Martin Laurence is back with his Pick 8 preview!
This week’s Pick 8 Kick’s off on Friday at the Olympic stadium as West Ham host Brighton. Read below to find his preview and his Syndicate.
West Ham vs Brighton 1/X/2
Having alleviated the pressure a little following a late win over Swansea and point at Burnley, the expectation will be on Slaven Bilic’s shoulders to mastermind a win over Brighton. They’ll be without Andy Carroll through suspension though, and still look short of quality and fluency in attack
Brighton have had the sort of solid if unspectacular start many predicted under Chris Hughton and will set up to be tough to beat on the road. As such this is tough first match on the ticket to call and while I’d feel comfortable predicting a low scoring affair it could go either way.
Chelsea vs Watford 1
Many will see this as a potential banana skin for Chelsea after a midweek Champions League game but they can’t take their eyes off the ball after two consecutive defeats in the league. The Blues fell below Watford in the table last weekend, whose fine start to the season continued with a late winner against Arsenal
The Hornets have been in fine form on the road in general but have only faced modest opposition and if the likes of Hazard and Morata are fit and well they should have too much firepower for Silva’s men on Saturday.
Swansea vs Leicester 1/2
The Foxes begin life after Craig Shakespeare with a trip to Swansea, aiming to end a 6-game streak without a win in the league. As such one would expect a reaction from the visitors but Clement’s men will look to exploit any uncertainty within the ranks to secure back-to-back wins at home against fellow strugglers
A draw wouldn’t be a great result for either side so I expect both to go for this and leave spaces at the back. A winner either way is my tip for this one.
Huddersfield vs Manchester United 2
After back-to-back wins to start their Premier League journey things have taken a turn for the worse for Huddersfield, who’s lack of star quality is beginning to be exposed. Manchester United have it in abundance by comparison – despite failing to show any at Anfield last weekend – and Mourinho will be happy to play in the same manner in the big matches provided they continue to turn over weaker opposition
The Terriers are struggling for goals and seem incapable of finding a way past the inspired David De Gea on current form.
Sheffield United vs Reading 1
While many expected Sheffield United to have little difficulty in readapting to England’s second tier the start they have made has still very much exceeded expectations. Reading, prior to a shock win at Leeds last weekend, have regressed badly by comparison and will struggle to break down a miserly Blades backline.
Chris Wilder’s side boast the best home record in the Championship and should build on it once more this weekend to make it six wins from seven.
Barnsley vs Hull x
These two sides are separated by just a single point in the table, with one win, two defeats and three draws across each of their last six league matches. Hull have been poor on the road but are getting closer to their first away victory, conceding a late leveller at Norwich last time out
That said Barnsley are unbeaten in three and have coped admirably with the fire sale that has taken place since their promotion last season, so I think the spoils will be shared here.
Millwall vs Birmingham X/2
Steve Cotterill got the reaction he would have hoped for in his first game as Birmingham boss, following the 6-1 defeat he watched from the stands at Hull with a win over Cardiff, who were league leaders at the time. They nullified Warnock’s men to the extent that the Bluebirds failed to have a single shot on target and will hope to use that sort of defensive solidity as a platform for success.
Millwall is of course a tough place to get a victory and the Blues are without an away win this season but I expect their new manager bounce to inspire another positive result.
Southampton vs West Brom 1
It’s been an unspectacular season for these two sides thus far, already occupying spots in mid-table, though the Baggies have lost that winning feeling since back-to-back victories to start the campaign. With Gabbiadini back among the goals the Saints will hope to kick on, particularly at home, and need to start picking up wins in matches like these.
You can follow more of his tips on Twitter @WSTipster