It’s a huge weekend in the Premier League with a number of high-profile games to get stuck into. Pick of the bunch is arguably the meeting on Sunday between Chelsea and Manchester United, although the fixture between Manchester City and Arsenal runs it very close for top billing.
The best game from a betting perspective, however, is a mid-table affair on the South coast where Southampton host Burnley. Sean Dyche’s Clarets have had such a good start to the season that the manager is being linked with the vacant Everton job. Burnley are up to 7th in the Premier League table after last week’s 1-0 win over Newcastle and they’ve had some impressive results on the road this term. Those include a victory at Chelsea and draws away at both Spurs and Liverpool. Southampton are unbeaten in three and are up to 10th place in the league, but the bookmakers may have underestimated the visitors in this one.
Saturday evening sees a televised game between West Ham and Liverpool which looks primed for goals. The Hammers are the epitome of inconsistency this season under Slaven Bilic, following up a 3-0 home defeat to Brighton with a 3-2 away win at Spurs, before drawing 2-2 at Crystal Palace. Liverpool have had their own issues in the league too. The Reds are in 6th place right now – a huge 12 points behind leaders Man City.
Sunday afternoon’s game will see Chelsea take on Manchester United at Stamford Bridge, but judging by Jose Mourinho’s usual tactics away from home, it may not be the thriller neutrals will hope for. Defence is the name of the game on the road for United, and they’ve managed three clean sheets in the last four away from home. Chelsea arrive off the back of a poor performance in the 3-0 Champions League defeat at Roma, and although their matches have seen plenty of goals in recent times, Antonio Conte has made no secret of his desire to tighten up at the back.
Southampton v Burnley
Brave punters can take the +550 about a Burnley win, but we’re erring on the side of caution by backing them to get at least a draw at odds of +137 with Bet365.
Let’s start with the Clarets. They’ve been widely applauded this season not only for results but also for the nature of their performances. Sean Dyche has instilled a team ethic in his players which means they work extremely hard for 90 minutes and are incredibly well organised. It’s no surprise that they have the best defensive record in the league outside of the top three, and they have become a team which is very hard-to-beat. If there is a negative it is that they don’t score enough goals, but one suspects that Dyche will take 1-0 wins all day long.
Southampton are a much harder side to predict, but as it stands they have won just two of their last nine games. The Saints have also been far from foot-perfect at home. They were held to a 0-0 draw by Swansea at the start of the season and it took a last-minute penalty to beat 10-man West Ham. They’ve subsequently been beaten on their own patch by Wolves (cup), Watford and Manchester United, but have improved slightly of late with a 2-2 draw against Newcastle and a 1-0 win over West Brom. That set of results certainly won’t strike fear into the hearts of Burnley players, however, and the away side are over the odds to get a result on Saturday afternoon.
West Ham v Liverpool
Later in the day West Ham host Liverpool at the London Stadium and over 2.5 goals at -152 with 888Sport looks a solid bet.
The Hammers were woeful defensively in the 2-2 draw at Crystal Palace, giving up chance after chance before Zaha eventually hit the equaliser deep into stoppage time. Slaven Bilic is still under immense pressure to improve results, but the visit of a free-scoring Liverpool side is not a fixture he will be relishing. It is true that West Ham often raise their game against ‘better’ opponents, but they were thumped 4-0 here by the Reds back in May of last season and a similar result looks every bit as likely as a home win.
Jurgen Klopp was able to rotate his squad for the home game in the Champions League against Maribor in midweek, so there should be no concerns over fitness and sharpness. Each of Liverpool’s last four games have had three or more goals, and while they have kept clean sheets in three of those, the Reds attacking nature always leaves them exposed to conceding at the other end.
Chelsea v Manchester United
It’s the opposite bet in the Chelsea versus Man United fixture, largely due to Jose Mourinho’s management style. Under 2.5 goals is listed at -156 with 888Sport.
The Red Devils frustrated Liverpool in the 0-0 draw at Anfield and it has been a feature of the Portuguese manager’s tactics to keep it tight away at title rivals. The strategy of at least drawing away and aiming to win at home against other top sides has served Mourinho well over the years, and it will be no great surprise to see United set up not to concede at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
The game comes at a time when a few question marks are hovering over the Blues. Back-to-back defeats to Palace and Man City were a blow, while they have been outplayed twice by Roma in the 3-3 draw at home and the 3-0 defeat in midweek. Wins against Watford, Everton (cup) and Bournemouth haven’t been altogether convincing, and most notably, Chelsea don’t look exceptional going forward.
Six of the last seven meetings between these two sides have had less than the requisite three goals and another low-scoring encounter looks to be on the cards.
Burnley or draw – Double chance
Saturday 4th November, 15:00 GMT
West Ham v Liverpool – Over 2.5 goals
Saturday 4th November, 17:30 GMT
Chelsea v Manchester United – Under 2.5 goals
Sunday 5th November, 16:30 GMT
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