PREMIER League football returns this weekend after the international break and Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) gives us his view.
Leicester v Aston Villa | Sunday 16:00 | Sky Sports 1
Super Sunday you say? Alright, those jokes have been made before but this match is unlikely to lure me away from the warm bosom of my Sunday pub. Having said that, I do have a view on this game
Leicester have surprised many with their excellent start to the campaign. Claudio Raineri’s side lie third after an unbeaten run in their opening four matches. They’re odds on across the board to win here but I’m still not quite ready to completely toss away my view that they’ll go down this season.
So far the Foxes have played Sunderland, West Ham, Tottenham and Bournemouth. Three of those I think will struggle this season and the other side look well off the pace as they bid to finish in the Top 6 once again. This is another fairly kind fixture and if you’re still staunch in your view the Foxes will go down then now might be the time to pounce. Or maybe after Sunday.
Aston Villa look a frustrating watch. A work in progress if you like. Four points from their opening four matches looks ok when you see they’ve played Bournemouth and Sunderland. To be fair Villa looked reasonable in defeats against Manchester United and Crystal Palace and I’m still of the view they’ll stay up.
Both those Aston Villa defeats came by exactly one goal and I think we’ll see another tight encounter on Sunday. Three of Leicester’s four matches this season have either been drawn or won by a singular goal and if any match fits the 2-3 goal picture this weekend it’s this.
The last four meetings between the sides saw one side win by exactly one goal and in two of the last three the 2-3 goal bracket was hit. I can see me having a dabble on 1-1 (7/1) and a 2-1 Leicester victory (8/1) on Sunday but for now I’ll keep it simple and back exactly 2-3 goals at 21/20 with Bet Victor. It’s occurred in Leicester’s last three league games you know.
Arsenal v Stoke | Saturday 15:00
To see Arsenal priced as short as 1/4 for this match really made me cringe. This is the same Arsenal have who haven’t clicked this season yet and didn’t make the requisite purchases over the transfer window. 1/4 against a side as talented as Stoke makes no appeal.
Naturally then I wanted to get with 11/1 Stoke in some capacity. After all this is a side who’ve caused Arsene Wenger huge headaches in recent years. Stoke +1 on the Asian Handicap at 2/1 looked incredibly tempting. But dig a little deeper and it’s the matches in the Midlands that have caused Arsenal problems, not the games in North London.
In fact Arsenal have won 13 in a row against Stoke in Islington and their last defeat was way back in 1981. So with that in mind it’s hard to make a strong, confident case for the visitors.
Recent results have been 3-0, 3-1, 1-0, 3-1, 1-0 and Arsenal are P5 W4 D1 L0 in this exact week of the season directly after the first international break. While the break hampers some teams, Arsenal seem to thrive on their mid-September return.
It’s been a disappointing start to the season for Stoke with just two points won from their opening 12 but fixtures against Liverpool and Tottenham have been amongst that sample.
I’m going to back 2-3 goals in this match at 11/10 with Bet Victor. Stoke have conceded more than one just once this season in the league while Arsenal have hardly been prolific in front of goal with just three notched. Despite this the match does look tailor-made for Arsenal to give their season a jolt and so 2-0, 3-0 and 2-1 scorelines look likely on Saturday.
Norwich v Bournemouth | Saturday 15:00
Both these sides must be fairly happy with how the opening segment of their season went. Both sit on P4 W1 D1 L2 and plaudits have been encircling both sides.
For Norwich a win against Sunderland in Week 2 was followed up by a match against Stoke where they took one point but really deserved three. Last time out a Steven Whittaker sending off consigned them to a limp defeat against Southampton.
Week 2 was also (sort of) the launching pad for Bournemouth as they unluckily went 1-0 down at Liverpool. That defeat saw them wreathed in praise and they kicked on from that to beat West Ham in an epic 4-3 Upton Park tussle before drawing 1-1 at home to Leicester before the international break.
Fun fact. If you combined the ages of managers Alex Neil and Eddie Howe they’d be younger than Sir Alex Ferguson. Anyway, I’m sure we’ll see lots of references to their ages in the media over the next few days. Perhaps their youthful verve can have an influence on the outcome of this game?
Both look confident guys, both look the kind of men who know when it’s the right time to pounce and attack three points. Maybe both will have that in mind on Saturday?
After all this is a great opportunity for both sides to take the points here. There’s not much between them and in the stressy battle to stay in the Premier League this match provides hope and opportunity. Surely both will go for it here?
That’s the angle I’m taking and with that in mind Both Teams To Score at 4/5 with 10 Bet looks the bet to be on. The bet paid out in both their fixtures last season and I’m willing to bank on it happening again on Saturday with the lure of three points so strong.
Leicester v Aston Villa – Exactly 2-3 Goals (21/20 BetVictor)
Arsenal v Stoke – Exactly 2-3 Goals (11/10 BetVictor)
Norwich v Bournemouth – Both Teams To Score (4/5 10 Bet)
Sunderland are gash aren’t they?
If you join Betfair this weekend you’ll be able to back Spurs at 6/1 to beat them on Sunday.