After a few surprise results in Week 3, we’re back with another exciting slate of EPL football this weekend. Man United and Southampton will kick us off on Saturday night, with the Red Devils looking to rebound after a shock defeat to Crystal Palace.
Frank Lampard will be looking for his first home win as Chelsea host new boys Sheffield United, while Liverpool put their unbeaten run on the line at Burnley. The round culminates with Arsenal hosting an intriguing North London derby, both sides looking to rebound from poor losses last week. Without further ado, let’s break down all 10 games and identify the best value bets on the board.
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Saturday, August 31, 2019
Southampton vs Manchester United
Venue: St Mary’s | Start: 9:30am AEST
Southampton: The Saints got their first points of the season last week, a much-needed 2-0 road win over Brighton. After a disappointing loss to Burnley to open the campaign, their performances have improved in each of the last two weeks. New signing Moussa Djenepo got his first goal for the club last week, while Nathan Redmond slotted one in stoppage time to seal the deal. They do have a midweek clash against Fulham in the League Cup, although they’ll likely play a backup side. The Saints were decent at home last season, picking up 23 points and earning 14th spot in the form table.
Manchester United: After an optimistic first fortnight, United had a disastrous loss at home to Palace last weekend. They had much better numbers than their opponents, enjoying 72% possession and 22 shots to just 5. However, this was in part due to trailing for most of the game and they struggled to make these chances count, registering just 3 shots on target. New signing Daniel James continues to impress with another goal, despite receiving a yellow card for diving. United have been decent on the road of late, picking up 30 points last season and a decent draw with Wolves in Week 2.
Betting Analysis: Despite a solid win last week, Southampton were playing against 10 men for the majority of the match. United’s fast and fluid attack can cause Southampton’s vulnerable defence some problems here and I think they’re good odds to win at $2. They’re still prone to some errors at the back and in Ings, Redmond, and Co Southampton have the talent to pull a goal back. 2-1 United at $9 looks like even better value, as does United to win by exactly 1 goal at $3.60. To round out the betting options, over 2.5 goals and BTTS look like solid additions in what should be a high-scoring affair.
Sunday, September 1, 2019
Chelsea vs Sheffield United
Venue: Stamford Bridge | Start: 12:00am AEST
Chelsea: Frank Lampard managed his first competitive win as Chelsea manager last week, a nervy 3-2 win at Norwich. Tammy Abraham silenced his critics with a well-earned brace and a cutting edge in the final third. Young Midfielder Mason Mount was equally impressive, scoring for the third straight game. Chelsea dominated the game statistically, putting up 23 shots to 6 and managing 54% possession. Their poor transition defence does keep them open at the back and they’ll need to watch out for the Sheffield United counter attack here.
Sheffield United: The Blades had their first competitive defeat since promotion last week, falling 2-1 at home to Leicester. New signing Olly McBurnie was impressive, scoring his first goal for the club and itching closer to the starting lineup. They haven’t really been outplayed in any of their matches so far, showing that they’ll be decent competition this season. A midweek cup tie against Blackburn could be a factor, although their deep squad means plenty of rotation is likely in store.
Betting Analysis: While it hasn’t been an ideal start, Chelsea have shown that their attack will be something to behold this season. Sheffield United haven’t played a team of their quality so far and I expect them to really struggle here. $1.33 for the straight-up win seems about right, although I think there is strong value on Chelsea -1 at $1.91. 3-1 Chelsea at $11 is my projected scoreline here, primarily due to their vulnerabilities in preventing the counter-attack. Over 2.5 goals looks very likely here and BTTS at near even money provides an addition solid bet for this fill-up.
Leicester vs Bournemouth
Venue: King Power Stadium | Start: 12:00am AEST
Leicester: The Foxes have had a quietly very solid start to the campaign, going undefeated through 3 tricky fixtures. They started the season with consecutive draws against Wolves and Chelsea before getting their first win at Sheffield United last weekend. While the stats suggest it was relatively even, the wonder strike from Harvey Barnes was deserving of winning any match. They’ve seemed to adjust well to Harry Maguire’s departure in defence, conceding just 2 goals so far. On the other end, a front three of Vardy, Maddison, and Perez is enough to challenge any defence.
Bournemouth: Bournemouth had the tough task of facing a motivated Man City side last week and unsurprisingly couldn’t get the job done. Their performance was far from terrible, managing more shots on target than the Citizens and an excellent goal from Harry Wilson. Their defence has looked somewhat vulnerable this season, conceding in every game so far. The Cherries really struggled on the road last season, picking up just 19 points and getting outscored by an average of a goal per game.
Betting Analysis: Both of these sides look like they should be comfortably mid-table this season and I expect a relatively tight affair here. I think both sides are stronger up front and will likely score against potentially vulnerable defences. While I give a slight edge to Leicester, the draw at $4 represents very strong value. For that reason, I’ll take Bournemouth +1 at $2.20, which also covers me if they cause the upset. 1-1 is the most likely scoreline at $8 but I think there is some decent value on hedging the 2-2 scoreline at $14.
West Ham vs Norwich
Venue: London Stadium | Start: 12:00am AEST
West Ham: West Ham have rebounded nicely after an opening day loss to City, picking up a combined 4 points from tough road fixtures at Brighton and Watford. New signing Sebastian Haller got on the scoresheet last week, picking up 2 late goals to ultimately make the difference. Despite two positive results of late, West Ham have been shown up statistically, conceding more shots and possession in both games. XG hasn’t been a fan of theirs this season, instilling them in 17th place based on their games so far. They were strong at home last season, picking up 9 wins and 31 total points.
Norwich: The Canaries fought valiantly against Chelsea last week, ultimately losing an entertaining contest 3-2. Teemu Pukki continues to be a lethal force up front, already registering 5 goals this season. Norwich have shown a real cutting edge going forward, with Fullbacks Max Aarons and Jamal Lewis proving integral down the flanks. They were statistically off the pace against both Liverpool and Chelsea, although they were comfortably better than Newcastle a fortnight ago. This game represents a good litmus test against a decent West Ham side on the road.
Betting Analysis: I think this is sneakily one of the most intriguing fixtures of the round and should produce some exciting attacking football. Both sides have some real quality going forward and can expect to get on the score sheet here. Norwich are slightly more vulnerable in defence, making me think there is solid value on West Ham at $1.91. I particularly like West Ham 2-1 at $9, although the Hammers winning by exactly 1 at $3.75 also has decent value. Both sides should have a number of scoring opportunities here, meaning that BTTS and over 2.5 goals are strong additional bets.
Crystal Palace vs Aston Villa
Venue: Selhurst Park | Start: 12:00am AEST
Crystal Palace: Palace surprised everybody with a 2-1 upset over United last week, bringing them into the top 10. Benching Christian Benteke seemed to prove effective, with replacement Jordan Ayew netting the opening goal. They were largely dominated statistically, although they conceded just 3 shots on target, highlighting a strong defence. Over the past 17 Premier League rounds, only Man City and Liverpool have picked up more points than this plucky Palace side. They tend to be a better road side than home side, only picking up 5 wins and 20 points at home last season.
Aston Villa: Villa also picked up their maiden win of the season, a much-needed 2-0 result at home to Everton. New signing Wesley scored his first goal for the club, while El-Ghazi put the game beyond doubt in stoppage time. Villa weren’t great statistically in this one, having only 35% of the ball and managing just 7 shots. The strength of this side looks to be their strong midfield, with new signing Douglas Luiz combining with Jack Grealish and John McGinn to form a well-rounded trio.
Betting Analysis: On paper, these two sides appear to be very evenly matched. Palace are probably the slightly better side, although their poor home form should be cause for concern. I think there is some decent value on the draw here at $3.40, with the 1-1 scoreline at $6.50 providing even better value. Getting +1 for Aston Villa also has you covered if they pull off the upset. I can see both teams getting on the scoresheet here, but also think that under 2.5 goals is a reasonable hedge that can create a profitable middle.
Newcastle vs Watford
Venue: St James’ Park | Start: 12:00am AEST
Newcastle: Newcastle pulled off the surprise of the early season last week, managing a shock 1-0 victory away at Tottenham. New signing Joelinton has now scored in consecutive weeks, scoring the deciding goal in the 27th minute. Despite allowing Spurs 81% of the ball, their resolute defence meant that Spurs managed just two shots on target all game. Newcastle were solid but unspectacular at home last season, managing 25 total points and 13th spot on the form table.
Watford: It has been a surprisingly poor start to the campaign for the Hornets, who find themselves in 20th position after the first 3 rounds. They had an atrocious 3-0 defeat to Brighton at home in Week 1, losing 1-0 to Everton in Week 2, before allowing another 3 goals to West Ham last week. The defence has come under particular fire, allowing 10 shots on target and plenty of chances to West Ham. Their strength is still very much in the attacking third, with new signing Danny Welbeck potentially partnering Andre Gray up front. Watford were decent on the road last season, managing 23 points and 9th spot in the form table.
Betting Analysis: Despite an excellent result last week, I can’t see those same tactics working for Newcastle against Watford. The Hornets have been very poor so far, although most of their mistakes are correctible and they’ve got bags of talent up front. I like them to get their first win of the season here at $2.88, with 2-1 at $11 looking like decent value in the correct score market. Both sides are somewhat vulnerable at the back here, meaning over 2.5 goals at $2.05 and BTTS at $1.85 are excellent complementary fill-ups.
Manchester City vs Brighton
Venue: Etihad Stadium | Start: 12:00am AEST
Man City: City got back to winning ways last week with a routine 3-1 win away at Bournemouth. They controlled the game from start to finish, enjoying 74% possession and 19 shots for the game. Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero have both scored in every game this season, combining for a very impressive 9 goals. They’ve been very strong against Brighton in this latest stint, comfortably winning all 4 games. City were excellent at home last season, winning 18 of19 games and finishing atop the form table.
Brighton: Brighton had been sitting pretty after the first two games, although they have to see last week’s loss to Southampton as a missed opportunity. They looked to have the better of the play early on before a red card to Florian Andone after 30 minutes changed the game. They still find themselves 8th in the table, largely due to an impressive win over Watford in Week 1 and solid draw to West Ham in Week 2. Brighton struggled immensely on the road last season, picking up just 3 wins and 13 total points on their travels.
Betting Analysis: This looks to be one of the bigger EPL mismatches on paper, evidenced by City’s $1.08 price here. I don’t anticipate any real troubles for the Citizens here and expect them to go into the international break on a high. Man City to win to nil at $1.57 is decent value, as is a projected 4-0 scoreline at $8. The City defence has looked rock solid so far and I can’t see Brighton getting on the scoresheet. While this means that ‘no’ in the BTTS market is a solid option, City’s strong attack should take this one over 2.5 goals themselves.
Burnley vs Liverpool
Venue: Turf Moor | Start: 2:30am AEST
Burnley: The Clarets have had a decent start to the campaign, managing 4 points and 6th spot in the league after 3 tricky fixtures. They fought valiantly at Wolves last week, leading almost the whole way through until a 97th minute penalty. They made a decent show of it statistically and even pushed Arsenal the whole way a week prior. Although they’ve generally been very good at home under Sean Dyche, they only managed 23 points and 15th in the form table at Turf Moor last season.
Liverpool: Liverpool now find themselves alone atop the Premier League as the only side to win all 3 games this season. Their 3-1 win over Arsenal last week was their best performance of the season, after a relatively nervy win at Southampton in Week 2. Their elite front 3 has continued where they left off, helping the side register 25 shots last week and another 2 goals for Mo Salah. Liverpool were excellent on the road last season, trailing only Man City en route to 13 wins and 44 points. Without a midweek cup game, all resources can be put into this one to ensure maximum points are taken before the international break.
Betting Analysis: While I expect Liverpool to claim a win here, I expect it to be relatively close like the Southampton game. Burnley aren’t distracted by European football this season and should have a better and more consistent campaign. $1.33 for a Liverpool win isn’t great value, although I do like the 2-1 correct scoreline at $8.50. Getting near even money for Burnley +2 is also effective as a hedge and middle, in case Liverpool win by exactly 1. I can see both sets of attackers getting their chances here, meaning that BTTS and over 2.5 goals are solid value plays.
Everton vs Wolves
Venue: Goodison Park | Start: 11:00am AEST
Everton: The Toffees have had a reasonable start to the campaign, compiling 4 points from their opening 3 games. A poor loss at Aston Villa last week did set them back, now leaving them 12th in the table. Their attack has been a surprise weak point so far, managing just 1 goal all season. They’ve got a high-profile cup match against Newport on Thursday, although this shouldn’t affect preparations too much. Everton were generally very good at home last season, picking up 10 wins and 34 total points.
Wolves: Although they’ve managed an undefeated start to the season, Wolves find themselves in 15th place after 3 draws. They were rescued late on by Raul Jimenez, who scored a 97th minute penalty to salvage a point against Burnley. XG suggested they were slightly the better side, managing 17 shots to 13 and 66% of the ball. The Europa League has really negatively impacted their preparations so far, with another tough fixture against Torino on Friday. Wolves were a top-half road side last year, managing a respectable 6 wins and 23 points.
Betting Analysis: Unfortunately for Wolves, I see their winless start to the campaign continuing with a relatively difficult fixture here. While they haven’t gotten going so far, I think Everton has a strong strike force that can cause some problems in this one. Especially with a strong rest advantage, I like Everton at very healthy odds of $2.10. 2-1 is my projected scoreline at $9.50, meaning there is also decent value on Everton by exactly 1 goal at $3.75. Given Wolves’ ability going forward, I also like BTTS and over 2.5 goals to round this match out.
Monday, September 2, 2019
Arsenal vs Tottenham
Venue: Emirates Stadium | Start: 1:30am AEST
Arsenal: The Gunners had their first slip-up of the season last week, a 3-1 defeat at Liverpool that leaves them in 3rd position. They showed they were very vulnerable at the back, allowing 25 shots and struggling against Liverpool’s lethal front three. XG suggests that they’re the luckiest team in the Premier League this season and should expect to only have 3.57 points at this stage. Even in a down season last year, Arsenal still put up a very respectable 14 wins and 45 points in home league games.
Tottenham: Spurs had a shocking clunker last week, losing 1-0 at home to lowly Newcastle. This backed up a demolition at the hands of Man City, who had 30 shots to 3 in a lucky draw for Spurs. While Spurs enjoyed an XG of 1.26-0.51, they really didn’t make much use of their 81% possession, managing just 2 shots on target. They’ve been historically strong as a road side under Pochettino, managing 11 road league wins last season. Currently 7th in the table, they’ll want to set things right before the international break.
Betting Analysis: Although Spurs have had the edge over Arsenal in recent years, they’ve really struggled to start 2019. Overall, I think these are two relatively even sides that should find themselves somewhere between 3-6 this season. This match has all the makings of a draw at solid $3.50 odds, with a 1-1 scoreline at $7.50 looking particularly attractive. I’ll also take Spurs at the +1 handicap, just in case they pull off the ‘upset’. I don’t think we’ll see a huge scoring outburst here, but I do like the potential middle involved with backing BTTS and under 2.5 goals.