Sunday’s Premier League action brings us four games to get stuck into as teams back up from European football during the week. Manchester United return to Old Trafford after a midweek 4-0 thumping of Feyenoord, while Arsenal are back at the Emirates after an entertaining 2-2 draw with PSG in the Champions League. The Red Devils face a struggling West Ham side, and the Gunners host a Bournemouth side which will be robbed of the services of Arsenal loanee Jack Wilshere.
However the bet of the day concerns sides which have had no such continental adventures. Watford take on Stoke in a typical mid-table battle, but the Hornets look overpriced to get the better of the Potters on home soil. 8th in the table Watford have won three of their last four home matches, including wins over Manchester United and Leicester. Stoke are solid in 13th, but their only three wins of the season have come against the bottom three, and that’s a damning statistic.
Watford v Stoke
We’ll start with the Hornets, who are a generous +145 with BetVictor to beat Stoke at Vicarage Road.
Watford have quietly worked their way up the Premier League table under Walter Mazzarri, and with 18 points in 8th place, they’re on the verge of a European challenge. It’s been just two defeats in the last nine league matches, and they’ve picked up five victories in that sequence. The last four home games have seen them beat Man United, Leicester and Hull, while Bournemouth escaped with a point from a 2-2 draw. There’s simply no reason why Watford should be such a weak favourite to beat what is an under-performing Stoke side.
The Potters have made big investments under Mark Hughes, but he has failed to gel various players together into a coherent side. He’ll also be hamstrung by the absence of influential midfielders Joe Allen and Glen Whelan. Their run of three straight victories looked like a corner turned in October, but they beat the current bottom three in Sunderland, Hull and Swansea. They’ve struggled for results either side of those games, drawing 1-1 with West Ham and losing 1-0 to Bournemouth since then.
Manchester United v West Ham
Nobody will get rich backing odds-on favourites at home, but it’s almost impossible to find a case for backing against either Man United or Arsenal on Sunday. The Red Devils are -200 with William Hill and Betway to beat Struggling West Ham.
The Hammers haven’t got anywhere near the heights of last season, and are a single perilous point above the relegation zone. Defence has clearly been a problem – they’ve the worst defensive record apart from Hull – but goals have also been in short supply, and Slaven Bilic is crying out for a dependable striker to lead the line. They’ve held leads against Stoke and Spurs in the last two games, yet came away with just a point – the collapse at the end of the Spurs game was the sign of a side low on confidence.
Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho will be banking on three points from this game, and his home record throughout his career is well-documented. Despite falling slightly off the pace in the title race, they’re only nine points off the top in 6th place, and there’s a lot of football to be played between now and next May. However, United are in a position where they cannot afford to drop points, and that should start with Sunday’s game at Old Trafford. The 4-0 win against Feyenoord will have inspired confidence, especially with Rooney back on the scoresheet, and they’re taken to stroll to a relatively comfortable victory here against a shaky West Ham defence.
Arsenal v Bournemouth
The 3-4 home defeat to Liverpool on the opening day of the season might have been the best thing that could have happened to Arsenal, because they haven’t lost a game since. If that served as a wake up call, then Arsene Wenger must be delighted with his teams response. They’ve cruised qualification in the Champions League, and are well-positioned in 4th, three points behind leaders Chelsea. Spurs, Manchester United and PSG have been the opposition in the last three games, so three draws isn’t a terrible return, and Bournemouth are a step down in class from those sides. Arsenal’s only danger here could be complacency or lethargy after a thrilling 2-2 Champions League draw with PSG on Wednesday.
The Cherries must compete without the services of Jack Wilshere, who is unable to play against his parent club, and they’re up against it here. The corresponding fixture ended 2-0 to Arsenal, and not much in Bournemouth’s away form suggest this will be anything different. A last time out 1-0 away win at Stoke is their only road success of the season, having drawn at Palace and Watford and lost at West Ham, Man City and Middlesbrough.
Watford to beat Stoke
Sunday 27th November, 12:00 GMT
Manchester United to beat West Ham
Sunday 27th November, 16:30 GMT
Arsenal to beat Bournemouth
Sunday 27th November, 14:15 GMT