Our resident football writer Ed Acteson returns to tackle the all Premier League £5,000 Pick 5 on Saturday afternoon. He’s previewed three of five matches in the pool and reckons that there could be shocks on the cards. If you agree with his Premier League tips then you can join his Syndicate.
Aston Villa vs. Liverpool
An open and shut case? Not necessarily.
Liverpool’s fantastic start to the season has masked the fact that they haven’t played particularly well or dominated teams in the same way that they did last season.
It took a 95th minute winner to beat Leicester, they drew with Manchester United, and had to come from behind against a struggling Spurs.
One way to look at these results is that they are demonstrating title-winning spirit against fellow top six contenders, however it is the performances that I am interested in and I reckon they’re due an upset.
Despite Villa going down 3-0 to Man City last week, they’ve been in good form recently, taking seven points from their previous three matches. They’re also unbeaten in five at home in all competitions, winning four of them.
They will also meet a Liverpool side missing Joel Matip, who has arguably been their best player so far this season, and dynamic midfielder Naby Keita.
Although I will back Liverpool as well in my Syndicate in case they do run riot, I’m going to be controversial and take the draw.
Arsenal vs. Wolves
How much lower will Arsenal sink? They surrendered a two goal lead to Crystal Palace at home last weekend before Granit Xhaka told the baying Arsenal mob to f… be quiet. Then in midweek they let a two goal lead against Liverpool’s kids slip twice before drawing 5-5 in a ridiculous match that they eventually lost on penalties.
The Emirates could become toxic if they get off to a bad start this weekend and the last thing they want is a visit from a Wolves side returning to form.
After a dodgy start to the season, Wolves are now unbeaten in five league matches, although they drew three of them 1-1.
They showed that they haven’t lost last season’s ability to upset the big six when they beat City at the Etihad a month ago and will see Arsenal as prime for the taking. I’m going for an away win.
Watford vs. Chelsea
Having gone with upsets in the first two matches, I’m going to change tack in this one and throw my weight behind The Blues.
After a quarter of the season, Watford are yet to win in the league, which makes it all the more remarkable that they are currently just four points from safety and could still get themselves out of trouble.
They were humiliated 8-0 by Manchester City in Quique Sanchez Flores but he has sorted out their defence to a certain extent since then and they have drawn their last three matches.
However, they come up against a Chelsea side who I have been mightily impressed with so far this season. I’m not ashamed to say I was sceptical about how Chelsea would cope after losing Eden Hazard, receiving a transfer ban and appointing a rookie manager but Frank Lampard has done brilliantly.
He has integrated three young players into the side who are playing magnificently and could be the sort of spine to the side that John Terry, Lampard himself and Didier Drogba were a decade ago.
Over the top? Probably, but I’m really sweet on Chelsea at the moment and think they’ll win this by a couple of goals.