Let FFT's Joe Brewin guide you through your weekend Premier League coupon...
Chelsea vs West Brom (Sat, 3pm)
Defeats to West Brom ultimately cost both Andre Villas-Boas and Roberto Di Matteo (a former Baggies boss) their jobs in 2012. Yet even since those back-to-back defeats the Blues have only conquered their West Midland foes once in the next three meetings, drawing the most recent two last season. But this Chelsea are a different beast and don’t look like caving to anyone. Unbeaten and top after 11 games, Jose Mourinho’s men have also recovered the most points from losing positions in the Premier League (9) this season and subsequently lead with a commanding four-point advantage. Diego Costa must keep up, though - the Spain man is 2 goals behind Sergio Aguero. Back him at 9/4 to hit first.
Best bet: Chelsea have won 10 of their last 13 league games to nil at Stamford Bridge, and you can get them at 5/6 doing the same against a Baggies side who’ve bagged only 3 goals in 5 away trips so far.
Everton vs West Ham (Sat, 3pm)
One of the more intriguing match-ups of the weekend sees under-par Everton take on a high-flying West Ham team that clung onto fourth place going into the international break. The Hammers are enjoying their joint-best start to a Premier League season (equalling their tallies from 2005/06 and 2012/13), are unbeaten in 5 league games and looking to go one better for the first time since January 2009. After back-to-back draws, Everton sit 10th but could draw to within a point of this weekend’s opponents with victory. The good news? They’re unbeaten in their last 12 Premier League games against West Ham (W8 D4).
Best bet: The bookies are still favouring a home win at 8/11, but West Ham have proved plucky adversaries away this term - they’ve lost just once, at Old Trafford, and last time out claimed a point at Stoke after clawing back a two-goal deficit. The draw-West Ham Double Chance is 23/20.
Leicester vs Sunderland (Sat, 3pm)
Poor Leicester thought they’d cracked the Premier League after five games, but the following six have proved anything but rosy for the promoted Foxes. After 5 defeats in 6 and 4 on the spin - Nigel Pearson’s mob have fallen into the drop zone desperately short of the goals required to keep their heads above water. (They’ve failed to net in all of those defeats.) But they could leapfrog Sunderland with a win, the Black Cats having won just 2 of their last 12 league matches (D6 L4) but claiming positive results from their most recent games against Crystal Palace and Everton. They’ve lost 0 of the last 5 meetings with Leicester, but haven’t played them since 2007 nor won at the King Power Stadium in the Premier League.
Best bet: Leicester have conceded first in 9 of their 11 games this season, and kept only 1 clean sheet. Sunderland to continue the trend is 11/8.
Man City vs Swansea (Sat, 3pm)
Whisper it quietly, but Manchester City have one point more than they did at this stage last season. Unfortunately for Manuel Pellegrini’s men, though, Chelsea have got their act together this time and already lead them by a worrying eight points after City slipped up against West Ham and QPR in the last month. Home form hasn’t been a huge concern, though, bar a shock defeat to Stoke that was only Pellegrini’s second in 24 league games at the Etihad Stadium. Swansea, on the other hand, haven’t won away since beating Man United at Old Trafford on the opening day, but remain only three points behind City as they enjoy their best start to a Premier League campaign. They’ll be confident after beating Arsenal.
Best bet: But will it be enough? On reflection, perhaps not. 12-goal Sergio Aguero is in imperious form, but between them the two sides have shipped only 23 goals in 22 games this season. Under 2.5 is 7/5.
Newcastle vs QPR (Sat, 3pm)
Four wins on the trot makes for delightful reading where Newcastle fans are concerned, with their 2-0 win at West Brom propelling them to the dizzy heights of 8th. They haven’t won 5 in a row since April 2012, but also haven’t lost to QPR in their last 8 meetings stretching back to September 2009. It also helps that Harry Redknapp’s side bemoan the worst away record this season, netting just twice in their 5 trips. Form has improved - not least Charlie Austin and his 4 goals in 3 games - but the numbers stack against them here.
Best bet: Newcastle have won 4 of their last 5 games to nil in all competitions. Could they do it again against the west Londoners? 21/10 says yes.
Stoke vs Burnley (Sat, 3pm)
That 3 of Stoke’s 4 wins this season have come against Man City, Swansea and Spurs tells you Mark Hughes’ men have been frustrating this season. They’ve also lost to Aston Villa, Leicester and Sunderland, and failed to beat QPR and West Ham, the latter after boasting a two-goal lead. So you can forgive Potters fans for not thinking bottom side Burnley is a banker - not least after the Clarets won their first game of the season against Hull pre-internationals. Sean Dyche will have enjoyed the break a little more than usual, but knows his side still face an uphill struggle - not least in front of goal, where they’ve netted just 6 all season.
Best bet: 46% of the goals Stoke have conceded this season have come from set-pieces, the highest proportion in the top flight. Burnley, meanwhile, have conceded more headed goals than any other team this season (8). At home, Hughes’ men should be able to fulfil scoring Over 1.5 goals at 4/5.
Arsenal vs Man United (Sat, 5:30pm)
It’s a Saturday teatime shootout at the Emirates as Danny Welbeck and Robin van Persie both face their former clubs; Welbeck for the first time since jumping ship on deadline day. Neither side have performed anything like they should have done this season, having each won just 4 of their first 11 games with only a point separating them in the table. Arsenal have dropped more points from winning positions than any other team this season (9), after throwing away the lead at Swansea. More positively, Alexis Sanchez has scored first more often than any other player this season (5 times), and the Chilean is 5/1 to do it again against the Reds. Van Persie is a tempting 13/2 to open the scoring against the side he left in 2012.
Best bet: Forget last season’s 0-0 borefest at the Emirates - this time there’s more at stake and both teams are craving maximum points. The game should open up, allowing for either side to continue their pattern of more entertaining second halves. Arsenal have netted 63% of their goals after half-time this season; United have conceded 64% of theirs after the break. Take a highest-scoring second half at evens.
Crystal Palace vs Liverpool (Sun, 1:30pm)
Liverpool return to the scene of the crime, after throwing away a three-goal lead at Selhurst Park last season - and with it the Premier League title for good. Since then it’s been largely downhill, who lost Luis Suarez and have suffered in the Uruguayan’s absence, winning just 2 of their last 8 Premier League games. Thankfully, Palace aren’t faring much better; winless in 5 and only out of the bottom three on goal difference. The Eagles have conceded at least twice in 4 of those games, but the Reds have shipped 18 in their last 9 away games.
Best bet: Only two sides’ games have averaged more goals than Palace’s (3.09) this season, while 64% of Liverpool matches have produced Over 2.5 goals. Back it at a generous 19/20.
Hull vs Tottenham (Sun, 4pm)
Hull host Tottenham with three ex-Spurs men among their ranks at the KC Stadium on Sunday, as both teams look to turn around dismal starts to the campaign. Michael Dawson, Jake Livermore and Tom Huddlestone are all expected to line up for the Tigers against their old club, who lost at Stoke before the international interruption and are enduring their worst start to a Premier League season since 2008/09. It’s no better for Hull, though, who are still suffering a post-FA Cup final malaise having won just 1 of their last 10 league games and lost to Burnley in their last outing. Steve Bruce’s boys have failed to net in 3, and failed to win any of their last 5 games against Spurs. It could be a long afternoon for at least one of these sides.
Best bet: Conceding inside the first 15 minutes is what these teams do best. Hull have done it the most times (5) this season, with Spurs not far behind (4) after succumbing to Bojan’s early Stoke goal. But as favourites, Tottenham to score in the first half is a reasonable 10/11 - generally, goals haven’t been an issue.
Aston Villa vs Southampton (Mon, 8pm)
Monday night’s kick-off sees Villa trying to stop the Saints juggernaut from winning its ninth game in 10 and keeping pace with Chelsea at the top. Unsurprisingly, Southampton have never enjoyed a better start in the top flight and boast the best defensive record of any side in England after keeping 4 consecutive clean sheets. It’s set up for another victory against a struggling Villa side winless in 7, having achieved the fewest shots on target in the Premier League this season (23). Even Burnley (6) have scored more goals than they have (5).
Best bet: Shot-shy Villa versus solid and in-form Saints? Surely there’s only one winner. This blog has pointed regularly to Southampton wins to nil throughout the season, and at 7/4 there’s no reason to change tact here. Alternatively, the slightly safer clean sheet is 6/5.
The FourFourTwo five-for
Blackburn (4/6) vs Leeds
Notts County (7/5) vs Yeovil
Sheff United (11/10) vs Oldham
Tranmere vs Southend (7/5)
Macclesfield (4/6) vs Alfreton
£5 returns: £167.95
Odds correct at time of publishing