Sunday, bloody Sunday: oh what a delicious collection of Premier League fixtures you are set to serve up this week.
Watford and Stoke should serve up an appetising entrée to the main dishes – can Arsenal and Manchester City maintain their title challenges? – while for pudding, sorry, dessert, two free-flowing sides looking to sneak their way into the top six do battle.
If that’s left you feeling peckish for Sunday’s Premier League betting tips, then read on.
Watford vs Stoke (12pm)
Despite their buzzing nickname, Watford have become the quiet men of the Premier League; going about their business, effectively mostly, with the minimum of fuss. Forget the 1-6 mauling at the hands of Liverpool three weeks ago, Watford are up to eighth and just one point behind Everton and Manchester United.
The Hornets are the kind of team that punters underestimate, and you do so at your peril.
It’s the goals markets that tickle our fancy here, however. Stoke’s 0-1 loss against Bournemouth last time out was the first time they had failed to register in eight matches; and they did everything but in missing a penalty and firing all manner of shots high, wide and handsome. We have no qualms about their abilities in front of goal.
And as for Watford, well, five of their last six outings at Vicarage Road have witnessed three goals or more, and that’s a trend we’re happy to follow in this weekend.
Over 2.5 Goals (Evens with BetVictor)
Arsenal vs Bournemouth (2:15pm)
This is the type of fixture that should bring out punters in a cold sweat. Arsenal, as short as 4/9, come into this one on the back of midweek Champions League disappointment, which compounds a run of fixtures in the Premier League of which they have drawn three. The Gunners were lucky against Manchester United, to all intents and purposes, and clearly Arsene Wenger’s men aren’t quite at the races at the moment.
But obviously a squad with this much quality can burst into life at any time – as they did to nick a point at Old Trafford in the dying embers – and if things click here then you do worry about Bournemouth.
The Cherries are another side not to be underestimated, having beaten an in-form Stoke at the weekend and taken points off Tottenham and Watford in recent times. They are a hard team to get a read on, and a bit of a punter’s nightmare in truth.
We would expect an Arsenal victory, but are certainly not interested at this price.
If you are planning on watching the game then we do have a wager that will surely keep things interesting for a while: we’re going to back Olivier Giroud in the First Goalscorer market (stop laughing). Arsene Wenger is a stats man, and aside from knowing that Giroud bagged the equaliser from the bench at Old Trafford and opened the scoring against PSG, he will also be aware that the Frenchman has netted with nine of his last eleven shots. It’s always worth backing strikers when they are hot.
Olivier Giroud First Goalscorer (7/2 with Paddy Power)
Manchester United vs West Ham (4:30pm)
Here’s another fixture where the bookmakers have foiled us: 1/2 on a Manchester United victory, and 4/9 on them to score 2+ goals, are clearly untouchable.
If we look at United’s last three matches at Old Trafford we note a side that as comprehensively played their opponents off the park. Okay, so two of those were only Stoke and Burnley (no offence), but the Red Devils bossed Arsenal last time out too.
You’d expect them to do well against a West Ham side still reeling from a heartbreaking defeat at White Hart Lane last time out, and whose experiment with three at the back started well but has started to turn sour of late (six conceded in three starts).
Our selections in the Anytime Goalscorer market look excellent value: Juan Mata is playing as well as he has ever done at the moment, while Paul Pogba appeared to enjoy his more advanced role against Arsenal and you sense his next goal is just around the corner.
Juan Mata Anytime Goalscorer (13/5 with bet365)
Paul Pogba Anytime Goalscorer (5/2 with Betfred)
Southampton vs Everton (4:30pm)
Two sides battling for the prestigious right to be known as the seventh best team in England do battle at St Marys, and in recent weeks neither has particularly served up a compelling case.
Southampton are perhaps in a slightly more positive place. Their form – W1 D3 L2 – is not pretty by any means, but upon closer inspection at least mitigation can be found. Okay, so the defeat to Hull is inexplicable, but the 0-2 at the hands of unstoppable Chelsea at least showed fight and character. Draws with Liverpool and Manchester City are obviously credit-worthy – the Saints are only the third side this season to prevent Liverpool from scoring, while a 3-1 win over Burnley is noteworthy because the Clarets defeated Southampton’s opponents on Sunday around the same time.
Everton’s recent record is identical to the Saints’, but the minutiae suggest they are on weaker ground. A 0-5 hammering from Chelsea and defeat to Burnley offer little salvation, while draws with Crystal Palace and Swansea showcase an outfit unable to take three points from matches they ought to be winning.
Factor in the added motivation on Southampton’s part to get one over the returning Ronald Koeman, and you have a recipe for a home win.
Southampton to Win (21/10 with Betfair)