The Premier League column got off to a terrible start last week. LB picked two underdogs who both managed to draw and he has ground to make up this week.
Nottingham Forest v Sheffield Utd
Fri 18 Aug 7:45 pm
Forest were utterly outplayed by Arsenal and their five-at-the-back, long-ball forward approach didn’t really click. They pulled one back late on but that highlighted a long-standing Arsenal weakness more than anything positive for Steve Cooper’s side.
Sheffield were equally unimpressive against Palace and the one-nil defeat was flattering. My instinct here is for a home win and under 2.5 goals (what we at TheACCAdemics call The Savage Special) at a very generous 13/5. A spirit-lifting one-nil or two-nil win for Forest, who enjoyed a strong home record last season. I’ll play it safe though, with a Forest to Win at 17/20.
Fulham v Brentford
Sat 19 Aug 3:00 pm
Fulham were quite lucky to escape Goodison with a win last week. Everton possess one of the league’s least impressive forward lines and yet they managed to rack up 19 shots against The Cottagers (with 9 shots on target and an xG of 2.7). Stats do not always paint an accurate reflection of a football match but in this case, they do. Brentford are a far more efficient team and I expect them to score more than once. Brentford To Win and Over 1.5 Goals at 11/5 is the bet.
Liverpool v Bournemouth
Sat 19 Dec 3:00 pm
Liverpool fans were left reeling after Moise Caicedo turned the club down and the one-all draw at Chelsea highlighted their need in his position. Klopp’s side look very soft through the middle and I expect they will struggle this season. That being said, I expect a routine win here. The home side are 1/4 though so I’ll pass on that. Goals betting is equally unattractive. One bet that does stand out is for David Brooks to get One Shot on Target at 13/8. He managed four shots (2 on target) against West Ham last week and this game could play into his hands. Liverpool will likely dominate possession, and this combined with their soft middle and aging defense means Bournemouth’s best chances will come on the counter. Brooks is a pacey right winger and an aggressive shooter who likes to cut onto his left foot.
Luton v Burnley
Sat 19 Dec postponed
This game is postponed due to works at Luton’s ground.
Wolves v Brighton
Sat 19 Dec 3:00 pm
Wolves were denied a draw late on due to a shocking VAR call at Old Trafford on MNF and will be surely out to prove a point here. They outplayed United for most of the game and it took some top-class keeping from Onana to shut them out. Then they were denied a stonewall penalty in injury time. The pundits gave them little hope before kickoff and I think Wolves might surprise a few people this season.
Brighton put Luton to the sword and scored four goals in their opener. That game was more like shooting practice for the Seagulls than a competitive match and a trip to Mollineaux is a whole different animal. I’m quite surprised to see Brighton odds-on here and that has me tempted to back the home side. I’ll play it safe though with Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score at even money.
Tottenham v Man Utd
Sat 19 Dec 5:30 pm
Tottenham were better than I expected against Brentford in the opener. They took an early lead, fell behind, and then drew in Ange Postecoglou’s first Premier League game and the future looks ok for Spurs despite the departure of Harry Kane. United are in the opposite position. This season was meant to be one where Ten Hag brought United back to the top. Of course, that might still happen, but they were dire on Monday night. Wolves have had a terrible summer and dominated United at Old Trafford. I’m tempted to back Spurs here at 9/5 but I will leave this game off. I need to see more of both sides.
Man City v Newcastle
Sat 19 Dec 8:00 pm
I’m going to go on gut instinct and back Newcastle to Win at 4/1. They were scintillating in the demolition of Aston Villa last week and Tonali already looks settled in that central role. Man City traveled to Rennes midweek for a Super Cup fixture with Sevilla and will be without KDB to boot. Can Newcastle lay down an early marker? At these odds, it’s worth a shot.
Aston Villa v Everton
Sun 20 Aug 2:00 pm
Villa were humbled by Newcastle in their opening game and have to bounce back here. Unfortunately for Emery, Everton are in already in catch-up mode too. Villa to Win and Over 2.5 goals would be my pick here at 13/8 but I’ll avoid this one.
West Ham v Chelsea
Sun 20 Aug 4:30 pm
The Hammers started well against Bournemouth before ultimately fading away a little. The squad is still threadbare and this season will be a test for David Moyes. In contrast, Chelsea have signed 23 players over the last 12 months at a staggering cost of a little under £1 billion pounds. It generally takes time for such spending to click and I would prefer to play Mauricio Pochettino’s side now than in November. Can West Ham catch Chelsea on the hop? I would like to see it but 14/5 is a little thin.
Crystal Palace v Arsenal
Mon 21 Aug 8:00 pm
Both of these London sides started their campaigns with wins over relegation contenders and we will learn a lot about their true levels here. Arsenal looked far more solid with new recruit Jurien Timber at back left but his untimely ACL injury leaves Arteta with a selection headache at left back. I fancy the Gunners to continue their winning start but 4/7 for an away team at Selhurst Park does not tempt. Both Teams To Score at 19/20 is much more interesting considering Arsenal will be playing another new-look back four.
Forest to Win at 17/20
Brentford To Win and Over 1.5 Goals at 11/5
David Brooks to get One Shot on Target at 13/8
Wolves Brighton Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score at even money
Newcastle to Win at 4/1