WEEK 2 of the Premier League and Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) gives us his three best bets.
Southampton v Everton | Saturday 12:45 | BT Sport 1
I recall when these sides met the week before Christmas last year I was fascinated by the match. Saints were at home but the odds were fairly tight.
Could Ronald Koeman’s side beat the side that finished fifth the previous season? It looked a match up between the two progressive sides of the past two seasons.
Well Saints didn’t just beat them, they destroyed them 3-0 and ended up 13 points clear of Everton when the season finished. Despite the Toffee’s almost hitting the Top 4 the previous year, it now felt like they’d been overtaken by Southampton.
Since the summer the strength of my view on this has only deepened further. Yes, Everton should be liberated this season by not playing in the Europa League but they look rather lost at the moment.
No exciting signings have been brought in and Chelsea are honing in on their star defender John Stones. Roberto Martinez looks worried and last week’s 2-2 home draw against newly-promoted Watford has done nothing to improve the mood.
Southampton on other hand have recruited extensively over the summer as they aim to build on their excellent campaign in 2014/15. Jordy Clasie, Cedric Soares and new purchase Oriol Romeu look the pick of the bunch.
So while the Saints look settled and well-stocked I have to back them here against an Everton side looking wayward. 20/21 isn’t the most generous price of the weekend but it’s a sensible one.
Swansea v Newcastle | Saturday 15:00
I really enjoyed watching both these sides at the weekend. Both moved into Monday full of credit after excellent 2-2 draws. Of course Swansea’s draw at Stamford Bridge rightly garnered more praise than Newcastle’s home draw with Southampton but Toon fans must have been happy with that.
The forward line of Swansea last Saturday looked really exciting with new recruit Andre Ayew looking a real handful while the magnificent Bafetimbi Gomis was a continual menace. Gomis isn’t perfect (misses too many chances) but there are fewer players I enjoy watching more in the Premier League.
Swansea were the first side in 11 months to score more than one at Stamford Bridge in the league and that’s just the kind of result that fills your club with hope and confidence going into Week 2 of the season.
As for Newcastle, well that performance last Sunday was a breath of fresh air just as I suspected it would be. Georginio Wijnaldum’s goal to put them 2-1 up was everything the club had been missing for the last few months. Endeavour, energy and skill. Robbie Savage would no doubt drop the word desire in there too. He always does. Knob.
Anyway I think this clash brings together two positive sides and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if both scored. It worked for me last week in the Newcastle game and I’m going in again, it’s both teams to score for me at 10/11 with William Hill.
Crystal Palace v Arsenal | Sunday 13:30 | Sky Sports 1
Arsenal eh? What a hoot! Not sure what was funnier about last Sunday, them losing or the fact that this fanny put up West Ham to get relegated. Oh how I consoled myself by ordering more and more beer at the bar. In deep shame!
Anyway…I’m still not giving up on my West Ham relegation bet. Unlike most of the media I refuse to make big statements on the back of one poxy win.
Arsenal face a horrid tie here as they try to patch up the wounds of last Sunday. I’ve backed Crystal Palace for the handicap so you’ll be aware I’m very sweet on them this season.
Alan Pardew’s side got off to a solid start last week with a 3-1 win at Norwich. That scoreline probably flattered them a little but not many sides will bully the Canaries this season.
Oddly despite hitting the Top 10 last year Palace’s home form was fairly poor. They ended up bottom five on the Home Table with 10 defeats from 19 at Selhurst Park. That record should improve this season but I can see them losing here. Just.
You see Arsenal tend to bounce back well from acute embarrassment. Both those things are in their DNA. It’s been two and half years since they lost consecutive Premier League matches on consecutive weekends and I think we’ll see a finer performance here.
Pardew will simply love the idea of hurting Arsene Wenger more and his side will scrap for their lives. Ultimately though Arsenal should just have enough to scrape a victory.
Both Arsenal’s wins last season over Palace were by the odd goal, and that’s what I’m backing on Sunday again at 13/5 with Bet365.
Southampton v Everton – Southampton to win (20/21 BetVictor)
Swansea v Newcastle – Both Teams To Score (10/11 William Hill)
Crystal Palace v Arsenal – Arsenal to win by exactly one goal (13/5 Bet365)
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