The Premier League is back, after the two week international break, where I was quite happy with the way England’s youngsters held their own against two giants of world football.
We must look forward though, and I reckon I’ve got a few tips up my sleeve to make you all a few quid for the weekend, which kicks off with an absolute cracker in North London…
Arsenal v Spurs
Arsenal have really bounced back since everyone got on Wenger’s back when they lost to Liverpool earlier in the season. As soon as you stop hearing about Arsenal or their manager in the press, you know they’re doing alright.
Of course, gone are the days when everyone down the pub is hailing Arsenal as one of the great teams in the league, but I still like watching them and as a neutral fan, you have to admit, that on their day, they do play some fantastic stuff.
It could be argued that Wenger’s an older Guardiola (of sorts), in that he’s very set in his way of playing possession football; I just think he’s a tremendous manager, he’s been great since he’s come to England and for any Arsenal fans that want change, let me tell you: change ain’t always for the best!
I understand the fans getting the hump with the supposed lack of Silverware (even though they’ve won three of the last four FA Cups), but it’s getting tougher and tougher with the likes of Chelsea and City becoming two heavy weights in the division, so from my point of view, the longer Wenger’s there, the better.
Tottenham are obviously flying again this season under Pochettino, with Kane, Alli and Winks set to return from injury and I’m anticipating another typically powerful performance from them.
With that, I’m predicting goals galore in a very tight game at The Emirates, so if you’re feeling lucky, have a bet on over 4.5 goals at 18/5! A 2-2 result is 10/1 which I really like the look of as well!!!
Bournemouth v Huddersfield
Two old fashioned English clubs face each other down on the South Coast in the first 3 O’Clock on Saturday…
After watching them quite closely, I LOVE the way Huddersfield play. It’s OK for the Pep Guardiola’s of the world to go out and play possession football, because they’ve got trust and belief in the best players in the world, who‘ll go out and execute the game plan to a tee.
Let’s have it right, The Terriers haven’t got the budget to buy the best players in the world, so if you go and manage Huddersfield with the intention to play possession based football, you HAVE to tip your hat to David Wagner.
There are so many managers out there, who want to take the easy route, launch the ball forward and only want to play in the final third – because they’ve got no balls.
To play the possession game anywhere on the pitch, you need big kahunas and it appears that the foreign managers are more brash and prepared to put their neck on the line than those from England – you only have to look at the way Fulham and Wolves have been playing this season, down in the Championship.
You’d think that’s the same way Eddie Howe’s side play… well you’d be wrong: now a days, Howe lets results dictate to him. I guarantee you, that if they lose three or four on the spin, they’ll mix it up again, adapting how they play, which it could be argued is a bi-product of surviving in the Premier League. That’s not me slating Howe; they do play possession football, but it’s a bit safer, it’s not as aggressive and they do revert to other types of play when they’re up against it.
Saying all that, I think The Cherries will sneak this one, simply because they have a little bit more Premier League know-how: just because you play the nicest football, it doesn’t always guarantee you results. I’m looking forward to this – it should be a good one.
Burnley v Swansea
I like the look of Burnley at home, even when they play against the bigger clubs, so I don’t see Swansea getting anything here, I really don’t.
I see this as a very grinding game, and if The Swans do get anything from this fixture, it’s because they’ve caught Burnley on an off day – If the home side are at it and up for it, they’ll win.
Clement did a fantastic job in keeping The Swans up last season, but they haven’t kicked on this year. Tammy Abraham is a nice little prospect but he’s still young, so they can’t completely rely on him for all of their goals. Bringing Bony back for Llorente isn’t exactly a like-for-like replacement either, so I think they’ll continue to struggle.
I’m going for a 2-1 win to Sean Dyche’s lads in this clash at Turf Moor.
Crystal Palace v Everton
Leading on from the previous fixture, Dyche was very heavily linked with the Everton post which still hasn’t been filled, and I find a little bit odd. For me there is only one man who should be considered for this gig and people are going to say: “Jim, you are barking mad”, but I’m telling you now, he’s the perfect appointment, the man I’m talking about is: DIEGO SIMEONE!
I’d break the bank for him!! Everton are one of the biggest clubs in the league and I don’t care if he’s already pied them off; they should do what’s necessary to get him, because he’s got everything they want and he’s tailor made for the Premier League. For me, there are no other appropriate managers available: they’re p***ng in the wind!
Simeone would put Everton back where they belong and, for me, that’s in the top six. I’ve watched so much of his Atletico side over the past three seasons or so, and forget possession based football, his philosophy is winning. Defensively his sides are solid and I’m telling you now, he’d get the best out of those Everton players.
At this point, the Everton board have got three options: Simeone, Silva or Big Sam. Allardyce would be a short-term fix to get them out of the s**t, but trust me, after eighteen months, they’ll have had enough of him. You’ve got to ask yourself whether it’s worth the risk for Silva to move away from Watford as well, seeing as he’s done so well since he came in to the job.
Everton’s a club which is completely in turmoil and they need to get it sorted soon.
Even so, with Unsworth in charge of the club in the short term, they’ve got a man who understands the fans and what it means to be associated with The Toffees. It’s a tough one to call but I reckon he can motivate this group of players to go to Selhurst and beat a Palace side who have only scored four goals all season.
Leicester v Manchester City
They’ll get dealt with here, Leicester: the pitch at the King Power is ABSOLUTELY MASSIVE!
I can see a ‘five-goaler’. I know most of the boys have been away with their respective countries, but The Foxes will get an absolute tonking.
Man City are absolutely flying: they’ve only dropped two points all season, they’re playing on one of the biggest pitches in the league and they’ll be completely in their element. If City don’t score more than two, they’ve missed a boat load!!!
Leicester won’t get a look in on Saturday and I’m having this one as my banker of the week: Man City all day long.
Liverpool v Southampton
This is a game that the Liverpool fans, players and entire club need to win. The thing with Liverpool is, when they play at at home, they get a little frustrated, which could play into Southampton’s hands, where if they keep it tight at the back for the first half an hour or so and don’t concede, they could have some success.
If all goes to plan though, Liverpool will have too much pace and power for the visitors. Having Mane back will make a HUGE difference for them as well. There’s no denying his quality, but when you’ve got that sort of pace up top, it relieves a lot of pressure from the back line, because the ball isn’t consistently coming back towards them. When you get a player of that stature coming back from a long enough period, it gives the whole team a lift.
For that reason, it’s a Liverpool win for me: 3 -1 and Mane is coming back with a bang, so back him to score first: 4/1 with BetBright.
West Brom v Chelsea
Baggies fans are getting a bit carried away, aren’t they?
West Brom fans think they’re a top ten team – well you’re not: you’ve never been a top ten team, you’ve been a mid-bracket, bottom half side. So they’ve got to be very careful what they wish for, calling for Pulis’ head. They’ve got a good manager there who knows what he’s doing, he recruits the right players who play to his methods and that’s not easy, let me tell you.
If you get anyone else in, but it could be better, but it could be a lot, lot worse – this time of year, getting rid of Pulis could be a huge kick in the goolies for them.
I don’t see West Brom getting anything against this Chelsea side who come back from the International Break following a classy win against Man United, when they were under a lot of pressure to get something at The Bridge.
It won’t be easy for Chelsea and West Brom will make a game of it, but it’s an away win on my coupon!
Manchester United v Newcastle
Newcastle fans will love travelling to Old Trafford and will create a loud, exciting atmosphere. It’s the sort of fixture which they believe their club should be involved in and I think this could potentially be a banana skin for United.
Benitez is a very good coach and will turn up knowing exactly what to do against Mourinho’s side who will come flying out of the traps.
If Newcastle are 100% at it and are tactically on the ball, this could be a game where they can get something; so my WILDCARD BET of the week is a score draw: 1-1 which is 9/1 with BetBright.
Watford v West Ham
For me, the appointment of David Moyes is unbelievable – he’s never been a West Ham Manager: he doesn’t play the right way. I know we’ve had Allardyce there, but we want to see pure football at the club, because that’s what we’ve been about throughout the club’s history.
I just don’t see it: he had a big budget at Man United and failed, struggled at Sunderland and don’t even get me started on Real Sociedad – why would you bring in a manager who’s done so badly at his last three jobs, when there’s so much young talent out there???!!
Look at Nuno Espírito Santoat at Wolves or Slaviša Jokanović at Fulham – are these owners nuts, or what??!! I’ve got a book indoors where I could show you twelve young, ambitious managers who are better than Moyes!!!
The Chairman’s even come out and said that Moyes is ‘the best appointment available at the moment!!’ WHAT A KICK IN THE NUTS THAT IS FOR THE NEW GAFFER!!!The world’s gone Pete Tong!!!
I’m about as enthusiastic with this appointment as a David Moyes interview!! If I was given the option out of the two, I’d have kept Billic and told him to buck his ideas up in the January window.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be cheering the Hammers on come Sunday afternoon, and you never know, ‘New Manager Syndrome’ might kick in and we could iron them out 3-0, but how long will that last?
I’d absolutely take a draw and I think we need one, because if we get beaten by Watford, it’s going to be a bumpy, bumpy ride for David Moyes.
The trouble is, I’ve got my West Ham head on: in reality, when you take a step back, I really think Watford are going to win this 2-1.
Brighton v Stoke
Corrr, I don’t like this one at all!!
Stoke are the biggest hit and miss team I’ve ever seen, so I never know what way to go with them in my BetBright weekly predictions.
Surprisingly, this newly promoted Brighton side are sat in eighth position and with the fact that they’re at home, I just feel like I’ve got to back them at 7/5.
Chrisy Hughton has done a good job with them to be fair and I don’t mind watching them when they’re on the box. He can mix it up a bit as well, where they’ll be compact and sit in against the bigger teams, but versus the likes of Stoke at The Amex, he’ll go out and try and play some nice football.
Best of luck everyone and have a great weekend!!!
Odds are provided at time of writing, please check your betslip to confirm they have not changed before betting.