Harry’s Picks: Week 109 min read
Reds to stretch winning run
Liverpool are looking to make it eight consecutive Premier League wins in a row as they host high flying Leicester at Anfield on Saturday. The Reds are looking genuine title contenders and have a nice five-point cushion over the chasing pack.
Leicester find themselves in third, albeit seven points behind Pool, but with only one defeat will provide strong opposition. Having put four goals past Luton in the League cup, they followed up with five against Newcastle last weekend when star forward Jamie Vardy helped himself to a brace. The trip to Merseyside is now their toughest test with Liverpool still finding ways to win even when off form such as last week’s narrow 1-0 victory at Sheffield United.
With Champions League football, they are utilising their squad depth but had to survive a scare on Wednesday when a 3-0 lead over Salzburg evaporated before a winner from Mohamed Salah spared their blushes. With another big Merseyside crowd behind them, they can confirm they are the team to catch at the top and if anyone does finish above them they will surely be champions.
Irons’ top six hopes
West Ham have only tasted defeat once in the top flight and are looking to make a significant impact on the race to finish in the top six this season. They fought hard to come away from Bournemouth with a useful point last time out and carry plenty of attacking firepower.
An eye catching 2-0 home success over Manchester United has fans believing they can challenge for London’s top club honour and victory over fellow capital rivals Crystal Palace would help their cause.
The Eagles will be fairly satisfied with their mid-table start but they averaged less than a goal a game and it’s hard to see them troubling the better clubs. A recent 4-0 loss at Spurs only highlights this and an overworked defence won’t be able to repel a rampant Hammers attack at the London stadium.
Gunners should have enough firepower
Arsenal came from behind to take a useful point from a trip to Old Trafford on Monday which left the Gunners fourth and, with only one defeat, happy with their promising start to this campaign. In Pierre Emerick Aubameyang they have one of the most feared marksman in English football and he secured the draw in Manchester to take his tally to six in the league.
They host Bournemouth at home next and will be confident of maintaining their unbeaten record at the Emirates. Admittedly they were pushed hard against Aston Villa previously but late goals ensured a 3-2 win and the Cherries have shipped in twelve goals in their first seven games, so I imagine the Arsenal forwards will be eagerly looking forward to this clash.
Another awayday success for Chelsea?
Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has done well despite the clubs transfer ban, which has actually enabled him to unleash some promising younger players who look destined to play a significant role for the Blues.
Defender Fikayo Tomori, midfielder Mason Mount and in-form striker Tammy Abraham are all being tipped for England call ups to next summer’s Euro 2020 event and this trio have really caught the media attention with several sparkling displays.
A routine 2-0 home success over Brighton followed a 7-0 thrashing of Grimsby in the cup and the Pensioners may well surprise the critics who are ruling out a top four finish. On the back of a confidence-boosting 2-1 win in Lille on Wednesday, Chelsea make a tricky trip to the south coast to face inconsistent Southampton next but their last road trip saw the Blues hammer Wolves 5-2 at Molineux, so they travel with confidence.
Southampton look likely to be in the bottom half of the table this season and perhaps surviving the drop may well be their ultimate ambition. The Saints would have been disappointed to fail to beat ten-man Spurs last Saturday, especially with Serge Aurier seeing red less than thirty minutes into the game, and they don’t have the quality to unlock better defences.
I think Chelsea can enjoy their day out at the coast and maintain their top four assault.
United can edge it at St James’
Manchester United may not be exciting their fans as they hover around mid-table. However, the Red Devils have been hit with injury but still have enough cover to come away from a trip to Newcastle with three points on Sunday afternoon.
The Toon were heavily beaten at Leicester and have only tasted success once with a surprise win at Tottenham. Manager Steve Bruce has been tinkering with his formation but is yet to find a winning formula and things may have to get worse before improvement is shown. Already involved in a relegation battle, preserving their top-flight status is surely the number one priority again in the North East.
United will create chances and a little more clinical finishing can see three points heading back to the North West.
City to slay Wolves at home
Neighbours Manchester City remain favourites for the title and with an astonishing twenty seven goals in just seven outings are likely to finish the highest scorers in the Premier League again.
Defensive frailties cost the champions in a 3-2 defeat at Norwich whilst Spurs also bagged twice during a 2-2 draw in Manchester. They have however kept clean sheets in their last three games at the Etihad in all competitions and visitors Wolves are finding it hard to match last season’s exploits.
Wanderers are in the bottom half and yet to win away. Like many clubs before them, balancing a Europa League run alongside a PL campaign is often difficult and Wolves are still in the League cup, so resources are been stretched on the playing side. They began their season in late July and have already played sixteen fixtures ahead of the short hop up the M6 to Manchester.
It’s unlikely to be a happy one and the Black and Golds will be mindful of avoiding another scoreline similar to Watford who were dispatched 8-0 recently by the rampant Citizens. I fully expect City to improve their goal difference as they chase down Liverpool in a fascinating battle between the giants at the head of the table.
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