Championship Play-Off Final: Michael Owen’s View
Despite all of them being in European action mid-week I believe it will be a good weekend for the “big six” in the Premier League.
The hosts have conceded at least twice in all five PL games so far this season, but I feel they will pick up a point against a Watford side whose second half comeback against Manchester United on Sunday could, on another day, have brought them an unlikely point.
Watford have lost their last eight PL games in the capital, but they showed their mettle against United last weekend and no side has scored more goals (8) in the second half so far this term than the Hornets.
Game to finish in a draw at 5/2
United have won their last six league games against Wolves at Old Trafford and I feel they will maintain that good record at the weekend although the Molineux outfit have quickly come to terms with the Premier League and should, arguably, be unbeaten so far this season.
Jose Mourinho has never lost back-to-back home league games in his managerial career but, after three successive away wins, I expect his side to exorcise the demons of that defeat at the hands of Spurs last month.
Wolves have taken a point against champions City and kept clean sheets in their own back-to-back wins in their last couple of games. This promises to be the game of the weekend and one I feel United will edge.
United to win and both teams to score at 12/5
Since the start of the 2016-17 season fouls on Wilfried Zaha have resulted in 41 yellow cards – more than any other player in the PL – and you could see and feel his frustration coming through the television when he spoke after last weekend’s Huddersfield game.
The Ivorian has scored three of the Eagles’ four PL goals so far this term and Roy Hodgson needs goals from other avenues. The stats suggest if you stop Zaha you stop Palace. The former Manchester United wide-man cum striker missed the home game with Southampton this season – the result a 2-0 loss.
Newcastle have played four of the “big six” clubs already this season and lost each game narrowly 2-1. I feel the time to assess United and their season-long prospects and expectations will not be for at least another month and I feel they can take a hard-earned point at Selhurst Park in a low-scoring contest.
Game to finish in a draw at 23/10
You can’t afford to leave early if you are a Leicester supporter with half of their eight PL goals scored so far this season in the 88th minute or later.
— Leicester City (@LCFC) September 20, 2018
That said I think they will have too much for the Terriers at the King Power Stadium given Town have won just one of their last 15 PL games and have not scored more than once in that time.
Leicester halftime/fulltime at 31/20
Cardiff are without a win in their last nine PL games and I expect Pep Guardiola’s side to heap further misery on Neil Warnock’s side with the champions likely to be wounded after their shock home Champions League defeat to Lyon midweek.
City – 2 at 11/10
It was a pleasure to be at Anfield midweek where Liverpool were good value for their 3-2 win over PSG in the Champions League. The Reds are unbeaten in their last 23 home PL games and I will be surprised if Southampton can stop the Red juggernaut.
Jurgen Klopp may shuffle his pack against the Saints and I expect to see Naby Keita restored to the starting XI. I feel the Reds midfielder has goals in his locker and may break his Liverpool duck if given the nod.
Keita to score at anytime at 5/2
Burnley have never lost five games in a row in the Premier League and will be desperate to arrest their current run of poor results. Better teams than the Clarets will lose at Molineux this season, but it was the manner of their defeat which was so alarming last weekend.
The Cherries have, however, only kept one clean sheet in their last 14 PL games on the road and I think Sean Dyche’s side will get a positive result – although they may have to settle for a point.
Game to finish in a draw at 23/10
You have to go back to April 1983 for the last time Brighton beat Spurs and I expect a much-improved performance from Spurs than the one who played so poorly at Wembley last weekend.
🗣️"I think there's a lot of hype around the EPL. There are players in the Championship that can play at this level comfortably but sometimes never get the opportunity and are overlooked."
– Glenn Murray. pic.twitter.com/nIm1cgZFQ7
— BetVictor (@BetVictor) August 21, 2018
Mauricio Pochettino’s side conceded two late goals in the San Siro in the Champions League midweek. They must roll their sleeves up and show their mettle and quality at the Amex, but it won’t be easy against a side who have come from two goals down to take a point in their last two games.
Both teams to score at 4/6
I watched West Ham’s win at Goodison at the weekend and thought it was an excellent result for the Hammers although it is fair to say that on the day Everton were there for the taking.
West Ham have lost more PL London derbies than any other club and I feel Maurizio Sarri will become just the third PL manager to win his first six games in the competition after Carlo Ancelotti and Pep Guardiola. That said I expect the hosts to give them a real game in what should be a cracking derby.
Chelsea to win and both teams to score at 9/5
This is a fixture that invariably produces goals and Everton’s two away games so far this season have finished 2-2. I think Blues boss Marco Silva would take a point now although the Gunners have not drawn any of their last 21 PL games (W11 L10).
This current Arsenal side, as good as they are on the eye, will always give you a chance and I expect Everton to find the back of the net at the Emirates, but Bruce Rioch was in charge of the Gunners (January 1996) the last time they lost at home to Everton.
Unai Emery will need time to mould an Arsenal side that could challenge for the title, but I do expect the Gunners to win another game that promises plenty of opportunities and goals.
Arsenal to win and both teams to score at 13/8
My weekend wager:
Leicester, Chelsea and Arsenal at 3/1