Liverpool Take Command
Four of the six perfect Premier League records were maintained last weekend but, as Manchester City were held to a draw by Wolves, it was Liverpool that took command at the top of the table. Tottenham, Chelsea, and Wolves all maintained their perfect starts too, but, as Tottenham and Watford play on Sunday, there will be at least one less member of the 100% club after this weekend.
Meanwhile, the relegation battle has already started to hot-up at the other end of the table, with the bottom five clubs having managed to secure just four points between them.
Liverpool will be looking to extend their advantage and pile some pressure on their challengers as they travel to Leicester in the Saturday lunchtime fixture, and we’ll be taking at the stats. We’ll also be taking a look at Chelsea vs Bournemouth, Manchester City vs Newcastle, Burnley vs Manchester United, and Watford vs Tottenham. Meanwhile we’ve also taken a look at the draw for the 2018/19 Champions League.
Leicester vs Liverpool (Saturday 12.30)
Leicester knocked Liverpool out of the EFL Cup at an early stage last season, but Liverpool took their revenge by winning both Premier League games between the two clubs. Liverpool won 2-1 at home and 3-2 away, suggesting this could be a banker for the above 2.5 goals merchants. Meanwhile, Mohammed Salah scored in both Premier League games, also scoring first in the away fixture last season.
Liverpool have kept three clean sheets in the Premier League so far this season but, as Leicester have scored in all their games and put four goals past Fleetwood in the EFL Cup in midweek, it’s no surprise that many bookies are playing it safe at 10/11 in the both teams to score market for both teams to score or not.
Chelsea vs Bournemouth (Saturday 3.00)
The new attack-minded Chelsea have scored eight goals in their first three matches of the season and, with Eden Hazard blowing the post-World Cup cobwebs away with a penalty against Newcastle, the goals look likely to keep on flowing. Chelsea’s problem may be at the other end as, though they kept a clean sheet against Huddersfield, the two goals they conceded against Arsenal could have easily been five or six, whilst Newcastle also breached their rear-guard.
Bournemouth have started strongly too, with seven points from a possible nine and have booked their place in the next round of this season’s EFL Cup. However, their recent record against Chelsea is poor having lost both Premier League matches last season. Bournemouth have scored at least twice in all four of their matches so far this season though, so this could be another high-scoring thriller, with more than 3.5 goals looking a decent bet.
Manchester City vs Newcastle (Saturday 5.30)
Manchester City’s draw against Wolves would have ruined many accas last weekend, but the bookies only eased Man City from 4/6 to 8/11. The bookies certainly don’t expect City to make the same mistake when they take of Newcastle in this Saturday teatime match and City are a best-priced 2/17 to return to winning ways against a Newcastle side that has already been beaten by Tottenham and Chelsea this season.
City also won both matches between the two sides last season, with Sergio Aguero netting a hat-trick in last year’s home match. Aguero has already made a good start to the season, so he might be a good bet in the first goalscorer or anytime goalscorer markets to maintain his challenge to be this season’s Premier League topscorer.
Burnley vs Manchester United (Sunday 4.00)
Burnley had an excellent season last season and there reward was qualifying for Europe. However, the pressure of playing some early qualifying matches seems to have distracted them in the early stages of the Premier League season. Just one point from their opening three Premier League games has left Burnley third-bottom of the table and manager Sean Dyche won’t be relishing having to take on Manchester United this weekend, even with home advantage.
Of course, United haven’t started the season that well themselves and an away defeat to Brighton and a home defeat against Tottenham sees the pressure mounting on United manager Joe Mourinho. However, though Mourinho’s post-match interviews are getting more ridiculous than ever, it’s hard to argue that United were the better team in the first-half against Tottenham before paying heavily or their failure to score. Both teams will be looking to step their games up this weekend, but whether Burnley have the ammo to hurt United is a different matter. United have won their two visits to Burnley to nil and may make it a hat-trick.
Watford vs Tottenham (Sunday 4.00)
Three wins from three games in the Premier League is un-chartered territory for Watford but Tottenham will be an acid test after wins against Brighton, Burnley, and Crystal Palace. Of course, Tottenham have also started the season unbeaten and the form of their victories over Manchester United has stamped them out as possible title challengers.
However, Watford did hold Tottenham to a draw in last season’s corresponding fixture, though Tottenham were down to 10 men for the last 40 minutes of the game. Tottenham are fancied to win but don’t look any value at around 7/11. Therefore, as he has scored in two of his last three matches against Watford, Dele Alli to score at anytime may be a value bet.
Champions League Draw
The groups for the 2018/19 Champions League have been drawn and the four English Premier League teams have fared differently when it comes to the level of the opponents they’ll have to face at the first hurdle.
Tottenham have been drawn in Group B alongside last year’s beaten semi-finalists and Spanish La Liga Champions Barcelona and, whilst they’ll be favourites to qualify from the group with Barcelona, PSV Eindehoven and Inter Milan will be no pushovers. The ever-improving Liverpool also don’t have the easiest of group as PSG are the top-seeds in Group C, whilst last year’s Serie A runner-up Napoli are the second seeds.
Manchester City are strong favourites to win Group G, where Shakhtar Donetsk, Lyon, and Hoffenheim should pose few problems for the English Champions. However, the tastiest group looks to be Group G, where Juventus take on Manchester United. United will have something to prove to Christiano Ronaldo after the former Old Trafford favourite moved to Juventus this summer after turning down a move back to his former club.
Red Star Belgrade