Its Premier League Matchday 3 and BetVictor brand ambassador Michael Owen is back to preview every single game and see if he can land more winning tips.
Under 2.5 Goals
Brighton v Manchester United
Brighton were impressive in their 3-0 win away at Newcastle last weekend with a couple of Neal Maupay goals in the first seven minutes setting them on their way to a comfortable victory. Young Tariq Lamptey enhanced his growing reputation with another stand-out performance at right-back and Brighton will be delighted to have got their first three points on the board in just their second game of the new season.
On the other hand, Manchester United were very disappointing in their opening match of the new campaign and looked lethargic and distinctly off the pace in their 3-1 loss to Crystal Palace at Old Trafford.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can point to a lack of rest and preparation time between the end of last season and the start of this but he will be expecting much more from his team and I expect a fully-fired up Manchester United to come away from the South coast with all three points. I’m going with a closely fought 1-0 victory to United.
Everton to win
Crystal Palace v Everton
I certainly wasn’t expecting to be writing about a top of the table clash between these two sides but, after just two games, both managers will be delighted to have collected all the points on offer.
Palace, and particularly Wilfried Zaha, have started the season in impressive form and, whilst I predicted the Eagles to have a very difficult season, they must be given full credit for their two wins in what, on paper, were two tricky matches.
Everton certainly look to be heading in the right direction under the management of Carlo Ancelotti and while he might feel the need to bolster his defensive options, they seem to be full of goal-scoring threat at the top end of the pitch.
The combination of James Rodriguez and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, in their current form, will cause problems for any side and I fully expect the Toffees to extend their winning run with a 2-1 victory at Selhurst Park.
West Brom v Chelsea
With heavy defeats against Leicester and Everton in their opening two games, there’s no respite for newly promoted West Brom.
Chelsea are the visitors to the Hawthorns this weekend and manager Slaven Bilic will be hoping that the signing of ex-Chelsea veteran, Branislav Ivanovic, can help shore up a defence that has already conceded 8 Premier League goals in their first two games.
Frank Lampard will have been disappointed with his team’s lacklustre display against Liverpool on Sunday when they were well beaten in a 2-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge.
It may take some time for him to bed in all his new signings but he will be demanding a much improved performance against the Baggies and I fancy a comfortable 3-0 win for the Blues.
Burnley v Southampton
The final game on Saturday sees Burnley take on Southampton.
Burnley were beaten in their first game of the season last weekend against Leicester City but Sean Dyche was happy with the performance of his team.
He has repeatedly talked about the need for reinforcements and with five first-choice players already unavailable, the Clarets’ task was made even harder when Robbie Brady went off with a rib injury in the first half.
Despite their depleted squad and the fact they ended up on the wrong end of a 4-2 scoreline, Dyche will have been comforted by the fact his side managed more shots on target than their hosts.
Southampton’s start to the new season has been something of a surprise, particularly given their run of seven games unbeaten on their return from lock-down last season.
Danny Ings has continued where he left off last season and is once again the Saints’ only real goal-threat. With the end of the transfer window coming into sight it will be imperative that they fend off interest from other clubs for his services.
Manager Ralph Hasenhuttl will know that his side need to defend much better and despite their difficult start to the season, I think his Southampton team will have just too much for Sean Dyche’s injury ravaged side in this one. I’m going for a closely fought 2-1 victory for the Saints.
Both Teams to Score
Sheffield United v Leeds United
This Yorkshire derby looks like it could be a cracker and one I’m certainly looking forward to watching.
Sheffield United may have lost their opening two fixtures of the new season but have played well in both matches and whilst it was always going to be difficult to emulate last season’s heroics, I’m sure they will soon be back to winning ways and climbing up the table.
Leeds have been gung-ho in the Premier League so far with back to back 4-3 results (losing one and winning the other) and I don’t see Marcelo Bielsa’s side changing their style any time soon.
That said, I fancy the Blades to make life difficult for Leeds on Sunday, although I do see Bielsa’s men coming away with the three points on the back of a narrow 2-1 win.
Newcastle Double Chance
Tottenham Hotspur v Newcastle United
There seems to be a slightly more positive vibe about Tottenham in recent times and the loan signing of Gareth Bale will have really lifted the spirits and hopes of the Spurs fans.
Newcastle have had a topsy-turvy start to the season with a really promising win in their first match followed by a disappointing defeat in their second. This can often happen with new players coming in and adapting to new systems and styles of play but Steve Bruce is old enough and experienced enough to deal with that.
Despite their 5-2 Premier League win against Southampton last time out, I’m still to be convinced by Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham and I’m going for a 1-1 draw in this one.
Manchester City to win and both teams to score
Manchester City v Leicester City
Manchester City got their new campaign off to a winning start against Wolves and once again it looks like Kevin de Bruyne is going to be their main man this season. With Sergio Aguero set to be sidelined for a number of weeks, Pep Guardiola will have been delighted to see Gabriel Jesus on the scoresheet and I fancy that he could be a surprise contender for Golden Boot winner come the end of the season.
Leicester have started the season well but, as manager Brendan Rodgers pointed out after their recent 4-2 win over Burnley, nobody should be getting too carried away with how the Premier League table looks after two games.
Manchester City will be desperate to ensure they don’t allow a big gap to open up between themselves and their title rivals and I see them winning this one with a comfortable 4-1 scoreline.
Raul Jimenez to score anytime
West Ham United v Wolverhampton Wanderers
West Ham were left reeling in mid-week by the news that manager David Moyes as well as players Issa Diop and Josh Cullen had tested positive for Coronavirus. This means that none of the three will be involved in the match against Wolves on Sunday and at this stage it remains to be seen if any other players have been infected.
With the sales of Matt Doherty to Spurs and Diogo Jota to Liverpool, Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo knew he must strengthen his squad if they are to maintain their development as a force in the Premier League. The signing of Nelson Semedo from Barcelona is a big step in the right direction.
Another huge positive for Santo is the continued goal-scoring form of Raul Jimenez and I fancy that he could be the difference between the two sides in this one. 1-0 to the Wanderers for me.
Over 2.5 Goals
Fulham v Aston Villa
Having conceded seven goals in their opening two Premier League fixtures, manager Scott Parker and his team will be in no doubt as to where they need to improve if they are to avoid a season-long battle against relegation. On a positive note, the spirit in the camp looks to be good and the way they came back from 4-1 down against Leeds will have encouraged everyone at the Club.
Villa look to be adjusting to life in the Premier League and with captain Jack Grealish recently signing a new long-term contract as well as one or two additional signings, including Emiliano Martinez, things are looking good for the East Midlands side.
I see a few goals in this one and I’m going for an entertaining 2-2 draw.
Liverpool to win and both teams to score
Liverpool v Arsenal
No question that the biggest game of Premier League Matchday 3 is the mouth-watering clash between Liverpool and Arsenal. There is a real positivity surrounding both clubs at the moment and this could well be the season when Arsenal return to their once customary place in the Champions League.
Liverpool will have their sights set on retaining their Premier League title and with both teams having taken six points out of six this term, I think this is going to be an absolute cracker to round off Matchday 3.
Both teams have shown a vulnerability in defence so far this season and I see that trend continuing on Monday night. Historically, fixtures between these two sides have resulted in goals aplenty and I don’t see that changing this time around.
I’m going for a memorable game, full of attacking threat, and a 3-2 victory for Jurgen Klopp’s men.