Cup Distractions Forgotten As Big League Returns
After a round of mid-week matches in the Capital One Cup it’s back to focussing on the bread and butter of league position in the Barclays premier League this weekend. So, with managerial reputations on the line, and fan sanity hanging in the balance, what are the match-ups that are getting top football tipsters excited? Here are three big games coming up this weekend;
Leicester v Arsenal, Saturday 26/09/15 at 15.00 GMT
One glance at the league table will tell you that this is a match-up between 4th and 5th, with the home side surprisingly sitting above their visitors in these embryonic moments of the new campaign. It’s beenafairytale start for the Foxes, only improved by their progress in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday to the detriment of in-form West Ham. The original Tinkerman, Claudio Ranieri, has somehow maintained the fabulous momentum his side had garnered at the back end of last season under the tutelage of previous boss Nigel Pearson, and remain the only undefeated side in the division (as well as being only one of three undefeated teams across the leagues in the country). They also have the division’s form player in RiyadMahrez (5 goals and 3 assists). Visitors Arsenal will be fresh from their victory in the North London derby on Wednesday evening, but will also be looking to bounce back from their league reverse at Stamford Bridge last weekend. Gabriel is still waiting to find out if he will be allowed to play after appealing his red card in that match, whilst Francis Coquelin is definitely out. The home-side have a clean bill of health except for on-loan winger Nathan Dyer and midfielder Matty James, but will be attempting to overturn the form book in this one – they haven’t beaten Arsenal in 17 attempts in the league dating back to 1994. Do the expert football tipsters expect that record to come to an end on Saturday?
Leicester 4.50, Draw 4.00, Arsenal 1.80
Liverpool v Aston Villa, Saturday 26/09/15 at 15.00 GMT
The odds suggest a comfortable home win on Saturday afternoon, but anyone familiar with English football will know that life is anything but comfortable for Liverpool and under-fire boos Brendan Rodgers at this moment in time. Disappointing league form was nearly compounded by a shock Capital One Cup exit on Wednesday night – the Reds narrowly avoiding an embarrassing home defeat to Carlisle by progressing on penalties. Rodgers may be running out of time to save his job, so a result against Villa looks a must. Villa themselves are struggling badly right now, although will be buoyed by their cup win over bitter rivals Birmingham City during midweek, and also by the fact that they haven’t lost at Anfield in the league for nearly five years (2 wins and 2 draws in that period). It’s 13th plays 17th, something almost inconceivable when you consider the stature of these two English football institutions. The home side will be missing Christian Benteke, Roberto Firmino, DejanLovren and skipper Jordan Henderson, while the visitors have doubts surrounding Gabriel Agbonlahor. The odds don’t lie, but only the top football tipsters can read between the lines.
Liverpool 1.53, Draw 4.33, Aston Villa 7.00
Newcastle v Chelsea, Saturday 26/09/15 at 17.30 GMT
Another boss under pressure, even after little more than three months in the job, is Newcastle’s Steve McClaren. The Magpies are winless, out of the Capital One Cup (after defeat to championship side Sheffield Wednesday) and under pressure from all corners – fans and media alike. Even ex-Newcastle legends have been queuing up to point out the current crop’s shortcomings (Alan Shearer notably), so probably the last thing the Geordies needed was a visit from last season’s champions Chelsea. Or maybe not – Newcastle have won their last three home games against the Londoners, who themselves have enjoyed a very much indifferent start to the season and sit in 15th (compared to Newcastle’s 19th). Papiss Cisse is out for goal-shy home side, whilst Diego Costa is suspended for the visitors after his retrospective punishment for his tangles with Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny last weekend.
Newcastle 6.00, Draw 4.20, Chelsea 1.61
All odds courtesy of Bet365 and correct as of 14.00 GMT on Friday 18th September.
Full weekend fixtures
Tottenham V Man City, Saturday 26/09/15 at 12.45 GMT
Man Utd V Sunderland Saturday 26/09/15 at 15.00 GMT
Southampton V Swansea Saturday 26/09/15 at 15.00 GMT
Stoke V Bournemouth Saturday 26/09/15 at 15.00 GMT
West Ham V Norwich Saturday 26/09/15 at 15.00 GMT
Watford V Crystal Palace Sunday 27/09/15 at 16.00 GMT
West Brom v Everton Monday 28/09/15 at 20.00 GMT
By: Steven Paget