Leading football website TEAMtalk previews week three of the Premier League with a focus on Betsafe’s massive Price Boost West Ham, Arsenal And Liverpool All To Win At 9/2!
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West Ham v Watford
Two sides who have made slow starts to the season are set to face off against each other at London Stadium this weekend, where last season’s surprise-package West Ham will attempt to click their season into gear against the Hornets.
Slaven Bilic’s men have endured a tough opening to the campaign, winning just one of their five games since the Premier League kicked off and failing to score more than once in any of them. That run has also seen them dumped out of the Europa League against Romanian minnows AFC Astra.
However, West Ham’s two Premier League defeats have come away from home against Manchester City and Chelsea, so their shortage of both wins and goals is probably not a true reflection of what we can expect from the Hammers this season.
And you sense that West Ham will certainly be expecting to beat a Watford side who have started poorly following a second successive summer of root-and-branch change at the club.
New boss Walter Mazzarri is still awaiting his first win in English football, with even League One Gillingham coming away from Vicarage Road with a victory in recent weeks.
Watford may welcome heading onto the road after three successive home defeats, but their away form probably shouldn’t justify any relish. They lost over half of their away games in the Premier League last season, a total worsened only by the three teams who were relegated and, although they won an impressive six on their travels, just two have been in this calendar year.
With star man Dimitri Payet back in the West Ham fold following his European Championships exertions, it’s very difficult to back anyone but the Hammers in this one.
Arsenal v Southampton
Arsenal got their first win last time out at Watford and achieved it in quite some style, suggesting reports of the Gunners’ imminent implosion have been, as usual, grossly exaggerated.
Arsene Wenger has his injury worries, but the 3-1 win at Vicarage Road was authoritative and they’ll surely fancy their chances back at the Emirates despite their opening day defeat there to Liverpool.
Southampton, meanwhile, appear vulnerable for the first time since their return to the Premier League. They are no strangers to summer departures, but the exit of boss Ronald Koeman to Everton looks to have just destabilised the south coast club for now.
In addition, the close-season sales of Sadio Mane and Graziano Pelle seems to have hit Southampton in the goals column too, with them managing to disturb the net just twice so far this season – and even one of those came courtesy of a goalkeeper error last time out against Sunderland.
History in this fixture is not on the Saints side, either. Although they have won the last two meetings between the two teams, they have actually failed to win at Arsenal at all in the Premier League era other than a 2-1 League Cup success in September 2014.
There is very little to make a case for backing Southampton to upset both the form and the history books in this one, and Arsenal must be considered strong favourites.
Liverpool v Leicester City
Saturday’s evening game carries plenty of intrigue as Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool entertain champions Leicester City, with both sides still striving for consistency in the early weeks of the campaign.
There is an added element to the contest as it will be the first time Liverpool will play in front of the newly renovated and extended Anfield. That means we have no home form at all upon which to base a prediction, but it’s safe to assume that the Reds will always be a force to be reckoned with at Anfield.
Leicester got their first win of their title defence last week – a narrow 2-1 success at home to Swansea City. Stripped of the authoritative presence of N’Golo Kante from their midfield, it hasn’t been the most convincing of starts for the Foxes.
Although Leicester boasted the best away record in the Premier League last season, losing just twice away from the King Power Stadium, one of those was a Boxing Day defeat to Liverpool at Anfield, courtesy of a second-half Christian Benteke winner. In fact, it’s a ground that hasn’t seen a Leicester win since the turn of the century.
Ultimately, we are talking about two quite unpredictable teams right now, but being backed by an increased Anfield capacity crowd for the first time this season must surely give Liverpool a real edge here that may be just enough to shade what looks like being a tight contest.
Best Of The Rest
Manchester United battling it out with Manchester City is always going to a fixture that dominates any weekend of football, but when there is the added spice of Jose Mourinho’s ruthless pragmatism meeting Pep Guardiola’s metronomic flare, you can’t help but eagerly anticipate it.
In terms of the head-to-head between the two managers, Guardiola’s five wins from 11 compared to Mourinho’s two make for conclusive reading in favour of the Spaniard.
The last time they met, though, Mourinho’s Real Madrid recorded a 2-1 win over Guardiola’s Barcalona, and if you fancy a repeat you can enjoy odds of 17/2 with Betsafe for a Manchester United win.
Sergio Aguero’s absence for City is sure to be felt, but if they can overcome it and continue to create the number of chances they have so far under Guardiola, the 6/1 on offer for City to score over 2.5 goals at Old Trafford should offer terrific value.
The Monday night football sees ex Everton boss David Moyes welcome his former club to Sunderland, where he is still awaiting his first win in charge.
The Toffees have made a fine start to the season themselves, taking seven points from their three games so far, so Moyes is unlikely to be expecting any favours.
Sunderland can be backed at 27/10 to claim any kind of a win but to do so they look unlikely to blow anyone away in terms of goals.
They have scored in every game so far this season but never more than once, so if they are to win you suspect they will need a clean sheet as well. Therefore, a Sunderland win to nil at 24/5 may represent the better bet if you fancy there to be an upset at the Stadium of Light.
About Michael Graham
Michael Graham is a contributor for TEAMtalk.com, one of the UK’s leading websites for football news, views, transfer rumours and features.