With the international break behind us, it’s back to domestic action this weekend with Liverpool getting things under way with Saturday’s lunchtime game at home to Newcastle United.
These two teams have been involved in some epic encounters in the past, but the fact remains that the Magpies have picked up just three drawn points from their last 22 trips to Anfield, losing the other nineteen, including last season’s 4-0 drubbing.
Liverpool have picked up where they left off last season and after four straight wins they are now protecting the last remaining 100% record in the EPL. Home wins over Norwich and Arsenal came either side of a 2-1 victory at Southampton, while they signed off for the international break with a convincing 3-1 success at Burnley.
Steve Bruce’s reign as new Newcastle boss began disastrously when they lost their first two games. Those results made their subsequent 1-0 win at Tottenham all the more surprising, although their 1-1 draw with Watford showed there is still work to be done.
Liverpool have now registered 13 consecutive Premier League wins since February and are unbeaten in 42 EPL matches at Anfield, a run that stretches back to April 2017. Those 13 wins have produced 37 Liverpool goals, of which 23 have come from their front three of Mane (10), Salah (8) and Firmino (5), more between them than Newcastle’s tally of 19 over the same number of games, and worryingly for Bruce, 12 of those goals came from the now departed Perez and Rondon.
Newcastle’s progress will be given a stern examination at Anfield, and if form and history are anything to go by, then there are sure to be goals at one end at least.
Liverpool won’t even have to match last season’s 4-0 scoreline to fulfill the 2.26 value in the -2.50AH tip of Rattium.
Saturday evening’s televised Premier League game sees newly-promoted Norwich City face a huge challenge as they welcome champions Manchester City to Carrow Road.
Just three points from their first four games suggest a long season ahead for the Canaries, although they already have a trip to Anfield (1-4) and a closely-fought visit of Chelsea (2-3) behind them. They have already shown a refreshing ambition to go toe-to-toe with the Premier League big boys, and that attacking policy was rewarded by their solitary 3-1 win at home to Newcastle United.
That game saw Finnish striker Teemu Pukki bag a hat-trick and his tally of five goals sees him rubbing shoulders with City stars Sergi Aguero (6) and Raheem Sterling (5) at the top of the EPL goal-scoring table.
The champions have relinquished their 100% record, although only a marginal VAR intervention denied them a late winner in their 2-2 draw with Spurs. That draw is the only game in which City have scored less than three goals having brushed aside West Ham 5-0, Brighton 4-0 and Bournemouth 3-1.
Norwich’s refreshingly expansive game is unlikely to be as effective against City as they will be forced to play most of the game on the back foot without the ball. Limited possession will quell their attacking potency against an organised defence, and while a bet on City’s winning margin has its merits, the even-money recommendation for BTTS – No looks appealing.
Sunday’s Premier League double header get under way with a 2pm kickoff at the Vitality Stadium, where Bournemouth and and Everton will both be looking to kickstart their campaign.
Bournemouth’s season began promisingly when they bounced back from Sheffield United’s late equaliser in their opening day 1-1 draw to be good value for their 2-1 win at Aston Villa. Sadly for Eddie Howe, his team’s momentum stalled in the wake of consecutive 3-1 defeats at the hands of Manchester City and Leicester City, hardly the best way to go into the international break.
Everton matched Bournemouth’s first three results, drawing at Crystal Palace and beating Watford, only to slip up 2-0 at Villa Park. However, in contrast to Bournemouth, Everton responded to that setback by emerging from their game against Wolves with all three points courtesy of an exciting 3-2 win.
This fixture is yet to produce an away win in eight EPL encounters, and although Bournemouth are yet to earn a point from four trips to Goodison Park, their home games against the Toffees have earned them two wins and two draws.
That pattern could well continue if Callum Wilson and Joshua King can rekindle last season’s form, while Liverpool loanee Harry Wilson has added an extra attacking threat.
Bournemouth’s inconsistencies make betting on them something of a lottery, leaving Everton as a more reliable option. Their 2-0 setback at Villa apart, Everton have looked solid and organised in defence, and it’s difficult to see them coming away from Bournemouth without at least a point, a view shared by ST30, who has tipped them at +0.0 on the Asian Handicap.
Sunday’s Premier League action concludes with something of a local derby, as Arsenal make the short trip up the M1 to take on Watford at Vicarage Road.
If the first four games were to be taken as a yardstick, then Watford would already appear to be a team likely to be involved in a relegation battle. After ending last season with three straight defeats, the omens good bleak when the Hornets opened this season with a dismal 3-0 home defeat at the hands of Brighton.
Although the scoreline was closer the following week, their 1-0 loss at Everton did little to lift morale, while their subsequent 3-1 home loss against West Ham left them as the only team without a point after three games. That was put right at Newcastle, where they earned a 1-1 draw just before the international break, but it looks like a long season ahead for Javi Gracia and his players.
Arsenal’s campaign began promisingly with two wins, although those successes against Newcastle (1-0) and Burnley (2-1) were not as comfortable as might have been expected. Their 3-1 defeat at Liverpool might have been par for the course, but the game was closer than the scoreline suggests, while the Gunners showed some mettle in fighting back from two goals down to grab a 2-2 draw at home to Arsenal.
If Arsenal are to challenge for a top four spot, they will have to improve on their form on the road, with the win at Newcastle representing only their fourth win in fifteen away league games since last November. The Gunners have not beaten a “Big Six” team on their travels since returning from Manchester City with all three points in January 2015, so they will need to start dominating the lesser clubs, starting at struggling Watford, where their 1-0 win in April was one of those four wins. Given Watford’s appalling start to the campaign, Arsenal look well-priced to repeat that outcome, with the tip of Premier League Pro Tips on an Arsenal success looking good value at better than even money.
Game week five in this season’s Premier League programme sees Aston Villa looking to gain some momentum in their first season back in the top flight at the expense of an improving West Ham United team.
After losing their opening two games at the hands of Tottenham (3-1) and Bournemouth (2-1) Villa looked like they had turned a corner when they upset Everton’s ambitions with a dour but deserved 2-0 win. Their subsequent trip to Crystal Palace just before the international break had goalless draw written all over it before they lost Trezeguet to a red card, finally succumbing to Palace’s persistence and going down 1-0 to stay rooted in the bottom three.
West Ham have responded well to their opening day 5-0 drubbing at home to Manchester City, which has been put into some context by City’s subsequent prolific form. A 1-1 draw at Brighton earned their first point, and better was to follow when the Hammers earned consecutive victories over Watford (3-1) and Norwich City (2-0) just before the international break.
After an injury-stricken start, West Ham striker Sebastien Haller has started to reproduce the form he showed in Eintracht Frankfurt’s success last season, and his team’s success looks like it will depend on his ability to add to the three goals he has scored in those two league wins.
Despite their opening day thrashing, West Ham appear to be in better shape than last season, and against a Villa side still finding it Premier League feet, even money looks a decent price to back the Hammers at +0.00 AH, a bet endorsed by I OAP I Soccer.