The Premier League returns once more after the international week and it’s back with a bang. Sam Tighe gives you his best bets for the coming weekend.
Watford vs. Manchester United: BTTS No (8/11)
Watford boast the second-least goals shared in their games so far this season, per WhoScored.com, netting 11 and conceding just 12.
The only team in the league to see less goals in their games so far is Stoke (10 and 12). Basically, not a lot happens in front of goal when Watford play.
Manchester United sit firmly inside the top four but questions continue to be asked over their style of play, which seeks to control matches via rigorous possession at the expense of goals.
Not a lot happens in front of goal when they play either.
It’s highly likely one team nicks this one to nil. If you’re not comfortable backing United in a tense encounter, backing one of the teams not to score is a good bet.
Southampton vs. Stoke City: Over 1.5 Goals (3/10)
There have been two or more goals shared between Southampton and Stoke in five of their last six encounters in all competitions, per WhoScored.com. They simply seem to like scoring against one another.
Backing goals at St. Mary’s Stadium is an easy decision to make; the Saints are rampant in front of a home crowd, flexing their attacking muscles at will and rarely failing to find the net.
Stoke are highly unpredictable this season, frequently ranging from excellent to poor, but represent a serious threat on the counter-attack.
Over 2.5 is a bit of a stretch—Jack Butland is just too good for that—but over 1.5 feels strong here.
Newcastle United vs. Leicester City: Over 2.5 Goals (8/13)
Again, the odds aren’t generous, but that’s for good reason: Five of Leicester’s last six Premier League games have seen over 2.5 goals, and a visit to St. James’ Park makes them a prime candidate to make that six in seven.
The Magpies’ outrageous smash-and-grab victory over AFC Bournemouth before the international break was a true anomaly; Rob Elliot had the game of his life in goal, and had the hosts possessed any cutting edge, they’d have bagged a couple at least. The defence hardly looked sturdy.
Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez can do what Junior Stanislas and Josh King failed to: breach a suspect back line. On the reverse, Ayoze Perez and Aleksandar Mitrovic’s blossoming partnership shouldn’t have too many issues picking Wes Morgan’s defensive structure apart.
Chelsea vs. Norwich City: Under 2.5 Goals (1/1)
At some point this season, Chelsea will click back into gear and begin to win the majority of their games again. There’s no way a team that includes Eden Hazard, Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa spends the entire season battling at the floor of the table.
Whether or not Norwich City are the team who fall victim to a spark in form, it’s difficult to say. What is projectable, though, is that regardless of the result at Stamford Bridge this weekend, there won’t be too many goals.
The Blues are struggling mightily in the final third, are playing with blunt strikers and have no runners beyond to create space. They’re playing within themselves. Alex Neil has recently crafted a 3-5-2 formation at Carrow Road in order to make Norwich harder to beat and to limit defensive errors, and they proved against Manchester City they can be tough to break down in this new shape.
It’s unlikely to be the most thrilling of games.
Tottenham vs. West Ham: Spurs HT/FT (21/20)
Coming out of the international break, Tottenham and West Ham are two clubs in very different moods. The former saw their young English talents rip France apart on Tuesday at Wembley, while the latter lost star man Dimitri Payet to an ankle injury that rules him out for the rest of 2015.
Losing a player as important as Payet is a killer, and it will be interesting to see how the Hammers react long-term. In the short-term, though, one thing is guaranteed: they’ll play their usual counter-attacking game away from home which relies on the precise passing and good decision-making of their missing man and come up short.
With Dele Alli, Eric Dier, Harry Kane and Co. on a high, expect Spurs to start fast, take the lead and see it out.
Odds are provided at time of writing, please check your betslip to confirm they have not changed before betting.