A brief sojourn into Europe for those in the Champions and Europa Leagues prior to this week’s Premier League action, and how that will impact upon proceeding domestically is anybody’s guess.
What we do know is that any side that has experienced a strong start to the campaign will want to keep that momentum going forward; any that have struggled will be determined to get back on track.
As such, here are the pick of this Saturday’s Premier League betting tips:
Hull City vs Arsenal (3pm)
What a start it has been for Hull City – beyond their wildest dreams, in fact. One defeat in four, and an unlucky one at that, has lifted the Tigers into the top half of the table, and richly deserved it is too. They are playing with smiles on their faces at the moment and it shows.
Sometimes the stats do lie, and while the league table may tell us that Arsenal have taken seven points from four games, plus a creditable point in Paris against PSG in midweek, but the fact remains that the Gunners are nowhere near their best at the moment.
They shipped four against Liverpool in their opening game, were lucky to escape with a point from Leicester when their hosts could and should have had two penalties awarded, and least week they needed a last minute penalty to secure all three points against Southampton. They’ve been whistling the Great Escape theme tune all the way back from Paris, so what has gone wrong?
Without getting started on Arsene Wenger’s brainless transfer policy, the Gunners simply aren’t connecting in attack. They have recorded just 18 shots on target this term, rank seventh in the league for pass completion % and just fifth for possession per game. Those may sound like inconsequential numbers, but given that the Gunners’ game is built on progressive attacking play we can see where the problems lie.
Don’t forget they have conceded in 4/5 competitive matches this term too, so Hull will really fancy the job. They may not win, but they should certainly take something from the game.
Hull City Double Chance at 7/5 with bet365
Manchester City vs Bournemouth (3pm)
Pep Guardiola maintained his 100% record as Manchester City boss with a 4-0 rout of Borussia M’gladbach in midweek, and it is going to take something pretty special to take even a point off his charges given the way they are playing right now. Only the most optimistic of Bournemouth fans will suggest that they are capable of such a feat.
City doled out 4-0 and 5-1 thrashings to the Cherries last season, and while the visitors have pretty much the same line-up now as they did then, the Citizens have essentially improved from an attacking perspective even if Sergio Aguero will miss this game through suspension.
Kelechi Iheanacho scores a goal roughly every 90 minutes for City – a phenomenal record, and he will be joined here by the likes of Nolito and David Silva, who sat out the midweek massacre. Which of the City midweek stars take their place here remains to be seen, but the bottom line is that City will have enough firepower to win and to win well.
Manchester City -1 Handicap at 4/5 with Betfred
West Brom vs West Ham (3pm)
Despite West Ham’s rather spectacular start to the campaign (3/4 have witnessed over 2.5 goals), they may find themselves sucked into West Brom’s preferred style of football here: tight, conservative and turgid affairs.
Make no bones about it, the Hammers were awful last week in defeat to Watford, and after shipping four goals to the Hornets Slavan Bilic will have been hard at work on the training ground in an attempt to solidify his porous backline.
The Baggies will continue to do what they do so well: scrapping for points at every available turn. They don’t get enough credit for their achievements in surviving the drop year after year on a shoestring budget, and while Tony Pulis’ style of football is less than appetising at times it is effective. Lesser men would have crumbled in the Hawthorns hot seat by now.
Just 25% of West Brom’s games have witnessed either both teams scoring or three or more goals, and that’s a general theme that has played out in their last 10 home matches (40% BTTS, 30% Over 2.5 Goals). The former option offers better betting value.
Both Teams to Score – No at 20/21 with BetVictor
Everton vs Middlesbrough (5:30pm)
While Manchester City and Pep Guardiola have taken the majority of the early season plaudits, much admiration should be going the way of Ronald Koeman for the restorative job he has done at Everton this term.
Defensively he has bought well – both Ashley Williams and Idrissa Gueye have contributed to two consecutive clean sheets, but it is in attack where the Dutchman has really earned his money: with the same personnel as Roberto Martinez had at his disposal, Koeman’s Everton are averaging 7.75 shots per game – the division’s best total.
Middlesbrough have gone about their business in quiet and understated fashion, and all things considered will be pleased to occupy the lower reaches of mid-table.
But they haven’t really played anybody of note yet, and the first they came up against a dynamic attack against Crystal Palace they were found wanting in a 1-2 defeat. Let’s be frank: Everton’s attacking play is far above what any of Boro’s most recent opponents are able to produce.
Their price of 3/4 to win with William Hill will entice some, and we’re also interested in Romelu Lukaku to score anytime at 7/5 with Betfair. He is somebody that tends to go on scoring runs – 13 of his 23 goals last season came in two streaks of eight in nine and three in four, so after Monday night’s hat-trick he looks ready to go once again here.