Saturday 4th October
Liverpool v West Bromwich Albion 15.00
Let’s start with an intriguing match that is offering some tasty prices. Liverpool, fresh off the back of a dis-spiriting and dis-jointed midweek loss in the Champions League, welcome a resurgent and goal-happy West Brom who have scored 7 goals in their previous two matches, winning both. Berahino in particular has hit a deadly vein of form with 3 goals in these wins and will surely relish the chance to run at a very shaky and increasingly clueless Liverpool defence.
Under Rodgers, Liverpool have spent big money on defenders (over £40 million on Lovren and Sakho alone) but, in 9 games in all competitions, have only managed to keep a clean sheet once. Liverpool may well rediscover some of their form from last season but presently they are vulnerable and with West Brom riding a high wave, the price of 15/2 from WilliamHill for a West Brom win must be very tempting.
Sunday 5th October
Chelsea v Arsenal 14.05
Arsenal haven’t beaten Chelsea in the Premier League since October 2011. Arsenal, on the occasion of Arsene Wenger’s 1000th match as manager in March of this year, were hammered 6-0 by Chelsea. Arsene Wenger has never beaten a Mourinho-led team. And in a move as baffling as that of David Luiz’s £50 million move to PSG, Arsene Wenger passed up the opportunity to buy Cesc Fabregas from Barcelona, apparently content to see the Spaniard head across town to strengthen a team that Wenger must consider a close rival. Chelsea, on the other hand, are top of the league having dropped only two points and sit 6 points ahead of Arsenal in 4th.
In Costa and Fabregas, Mourinho can lay claim to some of the most effective summer signings of any team and he always seems to relish the prospect of making Wenger suffer. Conversely, Wenger appears to get overly ruffled by Mourinho and has rarely given his rival too much to worry about. It would be a massive surprise (and re-writing of history) if Arsenal manage to beat Chelsea. In fact, it seems the safest money you can get this weekend is the Chelsea win at 7/10 from Betvictor.
Tottenham Hotspur v Southampton 14.05
Another intriguing match with some more tasty odds. New Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino faces the side who afforded him his first managerial role in England, Southampton. The Saints are sitting pretty in 2nd, 3 points behind league leaders Chelsea having dropped just 5 points in the six matches played so far. They have confounded the many critics who predicted that with so many of last seasons star players sold during the summer, they would suffer a decline.
As mentioned last week, Spurs have had a relatively poor season so far but at times during their 1-1 draw with Arsenal the weekend gone, looked like they were beginning to better implement the high pressing game that Pochettino is demanding of them, a result of which was the goal they scored through Chadli. If it is the case that Spurs are starting to click, it’s a tough result to call. If, however, we are to judge it on form, then the price of 27/10 from 888sport for a Southampton win away may be worth a look. A draw at 5/2 from Boylesports is probably due some consideration, too.