With the Premier League returning this weekend, Ed Acteson has written this preview of five of the Premier League matches this Saturday, with a view to taking on the £800,000 Pick 15 and £5,000 Pick 5 pools. Read on for his Premier League tips. If you agree with his opinions then you can join his Syndicates.
Bournemouth vs. Norwich
Norwich’s promising start to the season has been hugely undermined by a dreadful injury crisis and The Canaries have dropped to second last in the table.
A month is a long time in football and it feels like a distant memory since they beat Manchester City and Teemu Pukki was being heralded as the saviour of European football. Since that day, they have lost three consecutive games, shipping nine and scoring just once.
With Pukki’s drop in form coming at just the wrong time, they may struggle to break down a Bournemouth side who have claimed seven points from the last 12 available, their sole loss in that mini-run coming away to Arsenal.
Unfortunately until that injury crisis alleviates, I can’t side with poor Norwich.
Chelsea vs. Newcastle
Despite an inability to score, leaking nearly two goals per game and downgrading from a Champions League winning manager to one whose best chance of a trophy is in his local boozer’s darts tournament, Newcastle somehow beat Manchester United two weekends ago to lift themselves out of the relegation zone.
However, they have lost three of their four matches away from home this season and travel to take on a Chelsea side who are loving life at the moment. The Blues have won their last four games in all competitions by an aggregated scoreline of 15-3 and should turn Newcastle over fairly comfortably.
Leicester vs. Burnley
The side in fourth place, Leicester, will be heavily fancied to beat Burnley but don’t have an easy task on their hands. Sean Dyche has got Burnley playing as well as when they finished seventh, where they currently sit in the table.
The Clarets are on a run of four games unbeaten, winning two of them, and a victory over Everton sent them into the international break on a high. They didn’t have too many of their core squad away during the break so will have been able to spend the last couple of weeks working hard for this one and will fancy their chances of getting something.
Unsurprisingly, Burnley win most of their points at Turf Moor and set up to frustrate teams away from home. Indeed they have drawn three and lost one of their last four away visits.
Leicester, on the other hand, are unbeaten at home so far this season, winning three of them.
I’m going to predict an upset by taking the draw, although will add Leicester to my Syndicate just in case.
Tottenham vs. Watford
The international break could not have come quick enough for Tottenham, who were reeling after losing 7-2 at home to Bayern Munich and 3-0 away to Brighton in the space of five days.
Exactly what is going on behind the scenes is a mystery, although to an outsider it looks as though half of the club want out at the earliest opportunity, including the manager and several senior players.
If Spurs could have handpicked a match to return to after the international break though, it might have been a home fixture against Watford who are yet to win in eight fixtures and have lost their last two away (Man City and Wolves) by a combined scoreline of 10-0.
Spurs are in disarray and I’d love to oppose them but there is no real argument to support Watford either so will reluctantly take the favourites.
Wolves vs. Southampton
After a mysteriously sluggish start to the season, Wolves finally seem to be clicking into gear. Seemingly inspired by their 95th minute equaliser at Selhurst Park, they followed that positive result up by beating Watford and Man City 2-0 in consecutive weeks.
Suddenly they’re up to 11th in the league, just five points behind Leicester in fourth, and will have real hopes of repeating last season’s heroics.
If that is to become reality, it must begin with a victory against Southampton, who are currently locked in a mini league of Premier League stalwarts (Everton, Newcastle & Aston Villa) just outside the relegation zone.
After a fantastic end to last season, this was meant to be the Saints year but it just hasn’t panned out that way so far and seven points from eight games is clear relegation form.
Their biggest problems lie in defence with a rate of nearly two goals conceded a game unsustainable over a season and I fear for them at Molineux.
They’ll need a huge defensive shift to earn anything from this game but will Wolves on an upwards trajectory, I don’t see it.