This weekend in the Premier League gets off to a flying start with a highly anticipated clash between Liverpool and Man United. Optimism isn’t too high at Anfield but as we saw last season, Liverpool so frequently upped their game when facing one of the big sides of English football. Later in the day we see how Watford fare against Arsenal. The last time Marco Silva walked out with his players at Vicarage Road they were demolished 6-0 by Manchester City so he’ll be looking to treat the home fans to a more enjoyable evening on Saturday.
Having travelled down to Brighton for their last away trip, another long journey awaits Newcastle as they take on Southampton this weekend. The Toon Army are currently outperforming the Saints in the league but that will change if Mauricio Pellegrino’s men can secure a much needed home win. Also desperate for a home victory are struggling Leicester who sit one place above the drop zone coming into this round of fixtures. Their Monday night fixture against West Brom has fallen at a convenient time with the Baggies currently in a poor patch of form, six games without a win.
Saturday 14th October 2017
Liverpool v Man United (12:30) – Liverpool to win (6/4 with Ladbrokes)
Romelu Lukaku is in contention to lead the line for his side but he will definitely not be joined by Marouane Fellaini and Paul Pogba who have both been ruled out. The midfield pair will be sorely missed in this game, especially Fellaini, whose physicality has given the frail Liverpool defence plenty of headaches in the past. There is some good news however in that Phil Jones is expected to be fit enough to join a Red Devils defence that has kept six league clan sheets already this season. Against an attack as impressive as Liverpool’s, having a full strength back line is of huge importance here.
Mourinho finished with a poor record against the top six last season, winning just two of 10 encounters and it was away from home where they were particular poor. With a better side than last season, this record should improve but it’s reason enough to approach the title-hopefuls with caution. Liverpool, despite their faults, have always at least managed to match United in recent meetings, notching up a four game unbeaten run across all competitions. They’ll also benefit from the fact that Lukaku has a poor record against the top six sides, five goals in his last 35 appearances against them. Combining this along with United’s absentees and Liverpool may well have the edge here.
Watford v Arsenal (17:30) – Watford to win with a +1 handicap (13/10 with Betfair)
Watford delivered a shock 2-1 defeat to the Gunners last time the two sides met but much has changed for the Hornets since then. Not least the change of manager and the appointment of Marco Silva looks to have been a rather wise one. Although his side were torn apart by a rampant City 6-0, Arsenal don’t post quite the same level of attacking prowess. Managing two goals against Brighton and West Brom in their last two league tests isn’t something which will be giving the Watford defence huge concerns coming into this game.
Arsenal have been getting results lately but in no real commanding style. Away from home they can often be more vulnerable and they are yet to beat any English opponents on the road this season. Their showing against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge was admittedly an improvement on what we have seen in previous seasons but they still lack the consistency of the other top sides in the league. Shkodran Mustafi picking up what looks like a serious ligament problem on international duty will only make Arsenal’s search for consistency harder. With no great form and a key man out, the Gunners are best dodged this weekend.
Sunday 15th October 2017
Southampton v Newcastle (16:00) – Under 2.5 goals (20/23 with BetVictor)
Goals have been very hard to come by for Southampton this season, in fact only four teams in the Premier League have managed fewer. With just two goals in their last six matches in all competitions, how will Mauricio Pellegrino get the Saints firing in front of goal again? There doesn’t look like being an easy answer to that question and it’s nothing that helped by Shane Long possibly being ruled out by injury. Manolo Gabbiadini could well be given the task of leading the line for Southampton but the Italian hasn’t scored in almost two months.
Newcastle aren’t known for their scoring exploits either having racked up an underwhelming seven league goals but their defence has been making up for it. Six goals conceded after seven games is an excellent record for a promoted team who didn’t splash out big in the summer. Against an often toothless Saints attack, they should be confident of not giving their opponents many chances here. You wouldn’t want to back them causing much trouble at the other end of the pitch though in a game which is not looking like promising many goals.
Monday 16th October 2017
Leicester v West Brom (20:00) – Draw (23/10 with Betfred)
A League Cup win over Liverpool last month gave the Leicester faithful something to cheer about in what has otherwise been a disappointing few weeks. That was the only game the Foxes have won in their last six and there are questions surrounding when this bad patch will end. Craig Shakespeare’s men do however remain a tricky side to beat at home and they should take little shame in losing to Chelsea and Liverpool by a one goal margin. Against weaker opposition this time, Leicester will be fancying their chances to claim an overdue three points.
West Brom enjoyed their last visit to the King Power Stadium, taking a 2-1 victory back to the West Midlands. It was a game they came into with little form so there are definitely some similarities between this and last year’s fixture. Tony Pulis will have given his players a real earful after they let slip a 2-0 lead at Watford last time out and he’ll be demanding a response from them here. With the right attitude, it’s not hard to see the Baggies working hard and claiming a useful point in a fixture which has always been a tight one in recent seasons.