Newcastle v Brentford
An early red card for Nathanial Chalobah at the weekend gave Newcastle a massive boost, and they took full advantage of their extra man in a 4-1 demolition of Fulham. That was only the Magpies’ second win of the campaign, and their first since the opening day, meaning their only successes so far have come against newly promoted sides. They currently sit just outside the top-six though, as numerous draws are helping them tick along.
Brentford were held to a 0-0 draw with Bournemouth last time out in the latest episode of what has been something of a rollercoaster season so far. They currently sit 10th after emphatic victories over Man United and Leeds, though those results have been somewhat marred by dropped points against the likes of Bournemouth, Everton and Fulham.
Draws have been the tale of the tape so far for both sides, with nine of their 16 combined games so far finishing all square, while no side has managed more draws than these two this season. What’s more, this fixture ended 3-3 last season in what was a back-and-forth contest, and we’d expect more of the same here, especially with Eddie Howe’s men struggling with a few attacking injuries.
Bournemouth v Leicester
It’s been a tough start to the season for Leicester who managed just one point from their first seven outings, though they bounced back in emphatic style on Monday night with a 4-1 win over Nottingham Forest. In fairness to the Foxes, they’ve had a tough run of games as they’ve faced five of the current top-six sides in the league, and they’ll be hoping that James Maddison inspired performance earlier in the week will be the catalyst for them to push on.
Bournemouth have surprised this season as although they’ve not been electric, their only defeats of the season so far have come against Liverpool, Man City and Arsenal, which is nothing to be sniffed at. Gary O’Neil remains unbeaten with a win and two draws so far since taking over from Scott Parker, making him the odds on favourite to get the position full-time.
Ultimately though, despite their respective starts, Leicester likely have too much quality for the Cherries. Although they are the only side yet to pick up a point on the road this season, those four games have all come against sides currently in the top five (Arsenal, Tottenham, Brighton and Chelsea). The hosts are now without a goal in three home outings, and although they’ve been defensively sound, Leicester have now won their last nine outings against newly promoted sides and we’d expect that run to continue at an odds-against price.
LEICESTER TO WIN
Man City v Southampton
It’s hard to envisage a Man City game where they don’t run out convincing winners, and although there will certainly come a time where they struggle to put their opponents to the sword, as there has been against Newcastle and Aston Villa this season, we’d be surprised if this was the game for that to happen.
Southampton have made an average start to their campaign and sit just one point outside the relegation zone. They come into this clash having lost three on the bounce against Wolves, Aston Villa and Everton and if they’re wanting to avoid relegation this year, those are the exact kinds of games they need to be picking up points in.
There’s almost nothing to suggest this isn’t going to be yet another comprehensive home victory. The Saints are currently on a run of W3-D4-L11 away from home in the league, having not kept an away clean sheet since a road trip to Watford 12 months ago. No side conceded more away goals than Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men last term, and this is not the team you want to face with that record.
City are on an 11 match home winning-streak in all competitions, scoring an average of 4.3 goals per game in that time, with seven of those wins coming by at least three clear strikes, and the -2 handicap looks worth backing again here.
MAN CITY –2 HANDICAP
Chelsea v Wolves
A Conor Gallagher wondergoal gifted Chelsea all three points at Selhurst Park last weekend in what was yet another unconvincing performance by the Blues, though a 3-0 victory over Italian champions AC Milan in midweek was much more like it and it maintained Graham Potter’s unbeaten start in charge of the club. If they were to put in a similar performance here, it’s hard to see them walking away without maximum points.
Wolves are currently managerless after the sacking of Bruno Lage, with Julen Lopetegui the prime candidate to take over. The midlands side currently sit in the relegation zone with their only win of the season coming narrowly at home over Southampton, and while a 3-0 defeat to Man City is nothing short of what could have been expected, a 2-0 defeat to struggling West Ham is not the result they want to be taking into this clash.
Chelsea have struggled against Wolves since they were promoted back to the Premier League, with both sides going W2-D4-L2 in that time, while the Blues haven’t beaten them in any fixture in the last two seasons. We wouldn’t be surprised if that changed here given the current momentum of both clubs, though we’d expect another tight clash. All four of Chelsea’s victories have come by a single goal in the league this season, while eight of Wolves’ 12 away defeats since the start of last season have come by a one goal margin.
DRAW (CHELSEA –1 HANDICAP)
Brighton v Spurs
There didn’t seem to be any ill effect of Graham Potter’s departure for Brighton last time out as a Leandro Trossard hat-trick earned the Seagulls a rare point at Anfield. They’re continuing to exceed expectations and currently occupy a top-four spot, while a victory here could take them above Spurs into third, with the added bonus of having a game in hand.
Spurs have proven tricky to overcome this season though, with their North-London derby defeat last weekend at the Emirates their first loss of the campaign, though they’ve failed the majority of their big tests so far. Indeed, despite maintaining a 100% home record, their away record reads W1-D3-L2 across all competitions, with their only such victory coming against lowly Nottingham Forest, while they could also be deemed lucky to have managed a point at Chelsea. They’re certainly not clicking on the road and Brighton will be confident they can nab a result here.
The draw looks like a good value option here with neither side down as clear favourites. Spurs have drawn half their away games so far, while Brighton have been the league leaders in stalemates over the past three seasons. The last six meetings has seen them win three a piece, and it’s hard to see much separating them here again.
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