Chelsea v Liverpool

Saturday September 17 13, 5:00am AEST

Friday Night Football sees what must surely be the two best sides not competing in Europe this season face off. Chelseasaw their 100% record ruined by Swansea, but they maintained their unbeaten status thanks to a late Diego Costaequaliser.

Meanwhile, Liverpool marked their return to Anfield with an emphatic 4-1 win over the Champions and the Reds have certainly been the side to watch so far this season as their games have seen more goals than anyone else.

All four of Chelsea’s games under Antonio Conte have seen more than two goals as they’ve scored at least twice in each but only kept a clean sheet at home to Burnley. What’s more, this is a fixture that tends to produce goals, with both teams netting in nine of their 10 meetings since 2011/12. Both sides have three wins each in this time, but interestingly four of the six wins went to an away team.

Whilst this is Chelsea’s first ‘big’ game under Conte, Liverpool already have a fairly impressive record when travelling to the top teams under Klopp as they won at the Etihad and Stamford Bridge last term and also drew at Spurs, while they beat Arsenal on the opening day of this season as Leicester are the only top-four team to have beaten them. With that in mind, Chelsea look worth taking on at 2.34 and since both teams netted in three of these five games under Klopp with three seeing more than three goals, we’re also going to back Over 2.5 Goals.

Liverpool have scored more goals this year than any other Premier League side and with Conte perhaps not yet getting the Chelsea defensive unit up to standard (not helped by the fact that John Terry has been ruled out of this clash) there could be more joy for Firmino, Coutinho and Mane. But with Liverpool defence far from secure, the in-form Costa and Hazard could make hay at the other end.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Over 2.5 Goals at 1.81

West Brom v West Ham

Sunday September 18, 12:00am AEST

The Baggies have picked up four points so far but have managed only two goals, with three of their matches seeing fewer than two goals as they rarely blow teams away but continue to be a well-organised side under Tony Pulis. The same can certainly not be said of West Ham, who have conceded nine goals already and have now conceded at least twice in six of their last seven going back to the end of last season.

West Brom have scored just two goals in their last six at home, losing four of these games, including a 3-0 defeat to the Hammers themselves in their penultimate game at the Hawthorns last term. Their record when hosting sides between 7thand 12th under Pulis is a decent W4-D2-L3 as they netted in eight of the games, but haven’t kept a clean in any since the start of last season.

Indeed, since the Hammers have netted in their last 17 but have kept just two clean sheets in their last 14, with Adrian looking very shaky against Watford, both teams to score looks a solid bet here. The Hammers have only won three of their last 16 away games and since West Brom have a decent home record against relevant opposition type, the Baggies may look a tempting price at 2.7 but the fact that they’ve been poor at home recently whilst the Hammers won four of their trips to sides between 11th and 16th last term puts us off, so we’ll stick with both teams to net.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Both Teams to Score at 1.99

Everton v Middlesbrough

Sunday September 18, 12:00am AEST

Having won just two of their final 11 games last term, Everton have had an excellent start to life under Ronald Koeman as they’ve managed 10 points from their four games and sit in 3rd at this early stage of the season. Middlesbrough have also impressed under Aitor Karanka having only lost once, but this will certainly be their toughest test so far after they’ve had some lenient fixtures against early strugglers Stoke and Sunderland.

Everton were poor at Goodison Park last term under Roberto Martinez as they lost eight times there, with their problems largely at the back as they averaged 1.8 goals per game but could only keep three clean sheets. However, they’ve only conceded two goals this term and the Toffees have an excellent W9-D2-L1 record when hosting promoted teams since 2012/13, while Koeman also won all six of his home games against promoted sides at Southampton, conceding just one goal.

Middlesbrough had a W10-D6-L7 record on the road in the Championship last term but could only register seven clean sheets and the fact that they’ve only stopped notoriously low-scorers West Brom from netting so far this term suggests their defence can be got at. With Romelu Lukaku returning to form with a bang against Sunderland, we think Everton will continue their excellent start to the season here and are backing them to win this one well.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Everton -1 Asian Handicap at 2.35

Hull v Arsenal

Sunday September 18, 12:00am AEST

Hull were favourites to go down ahead of the season but they’ve certainly exceeded expectations so far as they’ve picked up seven points from their four games and their only defeat came as a result of a 92nd minute Rashford winner.

After picking up just a point against Liverpool and Leicester, Arsenal have won their last two, but were somewhat fortunate to do so against Southampton as they were awarded a rather dubious stoppage-time penalty. They were also lucky that Edison Cavani was playing up front for PSG in midweek and not Ibrahimovic as they somehow managed to pick up a point after being dominated for large periods.

Hull had a W15-D7-L1 record at the KC Stadium last term and they look to have taken that form into the Premier League with a win over the Champions in their opener and that narrow defeat against United in their last home game. When they were last in the Premier League in 2014/15, the Tigers struggled when hosting top-four sides as they conceded at least three times against Arsenal, Chelsea and City.

Arsenal have lost only four times on the road since the start of last season but they’ve won just three of their last 12 away, with seven draws in that time. However, their record when travelling to promoted teams is an excellent W9-D3-L0 since 2012/13 as they’ve kept clean sheets in six of the last nine of these games.

With a number of their star players being rested at the start of the season after their exertions at the Euros and their signings coming late on in the window, we expect Arsenal to improve significantly now after a stuttering start to the season and so we’re backing them to keep a fourth clean sheet in their last seven road games and win this one without conceding.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Arsenal to win to Nil at 2.62

Leicester v Burnley

Sunday Septemebr 18, 12:00am AEST

The Champions have endured a tough start to their title defence, picking up just four points from their four games and suffering a 4-1 defeat at Anfield last time out; though they’ll be buoyed by their Champions League win over Brugge. Burnley have also picked up four points, but three of their games have been at Turf Moor and they suffered a heavy 3-0 defeat in their only road game, at Stamford Bridge.

Leicester’s record at the King Power is W13-D7-L1 since the start of last season and they’ve now kept nine clean sheets in their last 13 in front of their own fans. When hosting bottom-six teams they were W5-D1-L0 last term with clean sheets in the last four of these games and three 1-0 wins. This ties in with Leicester’s transition from being an open side early on in the season to being well-organised defensively and tough to break down as the season went on.

Having won only five of their first 16 on the road in the Championship last term, Burnley went on to win six of their last seven, though four of these were against bottom-six sides and they were winless in their trips to fellow top-six sides, suggesting they could struggle on the road in the top division. That was certainly the case in 2014/15 when they lost 11 of their away games while netting just 14 goals.

Indeed, they failed to score in four of their six trips to sides that finished between 5th and 10th, which is where the Foxes look likely to end up, and with Mendy likely to come back into the team, Ranieri’s men should look much more secure defensively and as a result we’re backing them to win this without conceding.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Leicester to Win to Nil 2.80

Man City v Bournemouth

Sunday September 18, 12:00am AEST

With their victory in the Manchester Derby and Chelsea’s slip up at Swansea, City are now into 1.9 to win the title as they look to continue their 100% record under Pep Guardiola here against a Bournemouth side that picked up their first win of the season with a 1-0 victory over West Brom at home last weekend.

City have won but conceded in both their home games so far, meaning they’ve only managed two clean sheets in their last nine at the Etihad as they continue to feel the effect of Vincent Kompany’s absence. The Citizens have won 29 of 31 unbeaten home games against bottom-six sides since 2011/12 (including their win over Sunderland in their opening game of this season), but have managed just four clean sheets in the 13 of these matches since 2014/15. However, since they’ve scored an average of 3.6 goals in these games, they haven’t had to be too concerned defensively.

Bournemouth have lost 10 of their 21 road games since the start of last season and they had a particularly tough time when travelling to top-six sides as they lost five of these games whilst scoring just two goals, one of which came in a 5-1 thumping at the Etihad and they also trailed at the break in all five of these defeats. As a result, City/City HT/FT looks a standout in this one but the fact that Bournemouth haven’t looked the best going forward so far this term, only netting three times, puts us off backing the home win and both teams to score.

Betting Strategy

BACK – City/City HT/FT at 1.84

Watford v Man Utd

Sunday September 18, 9:00pm AEST

Both these sides started poorly last weekend with Watford trailing 2-0 at West Ham while United also went 2-0 down at home to City and could only get one goal back. In contrast Watford mounted a remarkable comeback to win 4-2 at the London Stadium and after a tricky set of fixtures against Southampton, Chelsea, Arsenal and the Hammers, Walter Mazzarri will no doubt be happy with four points and will also regard a point as a good result against United.

Watford’s home record is W6-D6-L9 since the start of last season but they’ve managed just one win in their last nine at home and conceded at least twice in five of their last six. They lost all five of their home matches against top-five sides and we can include their defeats this term against Arsenal and Chelsea within those results, but they did manage to find the net in five of these games and also drew the first half in five as Arsenal are the only side to have beaten them by more than one goal.

Indeed, United have generally taken a while to get going in their games under Mourinho and that was particularly evident in the derby, as they’re yet to score within the first 35 minutes. That trend continued in the Europa League as they were beaten 1-0 by Feyenoord, albeit with a slightly weakened side. The Red Devils have been level at the break in 12 of their league road games since the start of last season and have been level at the break in seven of their 12 trips to sides between 11th and 16th since 2014/15 as they only managed to win three of these games. With that in mind the half-time draw is our standout selection in this one as we expect Watford to make United work hard to beat them, as Hull did.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Half Time Draw at 2.3

Crystal Palace v Stoke

Sunday September 18, 11:15pm AEST

Palace picked up only their third win of 2016 at Middlesbrough after they had an excellent end to the transfer window with Benteke joining and Zaha opting to stay at the club. Both found the net against Boro and will hope for more of the same here against a Stoke side that have picked up only one point so far and have now lost seven of their last 10 going back to last season.

Palace in fact have a marginally better record on the road than they do at home since the start of last term as they’ve lost 11 of their 21 home games in that time, with a lack of goals the problem as they’ve netted just 20 times and five of those came in one hit against Newcastle. However, with the new additions and an in-form Zaha, this looks like a much better side going forward now.

Jack Butland’s absence has certainly hindered Stoke as they’ve lost seven of the 11 games he’s missed since last season whilst conceding an average of 2.6 goals per game, compared with only 11 defeats in the 31 games he started last term and a concession of only 1.2 goals per game.

However, they’ve also had problems going forward as they’ve managed a league low seven shots on target from their four games and they’re yet to score from open play as their goals have come via a Bojan penalty and a Shaqiri free kick. The Potters have lost seven of their last 11 on the road and as a result we’re going to back Palace to make it back-to-back wins for the first time since December 2015 and pile on the misery for Mark Hughes.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Palace to Win at 2.04

Southampton v Swansea

Sunday September 18, 11:15pm AEST

Southampton are still searching for their first win of the season but will regard themselves as very unlucky not to have picked up at least a point at the Emirates in their last game after the Gunners were awarded a dubious stoppage time penalty, but they’ll take heart from their comfortable win over Sparta Prague in the Europa League. Swansea, conversely, were perhaps fortunate to pick up a point at home to Chelsea after the Blues were denied a seemingly clear penalty, though the Swans did come from behind to lead 2-1.

Southampton have had a pair of 1-1 draws at home so far this season meaning they’ve lost only one of their last 12 at St. Mary’s, with eight wins in that time as they’ve netted in all of these games but are without a clean sheet in the last eight. However, their record when hosting sides between 11th and 15th is W7-D2-L1 since 2014/15 as they kept seven clean sheets in these games and led at the break in six, with all seven of their wins by more than one goal as they’ve been dominant in these fixtures.

While Swansea have been very much an ‘unders’ side at home under Francesco Guidolin their road games have tended to see more goals, with both teams netting in eight of the 11 and nine seeing more than two goals. Since Southampton are yet to keep a clean sheet this season, we think that trend might continue here and are backing both teams to find the net. Southampton may look a big price at 1.76 given their record when hosting similar sides to Swansea, but we’re yet to be convinced that this Saints team is as strong as those under Koeman, so we’ll stick with the goals markets for this one.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Both Teams to Score Yes at 1.98

Tottenham v Sunderland

Monday September 19, 1:30am AEST

Spurs put in their first convincing display of the season in winning 4-0 at Stoke but they were undone by a professional Monaco performance at Wembley on Wednesday night. Back at White Hart Lane, their fans will be hoping for a better showing against David Moyes’s Sunderland, who have picked up just a single point so far and were well beaten 3-0 at home to Everton last time out. The former Man United manager has already been backed into third favourite in the sack race and really has endured a torrid time since he left Everton.

Spurs’ record at White Hart Lane is W11-D7-L3 since the start of last season as they’ve been excellent defensively at home, keeping nine clean sheets. When hosting bottom-six teams they’re W9-D0-L3 under Pochettino but they’ve only kept five cleans sheets in these games and yet the last four of these wins were all by more than one goal.

Sunderland have only won three of their 21 road games since the start of last season, conceding 45 goals with only two clean sheets. Their record when travelling to top-six teams is W0-D3-L9 since 2014/15, but they were level at the break in nine of these games and managed to score in six of the last seven. Indeed, since six of Spurs’ seven goals this season have come in the second half, while Sunderland have managed to net in three of their four games, we’re going to back Draw/Spurs HT/FT and also Spurs to win and both teams to score.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Draw/Spurs HT/FT at 4.5

BACK – Spurs to Win and Both Teams to Score at 3.3

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