After the frustration of the international break – which bright spark scheduled that so early in the season? – business is back to normal this week with a full Premier League programme.
And what a cracker it should be, with a Manchester derby, a dogfight between two of the promoted sides and a tasty-looking encounter between Liverpool and Leicester to enjoy.
Here are the pick of this week’s Premier League football betting tips
Manchester United vs Manchester City – 12:30pm
Occasionally it can be dangerous to overhype or over-emphasise the impact that one individual player has on their team, but be under no illusion Manchester City are a far weaker side when Sergio Aguero isn’t in their starting eleven.
There is probably a great stat out there regarding City’s results when the Argentine isn’t in their side (we couldn’t find one!), but what we do now is that in the last season and a bit Aguero has bagged more than a third of his team’s league goals (27 of 80). Not many players at elite-level clubs play such an integral role in their club’s fortunes.
The diminutive South American is suspended for this fiercest of local derbies, and Pep Guardiola may even have to re-think his set-up just to account for his loss. Kelechi Iheanacho could come straight in, but what is more likely is that Pep will play either David Silva and Kevin de Bruyne as a false nine and bolster his midfield in an attempt to tackle United’s rather meaty trio of Fellaini, Rooney and Pogba.
The consequence of this is that a logjam of bodies in the middle of the park could restrict the flow of the game, and with City’s main goal outlet sidelined the likelihood here is that this match could descend into something of a grind. The Manchester derbies ended 0-0 and 1-0 last season, so backing Under 25 Goals at 4/5 with Betfred looks savvy.
Under 2.5 Goals at 4/5 with Betfred
Arsenal vs Southampton – 3pm
There is a feeling that Arsenal just cranked through a few of the gears in their 3-1 win over Watford last time out, and looked ominously close to their very best.
Even accounting for a goalless draw at Leicester, the Gunners have netted six in three – the third highest total in the Premier League, and so the omens don’t look good for a Southampton side that is yet to keep a clean sheet this season and whose net has been breached by Watford and Sunderland; two sides hardly on a par with Arsenal in an attacking sense.
Let’s add some numbers to the mix: Arsene Wenger’s side have fired 16 shots on target this term at an average of 5.33 per game, with the best shot-to-goal conversion rate in the division (18.75%). One in three shots that Southampton concedes is on target, and so with that logic in mind not only do we fancy the Gunners to win here but win here well.
Arsenal to Score 2+ Goals at 4/6 with Coral
Stoke City vs Tottenham – 3pm
This may or may not come as a surprise to you, but historically Stoke have had a hex on Tottenham when they have met in the Potteries; Mark Hughes’ side led the head-to-head battle 15-11 in matches dating back nearly a century.
But then on April 18, 2016 something changed: Spurs thumped them 4-0, and so any doubts about whether Mauricio Pochettino’s side can do it on a cold/rainy/hot/sunny Saturday/Sunday/Monday in Stoke can be put to bed.
It’s a struggle for Stoke at the minute; they have conceded six in three, and with Jack Butland injured once again they do appear rather vulnerable. Spurs are unbeaten and have become so without the goals of Harry Kane, who is yet to find his shooting boots this term. The suspicion is that Saturday’s match may be the moment he does against a rather porous-looking Stoke backline.
Spurs to Win at 5/6 with Betfair
West Ham vs Watford – 3pm
Both of these sides have had pretty tough fixtures to kick off their 2016/17 campaigns, and you’d fancy that they will see this match-up as something of a respite. Punters should anticipate goals.
Let’s have a look at the numbers: in a theoretical ‘shots on target conceded’ table, Watford would be third and West Ham fifth with 5.66 and 5.33 pg respectively.
Now, if you are yielding shots on target than clearly your opponent has a better chance of scoring, and that appears to be the case so far: both the Hammers and the Hornets are yet to keep a clean sheet this season.
But they have no trouble finding the net themselves, with West Ham bagging in all three of their games (including ties with Chelsea and Manchester City) and West Ham netting against Southampton, Chelsea and Arsenal. It would be hard to make a case against them recording a BTTS verdict here.
Both Teams to Score at 4/5 with bet365