It was a truly thrilling round of Premier League action in midweek and there are sure to be plenty more fireworks over the coming weekend.
Saturday’s early game sees Rafael Benitez take his Newcastle side to his former stomping ground to face Chelsea. The Spaniard impressed during his short spell at Stamford Bridge, most notably winning the Europa League.
However, with his team falling to win in five, it is unlikely to be a pleasant return to west London and, having beaten Swansea 1-0 on Wednesday, another home win to zero at 4/5 could be on the cards for the Blues.
There are six games at 3pm and one that catches the eye is Liverpool’s trip to Brighton. The Seagulls are enjoying their maiden season in the Premier League but face a stern test.
Goals could be on the agenda at Vicarage Road where Watford welcome Tottenham. Spurs have had a habit of starting games poorly in recent weeks, trailing at half-time in their last three, and the Hornets could sting them.
Marco Silva’s men were well beaten by Manchester United on Tuesday and, with Tottenham also losing, a lack of confidence could hurt the teams, especially the visitors. This looks a tough one to call although these two usually impress in attack so perhaps eye over 3.5 goals at 17/10.
Leicester against Burnley could also be entertaining, with Claude Puel’s improving side taking on Sean Dyche’s impressive unit. A lack of stars has not hurt the Clarets and their current position of sixth is a testament to their work ethic.
The Foxes’ pace may cause them a few issues but the hosts themselves are not always totally convincing at the back. Both games between these sides last term finished in home wins to zero, but there should be goals on Saturday and the 18/1 for a 2-2 scoreline really stands out.
Moving on and the ‘unglamorous fixture of the day award’ goes to Stoke against Swansea, with both treading water and in need of the points. It is sure to be a cagey affair but the Swans’ lack of goals is a worry so a home win to zero seems sensible at 33/20.
The last two games on Saturday at 3pm have purposely been left until last and have plenty of issues surrounding them.
At the Hawthorns, Alan Pardew takes charge of West Brom for the first time following his appointment on Wednesday and, in a twist of fate, he faces former club Crystal Palace.
Pardew played for the Eagles before being sacked as their manager last December and following a spell out of the game is back in the dug-out.
Bizarrely, Roy Hodgson, Palace’s current coach, previously managed the Baggies and seems to have got his side back on track after a tough start under the axed Frank de Boer.
The ‘new manager bounce’ is a popular phenomenon and Pardew is the master of getting an immediate response. The home win is 29/20 but Palace are a decent team and possibly the draw will be the answer at 43/20.
Another new man expected to be in the dug-out on Saturday is Sam Allardyce who looks set to take charge of Everton against Huddersfield.
‘Big Sam’ was in the stands for Wednesday’s 4-0 win over West Ham and will expect the same level of effort and endeavour against the Terriers.
David Wagner’s men made an amazing start to the campaign but have really dropped off, failing to win their last four on the road, and have not scored away from home since winning 3-0 at Palace on the opening weekend.
The late game on Saturday is one of the fixtures of the weekend in Europe as Arsenal welcome Manchester United.
Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho have a famously spiky relationship and May’s 2-0 win for the Gunners was the Frenchman’s first Premier League win over his rival.
Both won easily in midweek but while there were 11 goals between their two fixtures, it could be much tighter at the Emirates.
Both need the points to prolong their title hopes but this could hinder their attacking endeavours and maybe the 23/10 for the draw is the value bet, especially with Jose’s bus likely to be brought out of the garage.
On Sunday there are two games, with the early match a south-coast affair with Bournemouth hosting Southampton. Just 37.2 miles separate the two clubs and although not exactly traditional rivals, there could be some needle on show.
Both lost 2-1 on Wednesday night and need the points so it promises to be a bit of a battle, but they are difficult to separate and another draw could be on the cards, possibly 1-1 at 23/4.
Finally on Sunday, Manchester City will expect to make it 13 Premier League wins in a row against struggling West Ham.
The Citizens have set the benchmark this season and will have no fears about facing David Moyes’ men who, on current form, are heading for the Championship next season.
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