FFT's Joe Brewin tells you the best bets from each Premier League game this weekend - and his finger-lickin' five-fold...
QPR vs Stoke (Sat, 12:45pm)
Two sides in need of a good performance go head-to-head at Loftus Road, with both looking to get over disappointing results last weekend. QPR have come badly unstuck against the Premier League’s better sides so far, shipping 4 goals to both Tottenham and Manchester United, but earned their first win of the season with a 1-0 home shutout against Sunderland before the international break. Stoke lost at Leicester after nicking three points off Manchester City, and so far look better away from the Britannia Stadium. They can be backed at a tempting 13/8 here to build on their Etihad triumph.
Best bet: Stoke games have produced the fewest goals per game in the top flight this season (1.25). Under 2.5 goals is a lean 8/15, however, so beef up your coupon with a punt on a Potters win to nil at 3/1.
Aston Villa vs Arsenal (Sat, 3pm)
Aston Villa haven’t won against Arsenal at Villa Park since December 1998, a dismal run stretching 15 games. They’ve got as good a chance as any of doing it this weekend, though, after recording 3 wins from their first 4 games - including one at Anfield. Last weekend we pointed to the tempting 16/1 on offer for Gabriel Agbonlahor to net first, but this week the Villa striker (along with partner Andreas Weimann) is a more modest 9/1 to open the scoring. Arsenal suffered an energy-sapping defeat in Dortmund on Tuesday, and after 3 consecutive draws in the league will be determined to put it right here.
Best bet: Arsenal have conceded a headed goal in each of their 4 Premier League games this season, and former Gunner Philippe Senderos is worth a shot to net first at a tasty 50/1 after his Anfield efforts. For a more sensible effort ("boooo," you say), an Arsenal clean sheet is 6/4 - Villa have registered a league-low 6 shots on target this season.
Burnley vs Sunderland (Sat, 3pm)
Burnley are still seeking their first win of the season after fluffing their big chance at Selhurst Park, when Scott Arfield saw his late penalty saved by Julian Speroni. The same applies to Sunderland, who have drawn 3 of their 4 games and lost at QPR, with 0 of their strikers finding the net yet. The signs for a low scorer are ominous; no side has bagged fewer than Burnley (1), though this weekend’s opponents are yet to keep a clean sheet.
Best bet: Both teams not to score at 4/5 isn’t too shabby given the evidence above, but at evs there’s good value in Sunderland winning either half too - if they can rediscover some of the spirit that earned them big results at both Manchester clubs and Chelsea last season.
Newcastle vs Hull (Sat, 3pm)
Another dreary Saturday afternoon for Newcastle passed without Alan Pardew losing his job. The Toon Army are restless - as they have been for some time - but this weekend their efforts look to be stepped up with a mass protest at St James’ Park. With 2 points from 4 games the Magpies prop up the rest, after a 4-0 defeat at Southampton racked up their ninth defeat in 12 Premier League games. Are Hull confident enough to make it No.10? The Tigers have hardly begun the season in fine fettle, and won only 4 of their 21 away games since the start of last season. Call it a draw at 12/5?
Best bet: Newcastle haven’t scored in 3 of their 4 games; Hull only hit more than 1 for the first time against West Ham on Monday. Both teams not to score is nice at 10/11.
Swansea vs Southampton (Sat, 3pm)
Two of the campaign’s strong starters meet at the Liberty Stadium aiming to build on their goaly beginnings, having both netted 8 times (beaten only by Everton and Chelsea). Traditionally, however, this fixture is anything but - there have been just 5 net-ripplers in their 4 Premier League meetings. Bah, history. Morgan Schneiderlin already has more goals this season (3) than last (2) and is a cool 20/1 to break the deadlock, while 3-goal Graziano Pelle is a tempting 13/2.
Best bet: Betting based on history isn’t often advised, but this does have all the makings of a low scorer. Of Swansea’s 5 goals shipped this season, 4 came at Chelsea, while only Villa (1) have conceded fewer goals than Southampton (3). Under 2.5 goals is a good 4/5 bet, with the 9s on offer for 0-0 a little more ambitious.
West Ham vs Liverpool (Sat, 5:30pm)
West Ham eventually came out of a topsy-turvy encounter with Hull unscatched, which didn’t quite happen for Liverpool at home to Villa. The Reds were run close by Bulgarian side Ludogorets on Tuesday, and could find things tough again this weekend in a fixture they were fortunate to win 2-1 last season. Steven Gerrard netted both - 6 of his 7 goals against the Hammers came at Upton Park - and it’s 3/1 he does it again at anytime here.
Best bet: Time for something a little different - take evens on the second half being the highest scoring, as has been the case in 3 of these sides’ 4 games this season.
Leicester vs Man United (Sun, 1:30pm)
Leicester have performed like stubborn mules in every game this season, defending resolutely and hitting teams where it hurts on the break. This weekend they come up against a Manchester United side bolstered by superstars, boosted by a 4-0 win over QPR and bragging a fearsome record against the Foxes. The former champions have won their last 9 against the East Midlands side, shipping only 1 goal in their last 8 meetings. United have, however, won only 4 of their last 17 Premier League games on a Sunday (D7 L6).
Best bet: United haven’t turned a corner completely yet - they still exposed themselves to QPR on occasions - but could be a good shout to net over 2.5 goals at 9/4. Radamel Falcao is itching for his first start.
Tottenham vs West Brom (Sun, 1:30pm)
On paper it seems this one is going only one way with each team’s respective starts in mind. Tottenham have started brightly, and should have easily walked away from the Stadium of Light with all three points last weekend, while West Brom are winless in 4 under new management and struggling at the sharp end. The Baggies haven’t netted since the opening day against Sunderland, and have conceded at least twice in all but 1 game this season. It’s not going to get much easier for Alan Irvine.
Best bet: A Tottenham win to nil at 8/5 would be their third of the season, following shutouts of West Ham and QPR. Defensive improvements on deadline day should reinforce that.
Everton vs Crystal Palace (Sun, 4pm)
Everton finally got off the mark with a comfortable 2-0 win over West Brom at The Hawthorns, while Crystal Palace scrapped to a goalless draw against Burnley in Neil Warnock’s first game back at Selhurst Park. The Eagles frustrated their Merseyside rivals in both matches last season, with a goalless draw in south London followed by a shock win at Goodison, but a slow start this time makes a repeat look unlikely. Warnock’s winless side have struggled for consistency, and another tough game surely awaits here.
Best bet: Everton have led at half-time in 3 of 4 games this season, and a HT/FT win double for the Toffees is available at evs.
Man City vs Chelsea (Sun, 4pm)
It’s the one you’ve all been waiting for, ladies and gents. The Premier League front-runners go head-to-head at the Etihad with City already five points behind their London rivals after dropping them against Stoke and Arsenal. Chelsea have made light work of their relatively easy start, winning 4 of 4 thanks to Diego Costa’s silly form in front of goal (7 already). The Brazil-born striker only came on as a sub in the midweek draw with Schalke, but can be backed at 13/10 to net anytime upon his inevitable return.
City’s answer to the free-scoring newbie is Sergio Aguero, the Argentine having netted 10 goals in his last 12 Premier League appearances at the Etihad. Another certainly wouldn’t hurt against the Blues (get him at 4/1 to hit first), who took 16 of a possible 18 points in games against the top four last season (W5 D1), including two wins over City. Game on.
Best bet: Chelsea look big at 19/10 to get the win, but with Jose Mourinho traditionally setting up his teams not to lose in these big games, the evs available for under 2.5 goals looks good value.
The FourFourTwo five-for
(Because everyone likes a Saturday accy.)
Millwall vs Nottingham Forest (11/8)
Plymouth (4/5) vs Hartlepool
Cheltenham (17/20) vs Dagenham
Mansfield (17/20) vs Carlisle
Paderborn vs Hannover (11/8)
£5 returns £177.89
Odds correct at time of publishing