The Bundesliga tied us over but is now placed on the shelf like an old, dusty toy as the new and shiny Premier League captures our attention. We are once again faced with trying to predict games based on form from three months ago and with home advantage having eroded. Nevertheless, we’ll do our best. Here is my Premier League weekend betting preview of the Rollover Pick 8 pool. If you like my picks, please join my Syndicate.
Premier League weekend betting preview
Tottenham vs. Man Utd
Fri, 20:15 (Sky Sports Main Event)
A fascinating encounter to begin our Premier League weekend betting preview, as Jose Mourinho’s Spurs side take on his old charges, Manchester United.
There are numerous talking points in this game including the return of Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min for Tottenham and the prospect of a Manchester United side featuring both Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba.
Not many sides will have appreciated the break like Spurs who were on a run of six games without a win in all competitions before the interruption. Harry Kane and Son returning will be huge for them but will it take time for Kane to settle? He traditionally doesn’t tend to score in August, the first month of the season, which is effectively what this is.
United have fared extremely well against fellow big six sides this season, with a record of five wins, two draws and just two defeats, including the double over Manchester City.
I do feel that United have more reason to feel optimistic as a club than Spurs at the moment and, although you can never count out Mourinho, I fancy United to get back to winning ways here. I’ll back United and the draw.
Verdict: Draw & Manchester United
Watford vs. Leicester
Sat, 12:30 (BT Sport 1)
Relegation threatened Watford were in poor form before the break, with just one win in seven league games. That the win was a 3-0 drubbing over the champions-elect Liverpool, their only league defeat this season, should probably be viewed as an anomaly rather than a sign of things to come.
Leicester and Jamie Vardy seemed to have been running out of steam and were on a run of four winless games until, in their final match before the season was postponed, they encountered a woeful Aston Villa side. The Foxes ran out 4-0 winners with Vardy scoring twice.
In my opinion the break will only have helped Leicester and Vardy, who both still have plenty to play for. Just five points ahead of Chelsea and eight points in front of Manchester United, Leicester cannot afford to slip up more than once or twice or they risk getting caught. Missing out on the Champions League places after such a fantastic season would be a travesty so Brendan Rodgers will have them fired up for the restart and nobody more so than Vardy who is still leading the race for the Golden Boot.
In my view Leicester’s class will show here and I expect a routine win.
Brighton vs. Arsenal
Sat, 15:00 (BT Sport 1)
One side who we’ve had a glimpse of is Arsenal, who take on Brighton in the 3pm game. Unfortunately it was a 3-0 beating from Manchester City after David Luiz put in one of his most comical performances yet. Brought on as a 24th minute sub, the Brazilian gifted Raheem Sterling the opening goal before receiving his marching orders 25 minutes later.
Naturally Arsenal will see 15th placed Brighton, winless in nine league games, as an easy opportunity to return to winning ways. However, based on that perfromance The Seagulls could well view Arsenal as a chance to claim a big scalp and ease their relegation fears as well.
Brighton actually drew six of those nine games including credible stalemates against Wolves, Sheff Utd and Chelsea, all of whom are higher than Arsenal in the league table so they won’t be fearing this one. I fancy this as a game with potential for an upset so I’ll back all three results and hope that there is a big clear out of units at the end of it.
Verdict: Brighton & Draw & Arsenal
West Ham vs. Wolves
Sat, 17:30 (Sky Sports Main Event)
As we return from the break, West Ham find themselves uncomfortably sitting outside the relegation zone on goal difference.
The Hammers have lost six of their last nine league games, although it was a nightmare run that included defeats to Arsenal, Liverpool (x2), Man City, Leicester and Sheffield United. The bad news is that things aren’t going to get much easier with their next three fixtures coming against Wolves, Tottenham and Chelsea.
They’ll need to start picking up points quickly if they don’t want to find themselves needing a miracle in the closing games and much of the responsibility will fall on January signing Jarrod Bowen to begin justifying his price tag.
For Wolves it’s business as usual as they try to close the five point gap to Chelsea in fourth. Nuno Espirito Santo’s side will have appreciated the break after a long season which started earlier than most of their rivals thanks to their Europa League exploits.
In honesty I fancy Wolves but, given that their 13 draws is more than any side bar Arsenal, I’ll throw that in for good measure as well.
Verdict: Draw & Wolves
Bournemouth vs. Crystal Palace
Sat, 19:45 (BBC1)
There isn’t a great deal to be positive about it you’re a Bournemouth fan at the moment. They remain in the relegation zone via goal difference, have won twice in their last 13 matches and star player Ryan Fraser has confirmed that he won’t sign a short term contract extension, meaning he has almost certainly played his last game for the club.
At least they are able to take part in this landmark fixture, the first ever Premier League game broadcast live on the BBC and what is set to me the most viewed domestic game of all time. It won’t count for much though if they don’t impress.
Palace can enjoy a cheerier end to the season. 12 points clear of the relegation zone, they are currently closer to Chelsea in fourth than they are to The Cherries. Indeed, just four points behind Wolves in seventh, they still harbour slim hopes of Europa League qualification.
I say slim because Palace have a nightmare run in featuring fixtures against Liverpool, Leicester, Chelsea, Manchester United, Wolves and Tottenham so they will be looking at this fixture as one they need to win just to completely ensure their safety.
Fortunately for Palace they were in terrific form before the break with three successive 1-0 victories and, although they don’t score many, they’re organised and difficult to break down.
Palace have the oldest squad in the division and Roy Hodgson will have hoped that the break has breathed life into the aging legs of Gary Cahill and co. The onus is on Bournemouth to attack here, they simply must, and that plays into the counter-attacking hands of Wilfried Zaha and Jordan Ayew. I’ll take Palace for another low-scoring win.
Verdict: Crystal Palace
Newcastle vs. Sheff Utd
Sun, 14:00 (Sky Sports Main Event)
Every Newcastle fan will have hoped to have returned to Premier League action with a brand new owner and a summer of outlandish spending ahead. However, the move still hasn’t been confirmed as the Premier League string out the fit and proper persons test for the new owners and there must now be serious doubts at St James Park that is will materialise at all.
Steve Bruce will plod on though in his bid to make the Toon Army safe from relegation. He deserves enormous credit for his management of the club this season in difficult circumstances. I was one of the first to stick the boot in upon his arrival but credit where credit’s due, he’s done well.
However, he faces a tricky test against a Sheffield United side with a game under their belt, a game they should have won were it not for a perfectly valid goal being disallowed owing to a failure in Hawkeye’s goal-line technology.
Had that goal stood they would have leapfrogged Manchester United into fifth, a sign of the incredible job Chris Wilder has done this season. In any season where Jurgen Klopp wasn’t set to win Liverpool their first league title with a likely record points tally, Wilder would have been a lock for manager of the year. He still could win it.
In honesty I’m not sure about this one as there are too many unanswered questions. Will Sheffield United’s extra game have given them match fitness or will two games in a week tire them? Will they be demoralised or motivated by that unfair decision?
I’m not sure so I’ll back all three options and hope for the best.
Verdict: Newcastle & Draw & Sheff Utd
Aston Villa vs. Chelsea
Sun, 16:15 (Sky Sports Main Event)
Time’s running out for Villa. They’re a point from safety but it’s really two given their goal difference. They were extremely fortunate to escape with a point against Sheff Utd, a performance in which their best player, Jack Grealish was concerningly quiet.
They have much to fear from a Chelsea side who swotted away Everton 4-0 and Liverpool 2-0 (in the FA Cup) before the break. I don’t have a lot of perms to play with at this stage and can’t really envisage anything but a Chelsea win so I’ll just take that.
Everton vs. Liverpool
Sun, 19:00 (Sky Sports Main Event)
Manchester City’s victory over Arsenal means that Liverpool are unable to secure the title away to their city rivals on Sunday which they’ll regard as a great shame. Their earliest opportunity will come against Crystal Palace the following week and to do that they’ll need to win here.
And win they probably shall in the final leg of our Premier League weekend betting preview. Following a bright start to life under Carlo Ancelotti, The Toffees have only won three of their last ten in all competitions. It is a run that famously included a 1-0 loss to Liverpool in the FA Cup when their rivals played largely youth players against Everton’s strongest line up, so I don’t hold out much hope for them here.
Although they’d love to put the brakes on Liverpool’s title for a while longer, the opposition are just too strong, too talented and too energetic. I think Liverpool will win easily.
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