Our football expert previews the English Premier League Week Nine action which kicks off on Saturday 20 October 2018.
After the second FIFA break of the season, club football returns with plenty to look forward to in the English Premier League. Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool sit pretty at the top of the table, level on 20 points each. It’s expected to be a three-horse race for the remainder of the season, but Arsenal and Tottenham cannot be ruled out just yet, being two points behind in fourth and fifth respectively.
Manchester United, with all their struggles this season, languishing in eighth spot, with Jose Mourinho visiting his former side, Chelsea, in this weekend’s opening act. The break came at the worst possible time for some, whilst for others, rejuvenation is needed to turn their fortunes around.
Saturday 20 October
Manchester United 4/1
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Cardiff City 14/10
This weekend throws up a battle between the two struggling promoted clubs when Cardiff host Fulham this Saturday. Neil Warnock’s men are bottom placed and are yet to register their first win in the top flight. Fulham are a place above the relegation zone, and despite their recent failure, there’s always a sense of optimism due to Aleksandar Mitrovic’s extraordinary goalscoring qualities.
The Cottagers certainly have the players to hurt Cardiff, like they did in this fixture last season, winning 4-2 in Wales. Perhaps not the same scoreline, but an away win is on the cards once again here.
Manchester City 1/14
It seems the break came at the wrong time for Manchester City, but for Burnley, there’s never the perfect time to face this City team. They nullified Liverpool at Anfield before the FIFA break, and could welcome back Kevin De Bruyne after his lengthy injury.
Burnley thought they could go on a bit of a run before the international interval, but were held 1-1 at home to struggling Huddersfield. Joe Hart will face his former employers with something to prove after being discarded so cheaply by Pep Guardiola. The Burnley shot-stopper will have his work cut out for him, while the same cannot be said for City’s Ederson. Back the Home Win to Nil market at 5/10.
Wolves have been a revelation since their return to the top flight, enduring a six-game unbeaten run, while they are still yet to taste defeat at the Molineux Stadium. In that run, they drew with Manchester giants, City and United, who they are currently above in the log standings. Watford were thumped heavily before the break, getting four smashed past them in a drubbing at home to Bournemouth.
It’s been four games since the Hornets are to register a win, while their strike force of Troy Deeney and Andre Gray have been ice cold of late. Rui Patricio has well and truly been one of the best signings of the season and could keep another clean sheet here. Although that might be too risky to put your money, a straightforward Wolves win should prove much safer.
Newcastle United 12/10
Newcastle United return from the international break hoping for a turnaround, going through a run of eight games without a victory and are second from the bottom with just two points this season. If any team is enduring a rough patch, its these guys.
Brighton, on the other hand, come off the back of a brilliant result, beating high-flying West Ham 1-0 at the Amex Stadium. Away from home, though, Brighton have just one point from four matches, losing three times. Their one positive this season has been Glenn Murray, who has five goals to his account. Both Teams to Score seems a top bet at 21/20.
Bournemouth will be hoping to continue their rampant form, going into the break after a convincing 4-0 away win at Watford. Eddie Howe’s men are playing with confidence with the attacking trio of Josh King, Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser all in the form of their lives. In fact, only Manchester City have scored more goals at home than Bournemouth.
Southampton are off the back of three straight defeats in the Premier League, and in the words of our Editor: they will go down! The home win is a great bet with plenty of value at 11/10 – get on!
West Ham 33/10
West Ham welcome Tottenham Hotspur to the London Stadium in what promises to be a mouth-watering derby. Manuel Pellegrini’s men have already sprung an upset or two against giant opposition, holding Chelsea to a draw and beating Man United at this very same home ground. Spurs are two points off the top of the table, but have struggled against teams that are quick on the counter, losing to both Watford and Liverpool.
West Ham could bring the same heat that the Reds and the Hornets did earlier this campaign and catch Mauricio Pochettino’s men by surprise. Tottenham have been plagued with injuries and will be sweating on the fitness of Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen and Jan Vertonghen. Under 2.5 Goals at 23/20 is my tip here!
Troubled Huddersfield host Liverpool on Saturday evening hoping to pick up their first win of the campaign. The Terriers are yet to even score a goal this term, so to get their first against the league’s most resilient defence would be a tough ask.
In all competitions, Liverpool are winless in four matches, but they will certainly bounce back against David Wagner’s men, who happens to be a close friend of Jurgen Klopp. The Reds have been rock-solid this season and I’m expecting another clean sheet for Alisson Becker. Back the Away Win to Nil market at a profitable 7/10.
Along with Cardiff and Huddersfield, Crystal Palace are my favourites to go down at the end of the season. Wilfried Zaha cannot do it all on his own and we could see a similar story to what happened with Xherdan Shaqiri at Stoke City last campaign. The Eagles are off the back of two straight defeats and are winless in three league matches. Back the home win here and include in all multiples.
The Foxes were shocking in their 2-1 home defeat at the hands of Everton before the break, but you can never write off Claude Puel’s men just yet, especially with James Maddison in superb form, while Jamie Vardy has a knack of scoring in the big games. At 31/20, Arsenal to Win & Both Teams to Score is the best bet here – get on!