The FFT Flutter: City stuck at Arsenal, surprise Selhurst value and a fruity five-fold
Arsenal vs Man City (Sat, 12:45pm)
Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off is a big ‘un. The first of two huge games for these sides this week is not one either will want to lose, both having already dropped points disappointingly. With that, the draw at 5/2 is worth considering – not least with Arsenal’s exceptional record against the Blues in north London. City have won only 1 of their 17 Prem fixtures at Arsenal since 1992, that 2-0 victory (Jan 2013) being the only time they’ve netted more than once along the way. 3 of the last 5 have ended in stalemates.
Best bet: 7 of the 8 Emirates tussles have produced under 2.5 goals. Back a low-scoring repeat at evens.
Chelsea vs Swansea (Sat, 3pm)
You won’t find much value in adding the Blues to your coupon this weekend – at 1/4 the title favourites aren’t worth the short punt against a Swans side who’ve begun the season strongly. Indeed, this pits the top two teams against one another after their 100% starts, Garry Monk’s visitors having conceded just once in three games (at Old Trafford).
Best bet: 0 of the last 7 games between the two sides has featured more than 2 goals – meaning Chelsea haven’t dominated. Swansea (+2) at 5/6 looks a go-er.
Crystal Palace vs Burnley (Sat, 3pm)
So maybe it’s a game you might nod off to during Match of the Day. After all, this pair prop up the table after three games, but don’t be put off. Burnley are still finding their feet in the top flight, having struggled to hit the net so far (just once, though consider they’ve faced Chelsea and Man United), but could find more joy against a Palace side who’ve already shipped 8 goals. Wilfried Zaha returns to Selhurst Park for the first time since re-joining on loan, meanwhile, with the loanee available at 13/5 to net anytime – as he did so, twice, in this fixture two years ago.
Best bet: The 11/10 Eagles are a solid option for your accumulator, but instead put your money on them netting more than 1.5 goals (5/4) against the newly promoted side.
Southampton vs Newcastle (Sat, 3pm)
First things first – Newcastle don’t really do clean sheets against Southampton. The Magpies have recorded only 1 in their last 14 Premier League games against the Saints, and last prevented them scoring on home soil in 1969. It doesn’t help considering Alan Pardew’s men are pretty poor on the road, having won 0 of their last 6 and netting in just 2 of their last 9 away from St James' Park. They snapped up Emmanuel Riviere from Monaco this summer, but the Tynesiders are still a little short at the sharp end.
Best bet: Take Southampton to win to nil at 15/8 if you’re feeling fruity; otherwise snaffle the shutout at 5/4.
Stoke vs Leicester (Sat, 3pm)
Last time Leicester travelled to Stoke for a league game they got relegated to the third tier of English football. The Foxes return for a happier occasion this time out, although still looking for their first win after a tricky opening three fixtures. Stoke are unbeaten in 5 home meetings (W4) with this weekend’s visitors, but are still being worked out this season after losing to Aston Villa, only claiming a draw against 10-man Hull before seeing off Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium. Which team will turn up this week?
Best bet: Leicester have hurt teams with their impressive counter-attacking, but they’re also good value to concede. Over 2.5 goals at 13/10 is worth an investment.
Sunderland vs Tottenham (Sat, 3pm)
Weird ol’ Sunderland don’t really know what to do with themselves either. They threw away points on the opening day, took one off Man United (well, doesn’t everyone these days?) and then lost at QPR. Problems up front haven’t been solved, with neither of their three main strikers scoring yet. Tottenham need to get over their 3-0 humbling from Liverpool, and should at least solidify going forward with the introductions of newbies Federico Fazio and Benjamin Stambouli.
Best bet: Spurs have a handy knack of eking out wins at the Stadium of Light: 3 in the last 4 seasons, all by 2-1 scorelines. Take them head on at 11/10.
West Brom vs Everton (Sat, 3pm)
Two of the six sides with two draws and no win clash at The Hawthorns after mixed starts. Everton have thrown away 3 leads this season (to Leicester and Arsenal), while West Brom haven’t yet moved out of second gear against relatively ‘meh’ opposition. They need to, though, after getting mullered 3-0 at Swansea and not scoring since the opening day. The Baggies have drawn 7 of their last 10 at home, although Everton have seen just 1 stalemate in their last 9 on the road. Something has to give – and if we’re choosing, Everton look steady at 11/10.
Best bet: One might enjoy seeing Samuel Eto’o break his peculiar away hoodoo (7/4 to score anytime), but Steven Naismith is a much more sensible punt at 9/4 after netting in every game this term.
Liverpool vs Aston Villa (Sat, 5:30pm)
The first of five frankly horrible fixtures for Villa (Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City and Everton all to follow, folks) comes at Anfield, where Paul Lambert’s men (who, incidentally, is unbeaten there with two clubs: W1 D2) threatened to win last season before surrendering their two-goal lead. There’s no Christian Benteke this time, but in Gabby Agbonlahor and Andreas Weimann the Villans are well stocked with forwards in form (and either can be backed at a tasty 16/1 to score first). Liverpool aren’t bad in that department, mind, with two-goal Raheem Sterling in particularly fine fettle. With action at both ends likely, throwing some coin at both teams scoring (evs) seems logical.
Best bet: Golden boy Sterling to shine again – back him at 8/5 for a net-rippler at any time.
Man United vs QPR (Sun, 4pm)
Only one of these teams has won this season, and it isn’t the 20-time champions. The bookies aren’t concerned about a repeat, however, with the Reds just 1/4 to do the job this time against a QPR side who got off the mark against Sunderland at Loftus Road before the international break. ‘Arry abandoned his 3-5-2 with success for a 1-0 win; relief after shipping 5 without reply in 2 games against Hull and Spurs. Things won’t be so easy here, though, after United’s lavish spending spree. If you’re interested, United’s deadline-day signing Radamel Falcao can be backed at 12/5 to net first.
Best bet: Louis van Gaal’s men come up against old boy Rio Ferdinand, who’s not quite what he used to be. With a ravenous frontline hungry to make an impression at Old Trafford, have a whirl on 15/8 United (-2) to send the Championship play-off winners home unhappy.
Hull vs West Ham (Mon, 8pm)
Monday Night Football, everybody! You there at the back, stop groaning. Fine, so it’s not the most exciting game to look forward to after work, but nothing says ‘interest’ like a little flutter. Hull won this fixture 1-0 last season, but it’s the Hammers who’ve won 4 of the last 5 meetings between the pair, including both in the Championship (2009/10). The hosts are seeking a first win in 4 at home, having also won just 3 of their last 13 at the KC Stadium. Steve Bruce will be keen to see his injection of deadline-day flair (see Abel Hernandez, Hatem Ben Arfa and Gaston Ramirez) change that.
Best bet: Hull conceded only 13 goals in 18 games against bottom-half opposition last season; West Ham only 1 more. Does a snooze-fest await? 0-0 is available at 7/1, but with Hull’s patchy home form in mind, a value pick looks good in West Ham Draw No Bet at 6/4.
The FourFourTwo five-for
(Because everyone likes an ambitious Saturday accy.)
Crystal Palace (11/10) vs Burnley
Blackpool vs Wolves (3/4)
Bristol City (10/11) vs Doncaster
Walsall vs Preston (6/5)
Burton (evs) vs York
£5 returns: £154.35
Odds correct at time of publishing