielny. It’s going to be extremely tough for any team to take points off Arsenal.
However, they’ll face a potential banana skin against a Swansea side that has caused them many troubles. The Swans have lost just once from their last five meetings against Arsenal with three wins, including back-to-back games at the Emirates. Bob Bradley has been appointed as the new Swansea manager after Francesco Guidolin was sacked. Bradley becomes the first American head coach in the Premier League and he’ll be hoping for a dream start. Since their opening day 1-0 win over Burnley, the Swans are winless in six matches with five defeats. Arsenal might just give them a hiding. Back the Gunners Win + Over 2.5 Goals at 6/10.
Bournemouth 8/10 | Draw 51/20 | Hull City 36/10
Bournemouth will play host to Hull City at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday, with the Cherries looking to make it three home wins in a row for the first time in the Premier League. Eddie Howe’s side are unbeaten in their last two matches having beaten Everton 1-0, followed by a 2-2 draw away to Watford last time out.
The Cherries have won back-to-back matches at the Vitality Stadium and will be optimistic to grab maximum points. Hull’s 2-0 loss at home to Chelsea last time out – their third straight defeat – took their winless streak to five matches. Despite their poor form, they’ve scored in five of their seven games this season, only Man United and Chelsea shutting them out. Both Teams To Score is tipped at 19/20.
Manchester City 5/10 | Draw 36/10 | Everton 5/1
Manchester City will be looking to return to winning ways when they host Everton at the Etihad Stadium. Pep Guardiola’s side are winless in their last two matches, drawing 3-3 away to Celtic in the Champions League before suffering a 2-0 defeat at Tottenham. The Sky Blues are missing influential playmaker Kevin De Bruyne to a hamstring injury and the Belgian may miss their crunch clash against Barcelona next week Wednesday.
Guardiola’s side sit top of the league with 18 points out of a possible 21. City have been lethal in front of goal having scored 18 goals, but they’ve conceded seven times and kept just one clean sheet. Everton have struggled in recent weeks and Ronald Koeman will be hoping for a strong performance. They’ve got players that can hurt City like Ross Barkley, Romelu Lukaku and Yannick Bolasie. Back Man City to Win + Both Teams To Score at 31/20.
Stoke 21/20 | Draw 47/20 | Sunderland 26/10
Basement-dwellers Stoke will hope to secure their first win of the campaign against fellow strugglers Sunderland at the Stadium of Light. The Potters have been dreadful in the league this season, but there have been signs of improvement in recent weeks. Mark Hughes’ men came close to getting their first victory against West Brom on gameweek 6, with Salomon Rondon equalizing for the Baggies in stoppage time.
Before the international break, Stoke earned a commendable 1-1 draw away to Manchester United with Joe Allen cancelling out Anthony Martial's wonder strike. Sunderland are rooted to the foot of the table and need three points to revive their season as they fight for safety. David Moyes’ side have lost five of their seven matches this season. Under 2.5 Goals is the way to go at 15/20.
West Brom 4/1 | Draw 26/10 | Tottenham 7/10
October promises to be a difficult month for West Brom as they face a daunting fixture list that will see them take on Tottenham, Liverpool and Manchester City, with all three opponents currently residing in the top four. Tony Pulis’ side have been tough to beat in recent weeks, having gone unbeaten in their last three matches. An impressive 4-2 win at home to West Ham on gameweek 5 followed with draws against Stoke and Sunderland.
Pulis will be hoping his Baggies side will give a good account of themselves, but it will take something special to take points off this in-form Spurs side. Mauricio Pochettino’s team are the only unbeaten side in the league so far having won five of their seven matches, scoring 12 goals while conceding just three. Spurs will be without star striker Harry Kane, but they showed in their 2-0 win over Man City that they can cope without him. The away win is a top bet at 7/10.
Crystal Palace 23/20 | Draw 49/20 | West Ham 47/20
Crystal Palace have been in good form having gone unbeaten in their last five matches in the Premier League with three wins. Christian Benteke has been prolific in front of goal, scoring three goals from five appearances for Alan Pardew’s side. The Eagles will be looking to claim maximum points against a West Ham side in disarray.
The Hammers have been struggling so far this season, picking up just four points from their first seven games, with several key players out injured, including striker Andy Carroll, club record signing Andre Ayew and full-back Aaron Cresswell. Slaven Bilic’s side are winless in their last five matches, suffering four defeats and shipping 15 goals. Crystal Palace certainly have the edge, but Both Teams To Score is a safer bet at 13/20.
Sunday 16 October
Middlesbrough 12/10 | Draw 22/10 | Watford 47/20Middlesbrough have experienced the highs and lows of life in the top-flight. Some real good moments – including the 2-1 Tees–Wear win at Sunderland and solid performance against Stoke, which deserved a victory before Xherdan Shaqiri's free-kick. But Aitor Karanka's side are winless in their last five matches, suffering three defeats against Crystal Palace, Everton and Tottenham. Watford have been inconsistent this season and are winless in their last two matches, following their 2-0 defeat away to Burnley on gameweek 6 and 2-2 draw at home to Bournemouth last time out.
Walter Mazzarri will be hoping for the kind of performance that was on display in their wins over West Ham and Man United last month. Etienne Capoue and Troy Deeney have been the key players for the Hornets, having been involved in nine goals between them. Deeney is just one goal away from scoring 100 goals for the club and he’ll be raring to go. I’m tipping Watford on the Win/Draw Double Chance at 6/10.
Southampton 4/10 | Draw 36/10 | Burnley 15/2
Southampton are undefeated in six matches across all competitions, keeping clean sheets in as many games. In the Premier League, Claude Puel’s side are three games unbeaten having secured wins over Swansea and West Ham, while playing to a goalless draw at Leicester last time out. The Saints will look to put Burnley to the sword at St Mary's Stadium – where they are yet to lose this season.
The Clarets were cruelly denied a point against Arsenal as Koscielny's controversial goal handed Arsenal a 1-0 victory. Sean Dyche will be hoping for a positive response against Southampton as he targets a third win of the season. Burnley will need Sam Vokes at his best to trouble the rock-solid partnership of Virgil van Dijk and Jose Fonte. A low-scoring affair is expected, with Under 2.5 Goals tipped at 19/20.
Monday 17 October
Liverpool 21/20 | Draw 5/2 | Manchester United 5/2
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TREBLE @ 6/1
Chelsea Win 6/10
Man City Win + BTTS 31/20
Tottenham Win 7/10
Written by Chadley Nagel @Hollywoodbets