Saturday 30th August
It’s been a beginning to forget with 1 point from a possible 6 and a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of gallant yet lowly MK Dons but surely the 12.45 kick-off away at Burnley offers Man Utd their best chance yet to get a win under their belts. They have smashed the transfer record in England with the purchase of Angel di Maria from Real Madrid but is his purchase akin to that of a pure gold comb for a bald man? Only time will tell.
In the meantime, the bookies are telling us that Utd are favourites to get all three points here with a price of 8/13 from Betvictor being the most competitive to be found at the moment. Insofar as their season has been woefully awry thus far, anything other than a win here is surely one banana skin too far.
With full points from their opening two games (including the defeat of Man Utd in the first game) and playing with a purpose and confidence this reviewer didn’t credit them with, Swansea are, for the moment at least, on a high. At 15.00, they take on a West Brom side who eased through a largely uneventful, scoreless draw against Southampton in their last outing.
All signs point to the price of 20/23 by Boylesports for a Swansea win to be the most reasonable about but Swansea are capable of making hard work of matches they’re expected to win. With that in mind, the price of 11/4 offered by Boylesports for the draw is worth some consideration.
The late match kicks off at 17.30 and sees Everton host a strong Chelsea team who come with full points from their opening games. Having added ex-Chelsea man Romelu Lukaku to their ranks on a permanent basis as well as Samuel Eto’o, who spent last season on loan at Stamford Bridge, Everton have high hopes for the season ahead. Having scored 4 but conceded 4 in their opening two draws against newly-promoted Leicester and Arsenal respectively, this is clearly an Everton team still finding its feet.
Chelsea, on the other hand, have started impressively with two wins from two but are now without star striker Diego Costa through injury, which leaves only the recently returned Drogba and the mis-firing Torres as their strike force. Of course, they have such a wealth of talent and potential match-winners that they should not be unduly worried about goals. Jose Mourinho, however, is a cautious coach and would most likely be delighted with a tightly controlled affair, ending in a 1-0 win. All odds have Chelsea to win with 6/5 offered by Betvictor the best to be found.
Sunday 31st August
The early afternoon match between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool at 13.30 is a very tough one to call. Liverpool destroyed Spurs last season whilst only the season before that, players such as Clint Dempsey viewed a move to White Hart Lane as preferable to Merseyside. Liverpool have a win and a loss thus far whereas Spurs sit happily atop the table after two wins. Certainly, it seems as if their new manager Pochettino has been spreading the same magic he once weaved at Southampton, the similarities in play and areas of the pitch occupied by players being note worthy.
Liverpool now have the enigmatic Mario Balotelli on their books and, whilst losing their one truly world class player in Suarez, have strengthened considerably in most areas. The market has Spurs as slight favourites with 888sport offering 28/17 for the win whilst the most competitive price presently available for a Liverpool win is 7/4. A draw a 13/5 from Boylesports seems the most generous price around but really, this is a difficult one to call. Pochettino had Liverpool’s number last season as Southampton manager so don’t be surprised to see more of the same this time around.