By Elliot BusbyFollow @JfGpodcasts
Another week of Premier League action is upon us, and it’s bound to be a cracker. This Sunday is set up to be a ridiculously exciting day of football, with the Merseyside derby at lunch time, followed by a helping of title chasing Chelsea v Man United. On top of that, Saturday dishes up a tasty clash between Manchester City and Swansea at the Etihad. So if you fancy putting a few bob on a result or two, take a look at my predictions for the correct scores below:
Manchester City 3 v 1 Swansea – Saturday; 17:30
City have only failed to win 2 of their last 28 home league games, and they’ll extent this run on Saturday when they host Swansea. The may have experienced a bit of a rough ride against West Brom last weekend, having to rely on super-sub Edin Dzeko’s two late goals to snatch the three points. Despite his recent efforts and the fact that he leads City’s goal scoring charts, Dzeko is unlikely to start, with Tevez and Aguero the more favoured choices to lead the line. As for the Swans, they may have returned to winning ways with victory over Wigan last weekend, but their poor away form and their leaky defence will come back to haunt them as they hit the road again. Michael Laudrup will be without Neil Taylor and Kyle Bartley who’ll both miss out match through injury. James Milner starts serving his three match ban after his red card against West Brom, whereas Jack Rodwell and Javi Garcia miss out through injury. David Silva is nursing a hamstring problem, but Mancini will be doing everything he can to ensure the influential midfielder can play some role. After a stuttering start, City’s league form has picked up and they will continue to impress this weekend.
Best odds: 10/1 @ Bet Victor
Everton 2 v 2 Liverpool – Sunday; 13:30
There can be no doubt as to which of the Merseyside Massive are in better form. David Moyes’ Everton have hit the ground running in the early stages of the season, losing only one of the first nine games. On the contrary, Liverpool have only managed two wins from their nine, and despite enjoying the third highest possession average in the league (58%), they’ve been struggling for goals. Brendan Rodgers’ men have only mustered 10 goals from eight matches, half of which were scored against a defensively woeful Norwich a month ago, as a result it’s no surprise they’re languishing down in 12th place. Luis Suarez is their only proven attacking threat, and their reliance on him to provide for the team has been all too evident. Brendan Rodgers will definitely be without Fabio Borini and Martin Kelly, but Jose Reina could be in contention again after being rested in mid-week. Everton, currently occupying the 4th Champions League spot, will welcome Marouane Fellaini and Darron Gibson back from injury, and both could prove invaluable in the absence of the suspended Steven Pienaar. Tony Hibbert could also make his return from injury to strengthen the Toffee’s backline. The two may be far apart in the table, but form rarely plays a part in games of this magnitude and consequently neither side will have bragging rights come the full time whistle.
Best odds: 14/1 @ various including Betfred
Newcastle United 2 v 1 West Bromwich Albion – Sunday; 15:00
Judging by recent stats, this one should provide a bunch of goals. Both teams have scored at least once in their last nine, over which time the goals per game average sits at a staggering 4.3. Both sides have had differing fortunes though. West Brom, under the guidance of new boss Steve Clarke, have had an impressive start to their campaign, sitting on 14 points alongside Spurs and West Ham. Their form away from the Hawthorns has left a lot to be desired though, as they haven’t won any of their three matches on the road. Travelling to St James’ Park is a daunting task for any team, and despite Newcastle’s up and down start to the season, they should notch up their third home win from five on Sunday. Cheick Tiote is United’s only new absentee following his red card against Sunderland last weekend. Despite the return to fitness of Steven Taylor, Alan Pardew will likely opt to keep Mike Wilkinson in the starting line-up following his recent good form. As for the visitors, Clarke should have Billy Jones, Chris Brunt and Steven Reid back for selection. Up front, Shane Long should keep his starting berth ahead of bruising Belgian Romelu Lukaka. Goals at both ends here, but – on paper at least – it looks like a home win.
Best odds: 8/1 @ various including Totesport
Chelsea 3 v 2 Manchester United – Sunday; 16:00
Chelsea are still unbeaten in the league this season, and that won’t change on Sunday evening. Man United will travel to Stamford Bridge looking to derail the Chelsea train – a train seemingly destined to arrive at Champions Station in May. Going forward, United have been imperious, leading the league’s goal charts and clearly reaping the benefits of signing Robin van Persie in the summer. On top of the Dutchman’s goals, the recently beleaguered Wayne Rooney is finding form again. But it is defence that they have struggled. United have conceded almost double the amount their Blue counterparts have, with stability clearly an issue. Injured pair Phil Jones and Chris Smalling will not be ready for first team action for at least another week, whereas a return date for captain Nemanja Vidic is still unknown. Up front, there’s a selection headache for Ferguson after Javier Hernandez netted twice in mid-week. For the home side though, there are no fresh injury concerns. Frank Lampard could make a return after a calf problem, but Di Matteo will most likely stick with the front four that has served him so well this season already. Juan Mata, Fernando Torres and Eden Hazard are a constant threat and have provided Chelsea with nine goals and ten assists to this point, and they could be the difference between the two sides on Sunday.
Best odds: 33/1 @ Stan James
Saturday (all 15:00 ko unless stated):
Aston Villa 1 v 2 Norwich (12.45 ko) – 14/1 @ Betfred
Arsenal 3 v 0 QPR – 10/1 @ Bet Victor
Reading 1 v 2 Fulham – 10/1 @ Totesport
Stoke 0 v 1 Sunderland – 10/1 @ Bet Victor
Wigan 2 v 1 West Ham – 9/1 @ Stan James
Sunday (15:00 ko):
Southampton 1 v 3 Spurs – 14/1 @ Totesport