Having drawn 2-2 with Pat Nevin in the opening round of Premier League fixtures, this week Ed Acteson is taking on experienced sport broadcaster Bryn Law, who recently left his role as a touchline reporter for Sky Sports to become head commentator for Leeds United’s LUTV.
The pair are predicting the outcomes of the six matches featured in this weekend’s £1,000,000 Correct Score Pick 6 pool. There is 1 point for a correct result and 4 points for a correct score. If you agree with Bryn’s selections you join his Syndicate. If you agree with Ed’s selections you can join his Syndicate.
Former Soccer Saturday favourite @BrynLaw has created a Syndicate for this weekend’s football ⚽
— Colossus Bets (@ColossusBets) August 16, 2019
Everton vs. Watford
EA: 2-1. Pundits asked whether one of Leicester, Wolves, Everton, West Ham or Watford could emerge from the pack and challenge the top six this season. After an opening weekend in which none of the five managed to score, let alone win, achieving an aggregrate scoreline of 0-8, the answer appears to be a resounding no.
Everton’s 0-0 draw at Crystal Palace was better than Watford’s 3-0 drubbing at home to Brighton but both sides have got plenty of improving to do nonetheless. One of our conclusions from the opening weekend was that Watford’s poor form at the end of last season looks to have carried over and, if they are on the wrong end of many more results like that, Javi Gracia could soon find himself under pressure.
Unfortunately I don’t envisage much of a turnaround at Goodison Park against an Everton side who remain in much better nick and I would expect The Toffees to see The Hornets off.
Brighton vs. West Ham
EA: 1-1. Watford’s conquerers, Brighton, take on a West Ham side who are bottom of the league following a 5-0 thumping by Man City. Being Man City’s fodder is no disgrace and plenty more teams will have their goal difference suffer at the hands of Guardiola’s men before the end of the season, however it will surely still have hurt the Hammers’ confidence.
Brighton were widely tipped to go down after a managerial change and a relatively low budget. However, they got off to a tremendous start on Saturday whilst playing some attractive football. West Ham definitely have an edge in quality but, given the pair’s respective confidence levels, Brighton should give them a good game. I think there is a chance the pair will cancel each other out so am backing the draw.
Aston Villa vs. Bournemouth
EA: 2-0. The Cherries were held to a draw by Chris Wilder’s Sheffield United last week, the side tipped to be the whipping boys of the division. They face another promoted club this weekend, however an away trip to Villa is undoubtedly a step up in class.
Villa’s 3-1 defeat away at Tottenham was a cruel result which masked the fact that they led for over an hour of the match before Spurs ultimately wore them down and scored three late goals to claim the win.
If Villa are to survive this season they’ll need Villa Park to become a fortress and a visit from Bournemouth represents exactly the sort of game that Dean Smith will fancy securing three valuable points from.
Sheffield United vs. Crystal Palace
EA: 0-3. With Aaron Wan-Bissaka departing, an unhappy Wilfried Zaha on the bench and Palace’s first choice central defensive partnership of James Tomkins and Mamadou Sakho missing, the Eagles were expected to struggle in their Selhurst Park opener against Everton. They were outplayed in the first half and could have gone behind but once Zaha entered the fray in the second half, Roy Hodgson’s side took control of the game.
Sheffield United also defied expectations by claiming a draw against Bournemouth courtesy of a late goal from Blades’ hero Billy Sharp. They’ll have to continue proving people wrong if they are to avoid an immediate drop back to the Championship and a home fixture against Palace is their next chance.
However, last season Palace had the sixth best away record in the division and were just a point behind fourth. They were also ruthless against the three promoted sides, claiming 13 of a possible 18 points against the division’s new additions. Zaha’s inevitable return to the starting line up will be a huge boost and I fancy him to bring Sheffield United back down to earth with a bang.
Chelsea vs. Leicester
EA: 1-1. Blimey. Even with a rookie manager, a transfer ban and Eden Hazard departing, who foresaw Chelsea getting walloped 4-0 by Manchester United in the opening round? The Blues weren’t entirely abject in the early stages of the match but collapsed dramatically upon conceding, a trait that seems to have continued from pre-season. Does Frank Lampard have the tactical nous to lift a naive squad after such a resounding trouncing?
They face a dangerous opponent in Leicester who could, ultimately, rival them for sixth place this season despite losing Harry Maguire before the season began. The Foxes have been in great form since Brendan Rodgers took over midway through last season and a solid draw against Wolves on the opening weekend will have suited both parties who presumably will have regarded the fixture as a potential banana skin.
Rodgers would undoubtedly take another draw this weekend against one of the behemoths of the league and I think he’ll get it.
Wolves vs. Manchester United
EA: 1-2. A very tasty encounter could be on the cards on Monday night as last season’s big success story, Wolves, face the side who finished one place above them in the league last season, Manchester United. However, with The Red Devils having strengthened significantly over the summer and Wolves saddled with the additional burden of Europa League football this term, I wouldn’t expect them to be quite as close again.
Wolves were a constant menace against the six sides that finished above them last season and, in a mini-league of the top seven, they would have finished third. They took four points from United, a pair of results that proved costly with United missing out on the Champions League by a narrow margin.
After a fantastic pre-season though and a stunning opening day result in which all of United’s new signings bedded in well, confidence in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s camp must be sky high. I simply can’t oppose United and will take them to win.