As usual, this week throws up an exciting selection of games in the world’s most competitive and exciting league. The weekend kicks off on Saturday lunchtime with the huge clash at Stamford Bridge between Chelsea and Manchester United and ends at The Emirates as Arsenal entertain Leicester. Here we look at the games to look out for in terms of the ones offering the most value, and give you a selection that would make up a mouth-watering accumulator.
Chelsea v Manchester United
It is impossible to ignore the stand out fixture of the round, and though it does not offer too much value, it is looking like a banker for Sarri’s team. It is an indication of the current state of affairs at Old Trafford that it is hard to state a case for Mourinho getting anything from his return to his old stomping ground. Not only are they playing without belief or cohesion, United will come against a team who are flying. Just how quickly the former Napoli man has turned things around at the West London club is very impressive, something that has not gone unnoticed by his fellow managers. Mourinho will be desperate to get at least a point from the game, but his only option would seem to be to park the bus, which will win him no sympathy from either set of fans, and may only serve to hasten his departure from United. Verdict: Chelsea Win.
West Ham v Tottenham
A month ago this would have looked like a fairly routine 3 points for Spurs. Since then Spurs have faltered while Pellegrini’s summer signings - which were heralded as positive from all quarters in the summer, are finally showing their class. Spurs will go into the game as favourites, according to current Premier League odds, despite being away from home, but the real value is in backing a West Ham side that looks to have got its mojo back. Of the last 6 games between these sides, West Ham have won three times, Spurs twice with one draw. Three of those games ended 3-2, so expect goals. Verdict: West Ham Win.
Huddersfield v Liverpool
This is another match where by avoiding the obvious, you can get quite a bit of value from a game, ideal for adding to an accumulator. All evidence would appear to point to Klopp’s Liverpool who have added some much-needed steel to their game this season. Added to that is the fact that Huddersfield are playing like the team that ended the season last year, not started it. That said, this is the type of game that could turn their season around. Schindler at the heart of their defence needs to rediscover his form of last season, and though it could be a dour, backs to the wall effort, I can see Wagner frustrating his best friend Klopp. Verdict: Draw.
Wolves v Watford
This is the just the third time these two teams have met in the top tier of English football, and the first time in the Premier League era. They are perhaps the two teams that have surprised most people this season and have been picking up points while playing high energy, attractive football. Later on this season, both teams may face challenges. Watford have a history of fading badly in the final couple of months, and Nuno will have so called larger clubs sniffing around for some of his players. For now though, they are both happy with where they are and as opposed to trying to glean enough points to avoid relegation are looking up, towards the European places. It will be a tight game, but for me, home advantage will be key. Verdict: Wolves Win.
Arsenal v Leicester
Because of Chelsea’s start to the season and the usual media circus that has surrounded West Ham, the other new EPL manager in London’s achievements have not got as much attention as they deserve. Unai Emery inherited an Arsenal side that was devoid of many things, including a backbone. Despite a tricky start, he has got his men playing his way, and they have been getting results along the way. Likewise, Leicester have picked up in recent weeks. Claude Puel has also changed the way his team play, and the Foxes are less direct than the side that won the title so memorably just 3 years ago. This could have been a potentially tricky game for the North London outfit, but crucially it does not come after a Europa League game, and they should have enough to take all 3 points. Verdict: Arsenal Win.