Premier League 2016-17: 10th – 12th September

Manchester United (13/10) v Manchester City (9/4)

It’s only three games in but already this has the feel of a game that will go a long way to deciding the title. Both clubs have made a clean break with disappointing season over the summer, with new singings and management having made a quick impact as they now have 100% records ahead of this monster clash. United appear to have the confidence of old back under Mourinho, having had two relativist comfortable successes against Bournemouth and Southampton before swooping with victory late against Hull, although a 1-0 margin flattered the hosts who were under the cosh from early on. City had to struggle past Sunderland but have since looked much more effective in brushing aside Stoke and West Ham, with Raheem Sterling in particular much improved although a promising start has been made by Nolito whenever an appearance has been made, and the addition of Claudio Bravo from Barcelona is an excellent addition in goal.

 

The focus has been about Sergio Aguero’s ban – and deserved it was too – but City are brimming with creative threats across the pitch with De Bryune and Silva looking as good as ever, whilst Nolito has already gotten on the scoresheet in two separate games. Also not to be forgotten is City’s lethal youth prospect Kelechi Iheanacho, who has already demonstrated himself a natural goalscorer across the last season, and it may be fair to say that City could just have the edge going forward despite the arrival of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba. There shouldn’t be much separating the sides but the visitors have it in them to break a tight rearguard and three points.

 

Advice: 1 pt Manchester City to win by one goal (15/4 general)

 

Arsenal (4/7) v Southampton (5)

Arsenal relished the return off leading lights to the fray when they were comfortable winners against Watford, and, as with so many of their leading performances, if they can repeat that through the season they should see contending for the title as a realistic aim. Against Watford Mezut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez were a level above in their attacking player which pulled the Londonders apart and if they are able to do the same then it could be although afternoon for Southampton, who have started steadily if not reaching some of the heights of last year, understandable given the new arrivals and manager. Arsenal would be expecting three points but there appears to be no obvious ‘in’.

 

Advice: No bet.

Bournemouth (evs) v West Brom (3)

These two sides haven’t impressed a great deal so far with Bournemouth now repeating their start of last season whilst West Brom have picked up four points from their three games, looking particularly unthreatening when they were held to a 0-0 draw with Middlesbrough. Tony Pulis do well to get Nacer Chadli before the window closed although Bournemouth got the better deals over the summer rand probably carry more going forward, with Jack Wilshere an interesting loan arrival. This could be a game that takes a long time to get going and the 0-0 halftime is of interest although it looks a game best left.

 

Advice: No bet.

Burnley (11/8) v Hull (5/2)

 

Hull have defied the pre-season expectations so many had for them with a caretaker boss (although mike Phelan is now surely going to get the job and deservedly so too) and an injury crisis that had left the squad with just 13 players fit at one time. However victory against Leicester on the opening weekend was deserved and whilst victory against Swansea was a little more of a smash and grab they made Manchester United work for everything last weekend and it’s clear that this unit is not one that can be breached easily. That spells trouble for Burnley, superior to Hull in the Championship but who look short at 11/8, even on home territory, and the choice on value terms has to be the away win.

 

Advice: 2 pts Hull (5/2 general)

 

Middlesbrough (6/5) v Crystal Palace (27/10)

 

Middlesbrough have quickly made a strong start to life in the Premier League, taking five points from their opening three games, and they should see Crystal Palace as a chance to do the same again. Palace took a worrying slump during the second half of last season and that appears to have continued so far this season, with limp displays against West Brom and Tottenham, whilst a point against Bournemouth at home was taken at the last minute. Middlesbrough have look solid, compact and capable in their three games and they can take another win here.

 

Advice: 1 pt Middlesbrough (6/5 general)

 

West Ham (5/6) v Watford (18/5)

This is a crucial London Derby for two sides that have made struggling so far, although the early fixtures were always going to make life tougher for Watford then they’d wanted to start their second season back in the Premier League. West Ham are suffering big time with injuries – they still have eight players currently injured, amongst them at least four first teamers – and that is going to make life struggle for all they rallied valiantly against Manchester City a fortnight ago. Watford’s fitness, amongst other things, didn’t hold against Chelsea before Arsenal cut them apart, and it might be that we see a few goals here with Watford having seen three games with both teams scoring and West Ham having had two.

 

Advice: 2 pts Both Teams To Score (5/6 general)

 

Liverpool (8/13) v Leicester (9/2)

 

Liverpool finally return to the newly revamped Anfield and they will be relatively pleased with their haul from London, for all that they should probably have taken victory from White Hart Lane and they will have been frustrated with what was a very poor performance at Burnley. Leicester quickly got over their dire defending show at Hull to take a point from Arsenal before winning against Swansea in a style more reminiscent of last season, when they had more in hand than the final scoreline suggests. There’s the potential for goals if the shooting boots are on for Jurgen Klopp’s men and the Foxes will enjoy playing an aggressive side so goals could be the way to go.

 

Advice: 2 pts Both Teams To Score (4/5 Bet365)

 

Swansea (5) V Chelsea (4/7)

Chelsea will be delighted with their start to the season, with memories of the last horrible campign already a thing of the past and Eden Hazard imperious in a 3-0 stroll against Burnley. This is going to be far harder for them but they have already won at Watford and against West Ham and in Diego Costa (back to form) and Michy Batshuayi adapting to the Premier League in no time they have plenty of options between them to go forward unlike last year and the main concern will be with defence. However Swansea were flattered by their close finish to Leicester and their win at Burnley, so the Londonders will be relatively confident of taking 3 points.

 

Advice: No bet.

 

Sunderland (14/5) v Everton (21/20)

Everton have turned over a new leaf under Ronald Koeman and they can keep the progress going with victory at Sunderland. David Moyes is unlucky not to have more than two points given solid displays against Manchester City and Southampton especially but Everton have taken two wins in succession after outplaying Tottenham on the first day of the season and look to have signed reasonably well with the money received for John Stones, as Ashely Williams looks to be a steady centreback whilst Idrissa Gueye has shown a lot in midfield so far.

 

Advice: 2 pts Everton (21/20 general)