Championship Play-Off Final: Michael Owen’s View
After another winning treble last weekend, here are my tips for this week’s Premier League action, including Liverpool’s visit to the Emirates.
Bournemouth begin the weekend sixth in the table and have kept three successive clean sheets in the Premier League. Eddie Howe’s side will look forward to the visit of Manchester United despite the fact that they have only won one of the six PL games played between the clubs.
United had fortune on their side against Everton on Sunday but the bottom line is they are beginning to get results in the PL and the outstanding recent form of Anthony Martial is a big plus. This is a big test for the Cherries, but if there is to be a winner at the Vitality Stadium I feel it will be the hosts.
Bournemouth double chance (draw or win) at 8/11
At the time of writing it is unsure whether the game will go ahead, and it is sure to be a difficult week for all at Leicester City following Saturday evening’s tragedy. If the club and authorities decide the game will go ahead the players must be prepared mentally as well as physically for their visit to south Wales.
I don’t expect to see many goals at the Cardiff City Stadium in a game that is likely to prove difficult for the players and supporters of both clubs.
Under 2.5 goals at 8/11
I am sure Marco Silva would have felt United were there for the taking at Old Trafford on Sunday, but his Everton side fell short in one or two key areas and they are not yet good enough to mount a serious challenge to break into the top six.
Brighton rode their luck at home to Wolves at the weekend – scored with their only shot on target – and only had one shot on target until deep into injury time when winning 1-0 at St James’s Park in their last away game.
I expect to see Everton get back to winning ways and it would not surprise me to see Ademola Lookman get a start for the Blues with Theo Walcott disappointing at Old Trafford at the weekend.
Everton to win at 4/6
Under normal circumstances, a good point for Newcastle at Southampton at the weekend, but another blank in front of goal and United have failed to win any of their opening 10 matches of a league season for just the second time in their history – last doing so 120 years ago, back in the 1898-99 top-flight campaign.
The Magpies have lost their first five PL home games, but I feel they can at least take a point against a Hornets side who have bounced back in recent games after their own poor run. Nineteen points from their first 10 games is Watford’s best-ever start to a PL campaign, but I feel they will have to make do with a draw at St James’s Park.
Game to finish in a draw at 11/5
West Ham have picked up just eight points from their first ten league games, but they have also thrown away eight points from winning positions after their 1-1 draw at Leicester on Saturday – more than any other side.
The Clarets are also on eight points in the table after they were roundly beaten by Chelsea at Turf Moor on Sunday. This promises to be tight and tense, but I feel it will be the hosts who keep the points in the capital.
West Ham to win at 3/4
Arsenal’s long winning run came to an end at Selhurst Park on Sunday and this is their first game against a “big six” club since their losses to Manchester City and Chelsea at the beginning of the season.
The Gunners have not led at halftime in any of their PL games so far this season and they will need to be at the top of their game from the off against a Liverpool side who will try and hit the hosts hard on the break.
A big game for both clubs – Arsenal will move to within a point of the Reds with a win, but the gap will be seven if Jurgen Klopp’s side take the points. A Liverpool win for me.
Liverpool to win and both teams to score at 23/10
Wolves play some lovely football, but they are struggling for goals of late and they need to bounce back having lost back-to-back league games for the first time under Nuno Espirito Santo.
Spurs huffed and puffed but only had the one gilt-edged opportunity against City on Monday night and I think they will lose further ground in the battle for a Champions League spot at Molineux as they may have to settle for a draw.
Game to finish 1-1 at 13/2
Champions City have conceded just three times in their first 10 PL games of the season and they entertain a Southampton side who have failed to score in their last five league games.
I can’t see past another comfortable home win and I would imagine City would want to maintain their proud defensive record.
City to win to nil at 31/40
Maurizio Sarri became the first Chelsea manager to go unbeaten in his first 10 PL games when they thrashed Burnley 4-0 at Turf Moor on Sunday. They can maintain their excellent start to the season at the expense of Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace in this London derby.
The Eagles thoroughly deserved their point against Arsenal on Sunday and could have won at Goodison but for a missed penalty in their last away league game. They are likely to find this Blues side a different proposition however.
Chelsea halftime/fulltime at 31/40
A massive game near the foot of the table and something must give at the John Smith’s Stadium. The hosts have failed to score in their last seven home PL games whilst Fulham are the only side in the division without a clean sheet this term.
The Terriers have hit the woodwork (6) more times than they have scored goals (4) so far this term and they may have to settle for a point against the Cottagers in a game that is sure to be tense.
Game to finish in a draw at 12/5 12/5
Michael’s weekend wager: Everton, Liverpool and Chelsea at 4/1