The FFT Flutter: Action at Anfield, prizes at Palace and a fearsome five-fold
Liverpool vs Everton (Sat, 12:45pm)
Merseyside derby day usually means only one thing: action, and lots of it. Traditionally this fixture has been a hotbed of red cards – it’s produced the most in Premier League history – though that notion has been put to bed in recent seasons with 0 in the last 6 meetings. What there have been plenty of, however, are goals: 10 of them last season after Liverpool rescued a point in a 3-3 draw at Goodison Park before demolishing their Blue brothers 4-0 at Anfield in January. Both teams have started awkwardly this season, Liverpool losing 3 of their 5 games and Everton shipping the highest number of goals (13) so far.
Best bet: Liverpool don’t keep clean sheets (1 in their last 11). Everton have netted at least 2 goals in each of their last 7 Premier League games (but never done 8 in a row). Snap up over 3.5 goals at 6/4.
Chelsea vs Aston Villa (Sat, 3pm)
4 wins from 5 plus a draw at Manchester City sees Chelsea already bragging a three-point lead at the top of the table – and most will be expecting another routine victory against Villa at Stamford Bridge. The Blues didn’t even have to rely on a Diego Costa goal last weekend to walk away from the Etihad unscathed, and should add to their exceptional home record here; Jose Mourinho’s men have won 24 of their last 29 league games at Stamford Bridge, losing only 1 (to Sunderland). Villa might be hunting a third straight away win, but their virus-hit side was trounced 3-0 at home to Arsenal last weekend.
Best bet: The bookies are gearing up for a comfortable home win – even one to nil for the Blues is a slim 8/11. Instead, back the in-form hosts to get the job done with a -2 handicap at 6/4.
Crystal Palace vs Leicester (Sat, 3pm)
Two sides who claimed impressive scalps last weekend clash at Selhurst Park. Palace came from behind to beat Everton at Goodison Park, while visiting Leicester blitzed Manchester United with a devastating four-goal salvo to turn a 3-1 deficit into a 5-3 win at the King Power Stadium. Leo Ulloa already has 5 goals in as many games for the Foxes, and can be found at 13/8 to breach a leaky Eagles backline here.
Best bet: Net-ripplers haven’t been in short supply for either of these sides this season, making valuable the 21/20 on offer for over 2.5 goals. Alternatively, both teams to score is 4/5.
Hull vs Man City (Sat, 3pm)
Hull haven’t won since the opening day at QPR, drawing 3 of their 4 games since after blowing a two-goal lead at Newcastle last weekend. Manchester City are desperate to keep in touch with Chelsea five points ahead, and began their weekend preparations very nicely indeed on Wednesday night with a 7-0 rout of Sheffield Wednesday – all of the goals coming after half-time. Frank Lampard netted a brace to add to his dramatic late leveller against former club Chelsea, and the ex-England man is a tempting 11/1 to net first at the KC.
Best bet: Man City have their lowest points tally after 5 games since 2006/07 (when they had 4), but only a fool would bet against them improving it against a Hull side who’ve won only 2 of their last 11 games at home. Back the City HT/FT at 11/8 – they’ve been ahead in 3 of 5 games at the break so far this season.
Man United vs West Ham (Sat, 3pm)
It’s not getting any easier for Manchester United fans. If last season wasn’t bad enough, their side have already made an almighty mess of their gentle start and contrived to fall apart at Leicester in dramatic fashion. West Ham, on the other hand, are enjoying life after an influx of sexy summer arrivals, and saw off Liverpool at Upton Park last weekend. Both sides have scored 9 and shipped 8 in their 5 games so far, and also failed to score in only 1 apiece. Get 4/5 on them both finding the net at Old Trafford.
Best bet: They might hold together like a house of cards in a gale, but Man United offer quite the tornado going forward themselves. Last week we gave you a winner on them bagging more than 2.5 goals against Leicester, and you can get a repeat at 11/10 at Old Trafford.
Southampton vs QPR (Sat, 3pm)
By now it’s become quite clear that there’s nothing to worry about at Southampton this season. Talk of mere consolidation after a summer fire sale has already been quashed, with Ronald Koeman’s new signings settling in like bugs in a rug and helping the Saints to second place after 5 games. They knocked Arsenal out of the League Cup on Tuesday too, and go in search of their fourth straight league win over a messy QPR side on Saturday. Harry Redknapp’s men drew with Stoke last weekend thanks to a late Niko Kranjcar equaliser, but the R’s have yet to really impress since their return to the top flight. Southampton have conceded the fewest goals in the Premier League this season (3), but only Everton (13) have shipped more than ‘Arry’s Rangers (11). The signs look ominous for a struggle on the south coast.
Best bet: Another Southampton win to nil looks like a go-er at 6/5, although based on value alone Charlie Austin looks overpriced at 11/1 to net first; Eduardo Vargas likewise at 16s.
Sunderland vs Swansea (Sat, 3pm)
If you’re thinking this is a game with all the makings to end up last on Match of the Day, you’re probably right. Sunderland are yet to record a victory this season, making everyone forget that they won 4 in a row at the tail end of last term, while Swansea have actually been pretty good so far. Successive defeats to Chelsea and Southampton ended their excellent start, but Garry Monk’s side look well equipped to cause sides problems. In fact, Monk’s Premier League win percentage of 42% is better than Brendan Rodgers (32%) or Michael Laudrup (27%) managed for the Swans.
Best bet: The draw feels like a likely outcome at 9/4, but unlike the hosts Swansea have impressed this season and only succumbed to Southampton after Wilfried Bony saw red. Try them on the Asian Handicap (0) at 9/10 – a draw gets you your money back.
Arsenal vs Tottenham (Sat, 5:30pm)
A 3-0 win at Villa was just what Dr. Wenger ordered after a patchy start to the season (albeit unbeaten) from the Gunners, though they lost out to Southampton in midweek at the Emirates. Tottenham came from behind to beat Nottingham Forest on Wednesday night, but Mauricio Pochettino will almost certainly still be smarting from Spurs’ 1-0 reverse at home to West Brom, in which they were dreadful. They’ve got a dreary recent derby record to turn around here too: Tottenham have lost 4 of their last 5 league games against Arsenal (8/11 for the win here), and won only 2 of the previous 21 at the home of their north London rivals.
Best bet: It’s all about the net-busters in this fixture – 4 more will make it the goaliest fixture in Premier League history. With that in mind, take more than 3.5 goals at 7/4. Both sides have got it in them.
West Brom vs Burnley (Sun, 4pm)
Just when you think West Brom are going to roll over and give up on life, they go and win twice in the space of a week. First the Baggies went and picked up three richly deserved points at White Hart Lane for their first league win of the campaign, before a rousing late comeback from 2-1 down earned them a place in the fourth round of the League Cup. They might well find some more joy against Burnley too on this most superfluous of Super Sundays, a side on track to join Arsenal and Tottenham as the only teams to record 4 consecutive 0-0 Premier League bore draws.
Best bet: The top flight’s two lowest scorers go head to head. Surely it has to continue that way. If you’re feeling pessimistic then another 0-0 is 8/1, but both teams not to score at 4/5 is probably the one.
Stoke vs Newcastle (Mon, 8pm)
Both of these sides are struggling in the league, but they each claimed midweek League Cup wins; Stoke over Sunderland on Tuesday night. And yes, even Newcastle, who rallied with 10 men to beat Crystal Palace 3-2 in extra-time. The Magpies are bottom of the Premier League and winless, though, with calls for Alan Pardew’s head so strong that a surprisingly well-organised website has been created to help push it through. Papiss Cisse came off the bench to rescue a point at Hull, while this weekend’s opponents were undone by a late goal themselves at QPR. Mark Hughes has called for his side to make the Britannia Stadium a fortress again – and this doesn’t look like a bad place to start.
Best bet: Stoke are 11/10 to win. Take it and run. Run straight home and don't stop till you get there.
The FourFourTwo five-for
Stoke (9/4) vs Newcastle
Nottingham Forest (23/20) vs Brighton
Bradford (21/20) vs Port Vale
Exeter vs Bury (11/10)
AFC Telford vs Torquay (4/7)
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Odds correct at time of publishing