Premier League: Top Of The Table Clashes
The Premier League looks wide open at the moment, with both Liverpool and Chelsea having made perfect starts, whilst Manchester City have dropped just two points in their opening four matches. Tottenham are also in the hunt after securing none points from a possible 12, and their match against Liverpool at lunchtime on Saturday can already be billed as a potentially crucial six pointer.
Chelsea have a much easier looking task against struggling Cardiff and Maurizio Sarri’s side could have the chance to top the table if Liverpool’s winning running comes to an end against Tottenham. Meanwhile, Watford are the surprise package of the season so far after starting the season with four straight wins. Manchester United could prove a tough hurdle for Javi Gracia’s side after winning the last three games between the two sides but, equally, Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is sure to be feeling the pressure after a disappointing start to the season.
Read our thoughts on Tottenham vs Liverpool, Chelsea vs Cardiff, Newcastle vs Arsenal, Manchester City vs Fulham, and Watford vs Manchester United.
Tottenham vs Liverpool (Saturday 12.30)
Tottenham surrendered this season’s 100% Premier League record at Watford last time out and they’ll be desperate to hit back by ending Liverpool’s perfect start to the season to avoid losing any more ground on their fellow title challengers. If last season’s results are anything to go by, Tottenham must have every chance of doing so, too. They took four points off Liverpool last season, including a convincing 4-1 win in the corresponding fixture.
Tottenham took a 2-0 lead in the 12th minute in that game, before Liverpool pulled one back through Mo Salah. Dele Alli and Harry Kane then added two more for Tottenham. Both Kane and Salah were again on the scoresheet when the sides drew 2-2 at Anfield in February.
The bookies have made Liverpool favourites and, whilst Liverpool have strengthened their squad since then, a win here would still be a fantastic result for Jurgen Klopp’s side. Therefore, the draw may be a better bet. However, the value-bet is probably for there to be more than 3.5 goals, whilst it’s possible that a double on Salah and Kane to score at any time could be a winner for the third head-to-head in a row.
Chelsea vs Cardiff (Saturday 3.00)
If Liverpool do fail to extend their perfect start to the season against Tottenham, Chelsea could be the team that tops the table come Saturday evening, as the bookies have chalked them up at a top-priced 1/5 to make it five wins out of five against Cardiff.
It’s really hard to make a case for Cardiff getting a result, as they failed to score in their opening three games against Bournemouth, Newcastle, and Huddersfield. They did get off the mark against Arsenal, but were forced to attack after an early Arsenal goal. To Cardiff’s credit, they equalized twice in that match, but still lost 3-2. Meantime, Chelsea have scored 10 goals and conceded just three, keeping two clean sheets. Therefore, Chelsea to win to nil looks the likeliest outcome.
Newcastle vs Arsenal (Saturday 3.00)
It hasn’t taken long for Unai Emery to get Arsenal winning games and, after defeats to Manchester City and Chelsea, they have hit back with wins against Arsenal and Cardiff. The Gunners are scoring fairly freely, with eight goals in their last three games, and they have spurned plenty of chances in their last three games, too. Meanwhile, it’s been a tough start for Newcastle after having to play Man City, Chelsea, and Tottenham in their opening for games, but they did score against all three of those top-six sides.
Newcastle can also take some confidence from the fact they beat Arsenal at Saint James’ Park 2-1 last season. Therefore, Newcastle may be able to get their season back on track with somewhat of a surprise win against Arsenal, especially as the new-look Gunners looks a bit short at odds-on. However, with both teams scoring regularly, both teams to score may be the better bet.
Manchester City vs Fulham (Saturday 3.00)
It only took three games for Manchester City’s winning start to come to an end, but they’ve since bounced back with an unconvincing win against Newcastle. Their failure to score more than once against Wolves, and just two goals against Newcastle, have again fuelled the debate that City may well miss the injured Kevin De Bruyne more than some punters think.
However, there’s no doubting City’s class and the depth of talent in Pep Guardiola’s squad. Fulham have also bounced back after a poor start to the season and defeats to Tottenham and Crystal Palace have been followed by a win over Burnley and a draw at Brighton. Those two results suggest that Fulham can avoid an immediate return to the Championship, but their failure to keep a clean sheet surely suggest that City will get wrap up three points with the minimum of fuss. More than 3.5 goals could be the way to go.
Watford vs Manchester United (Saturday 5.30)
I wonder what odds you would have got about Watford winning their opening four matches this season, or even having double the points of Manchester United after four games, but that’s the scenario we find ourselves with. Admittedly. Watford’s first three games against Brighton, Burnley, and Crystal Place were winnable.
However, their defeat of Tottenham is a real feather in their cap, and just shows how much a bit of confidence can help, especially as Tottenham have already beaten Man United 3-1 this season. However, it’s Manchester United that have won the last three encounters between the two sides, including a 4-2 win in last year’s corresponding fixture. United quickly went 3-0 in that match before Watford hit back with two goals. However, a late goal by Jessie Lingard clinched the points for United. However, on this season’s results, it’s hard to see why Manchester United are odds-on, and I’d sooner lay United and have Watford and the draw running for me.