Pondering where to place a wager this weekend? Let FFT's Joe Brewin lend a helping hand with your coupon...
West Ham vs Man City (Sat, 12:45pm)
Generally speaking, Manchester City have pretty good recent memories of West Ham. They won last season’s title against the Hammers, one of 4 victories against Sam Allardyce’s men in all competitions (two in both legs of the League Cup semi-final; overall F14 A1). Meanwhile, they’ve restricted the east Londoners to just 1 point from the last 18 available in matches between the two sides. But this is a different West Ham – one that’s fourth in the table after picking up 3 wins in 4, and conceding only 3 goals along the way.
Diafra Sakho is only the second player in Premier League history (after Mick Quinn) to score in each of his first 5 starts, and the Senegalese is a generous 11/4 to make it happen again.
Best bet: You should expect a tight one – West Ham have allowed fewer clear-cut chances (7) than any other top-flight team this season. But where there’s Sergio Aguero (9 in 8), there’s usually a way. Back the Argentine to net anytime at 4/5.
Liverpool vs Hull (Sat, 3pm)
Oh, Liverpool. Just when things were already rocky, the Reds go and concede 3 at home to Real Madrid in 18 mad first-half minutes, including another from a relatively feeble set-piece. They made a meal of their late victory at QPR last weekend too, and have kept just 1 clean sheet in their last 14 Premier League games. Hull, meanwhile, are 1 of only 3 teams to net in every game. Weirdly, the Tigers have scored exactly 2 goals in 7 of their last 8 games (all competitions). Both teams to score here is 8/11.
Best bet: Liverpool’s home form is patchy, having won just 5 of their last 11 league games at Anfield. Bearing in mind their current defensive woes, take on the draw-Hull Double Chance at 9/5.
Southampton vs Stoke (Sat, 3pm)
After sticking 8 past Sunderland last weekend, Southampton now welcome a team whose defensive record is bettered by only three others, but whose scoring form is worsened by only as many. It’s with little surprise, then, that Stoke games are only second to Aston Villa’s in the snooze stakes, averaging a paltry 2.13 goals. None of that here, though: Dusan Tadic (29 goals, 36 assists in his last 74 league games) and Graziano Pelle (56 goals in 65) are about. At the other end, the Saints have kept clean sheets in 3 of their last 4 at St Mary’s.
Best bet: Stoke still don’t seem sure of themselves, and against a Southampton side high on confidence that may mean bad news. The Potters have scored in every away game so far this season but won only 1 of them (at the Etihad). Southampton win to nil at 8/5.
Sunderland vs Arsenal (Sat, 3pm)
Another fine mess you’ve gotten yourselves into, boys. We could be speaking to managers of both sides here, but the majority of finger-wagging is reserved for Gus Poyet and his band of not-so-merry men after their ludicrous humping on the south coast. It means the Black Cats have won only 1 of their opening 8 games, but remain unbeaten at home. Arsenal are already flapping 11 points behind Chelsea, having won just 1 more game than this weekend’s opponents, and could record their worst-ever points tally under Wenger after 9 games by failing to win (they’re 8/13 to register three points).
Best bet: Arsenal need to win, as they have done on their last 2 visits to the Stadium of Light. Generally speaking, though, Sunderland aren’t as easy to crack as they seem. Back Under 2.5 goals at 19/20.
West Brom vs Crystal Palace (Sat, 3pm)
After a rough start, West Brom have spent the last month proving why they won’t be relegation candidates this season. Only an 87th-minute Daley Blind equaliser at The Hawthorns stood between them and victory over Manchester United on Monday, following a hard-fought battle at Anfield before the international break which saw them leave with nothing.
Saido Berahino netted in both games, taking his tally to 7 in 10 so far for the season (all competitions). The England Under-21 starlet loves home soil, and is 7/5 to breach Palace’s rearguard. Back-to-back defeats has put Neil Warnock’s side on the back foot, with a leaky defence (14 conceded) their biggest problem.
Best bet: 3 of West Brom's 4 home games, and 3 of Palace's 4 away games have produced Over 2.5 goals, so you should back at repeat at 19/20.
Swansea vs Leicester (Sat, 5:30pm)
Two sides sliding down the table meet at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday evening aiming to record their first wins in at least a month. Swansea are winless in 5 after going down at Stoke last weekend, while Leicester haven’t tasted victory in 3 since their dramatic comeback against Manchester United. The Foxes have scored in only 1 of their 4 away matches, meanwhile, but not conceded more than 2 on their travels either.
Best bet: It’s likely to be a quiet one, with Nigel Pearson’s men happy to soak it up and see what happens. Under 2.5 goals is evens.
Burnley vs Everton (Sun, 1:30pm)
Burnley have at least managed to score in their last 2 games, but they still look fairly hopeless up front and aren’t likely to shut out Everton at the other end this weekend – The Toffees have scored in every game so far. The Clarets came undone against West Ham at Turf Moor last weekend, failing to make their promising first half count for anything before capitulating after half-time and losing 3-1.
Everton looked back to something near their best against Aston Villa, winning 3-0 after welcoming back Ross Barkley and Seamus Coleman. Roberto Martinez will see this one as an ideal opportunity for his side to re-establish some momentum.
Best bet: Everton might be second to QPR (18) in goals conceded (16), but their revived side pack the firepower required to knock down Burnley early. Sean Dyche’s men can be tamed easily enough, it seems. A Toffees win to nil is worth pursuing at 2/1.
Tottenham vs Newcastle (Sun, 1.30pm)
Tottenham will hope their Europa League visit of Asteras Tripolis won’t get in the way of a morale-boosting return to winning ways when Newcastle visit White Hart Lane on Sunday. Mauricio Pochettino’s side were put to the sword by Sergio Aguero at Man City last weekend, despite playing well in parts, meaning they've won only 1 of their last 6 Premier League matches. Newcastle finally got off the mark with victory over Leicester at St James’ Park, but haven’t won in 9 road trips stretching back to March 1 at Hull.
Best bet: The Magpies have failed to score in 4 of their games this season, with 3 of those occasions coming on their travels. Tottenham can manage this one with a -1 handicap at 8/5.
Man United vs Chelsea (Sun, 4pm)
Back-to-back wins! And then... bah, a late draw at West Brom. Will Manchester United find some momentum soon? With the fixtures coming up, they may well need it. After this follows the derby next weekend, plus a trip to Arsenal before November’s end. Chelsea have no such problems, having won their 7th game of the season at Crystal Palace last time out. The Blues’ sturdy rearguard is keeping things tight, though Jose Mourinho’s men haven’t yet managed a shutout away from home (12/5 says they do here). Louis van Gaal has problems at the back (what’s new?) but at least has key men returning at the right time (ah).
Best bet: Juan Mata is 9/1 to open the scoring against his former club in Wayne Rooney’s continued absence, but for something more realistic take Chelsea head on at 7/5.
QPR vs Aston Villa (Mon, 8pm)
QPR have conceded at least 2 goals in each of their last 5 league games, but if there’s one side to come along and lend a helping hand it’s Aston Villa. Paul Lambert’s shot-shy counter-attackers have managed fewer efforts on target (12) than 3 individual players already have done (Aguero, Pelle, Costa), and only Burnley can match their woeful goal tally (4). Four straight defeats, all to nil (with 11 conceded), have seen them plummet down the table. But the good news is that their horror run of fixtures is over, and Christian Benteke is back in action. At least opponents QPR are miserable at the bottom of the table with just 4 points to their name and another embarrassing saga to distract them from the task at hand.
Best bet: The R’s are at least capable of scoring; 5 in the last 2 games at Loftus Road yielding just a point. But this is against a truly unimaginative Villa side who are badly out of form. Dare we say it... QPR to win at 11/8.
The FourFourTwo five-for
Millwall vs Cardiff (9/5)
Derby (4/6) vs Wigan
Ipswich (19/20) vs Huddersfield
Scunthorpe vs Notts County (7/4)
Luton (21/20) vs Northampton
£5 returns: £256.50
Odds correct at time of publishing