Chelsea are massive favourites to see off a struggling Norwich City team at Stamford Bridge, with bottom team QPR facing a tricky trip to The Hawthorns and the pressure is firmly on Mark Hughes following that home reverse against West Ham. The Hammers have started brightly and have a London derby against Arsenal on Saturday afternoon.
Manchester City v Sunderland 12:45
Roberto Mancini praised Joe Hart after Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League, with the England goalkeeper producing several world-class saves before Mario Balotelli scored from the penalty spot to rescue a point for Manchester City.
The champions continue to start the campaign sluggishly although they sit fourth and within reaching distance of leaders Chelsea, with Mancini looking for his team to produce a strong performance against a Sunderland side that are yet to taste defeat in the Premier League.
City are a best price 3/10 (Coral free bets) to claim victory and we should see Carlos Tevez return to the side after sitting on the bench for the game against Dortmund. Joleon Lescott is likely to return to the defence and an injury to Javi Garcia could see Jack Rodwell line up for the Citizens.
Sunderland came desperately close to winning at the Etihad last term and Stan James offer 14/1 about the Black Cats taking advantage of potential tiredness and landing a splendid victory in this match.
Eyebrows were raised when Martin O’Neill signed Steven Fletcher for £14 million although the Scot has scored five goals in his last four games and comes into this match brimming with confidence. The striker is on offer at 12/1 (bet365 bookmaker) to break the deadlock and celebrate his return to the Scotland squad in style.
The Sunderland defence has been pretty steady, shutting out Wigan last weekend and if we are to see a City win, it might be a slender margin. A 1-0 home victory can be backed at 7/1 with BetVictor and looks like a value bet.
Chelsea v Norwich 15:00
Chelsea were given their sternest test of the season last weekend although a 2-1 win at Arsenal demonstrates that the Blues could well challenge for the Premier League title this season and Roberto Di Matteo will be demanding his side guard against complacency in this match.
The Premier League leaders trounced Nordsjaelland 4-0 in the Champions League during the week and will now look to sign off for the international break with another three points, with a home win looking like a banker at odds of 1/4 (Paddy Power free bets).
Di Matteo is likely to change his team around for the visit of the Canaries, with John Terry set to return in central defence and we should also see recalls for John Obi Mikel, Eden Hazard and Ryan Bertrand. Fernando Torres is likely to continue in attack for the west London side and Paddy Power offer a stand-out 7/2 that he breaks the deadlock.
It’s hard to make a case for Norwich in this match, especially as they have already conceded five goals against Liverpool and Fulham this season. Chris Hughton seems to have his work cut out at Carrow Road and has been the subject of a few bets to be the next Premier League manager out of a job. If you fancy the Canaries to pull off a shock, BetVictor go as big as 14/1.
William Hill offer a tasty 11/10 about Chelsea winning this game to nil and when you consider they have conceded three Premier League goals all season, this looks like a great wager with Hughton very much focused on damage limitation against a team that have so many exciting attacking options.
Swansea v Reading 15:00
Both teams need a pick-me-up before the international break, with Swansea’s bubble bursting after taking seven points from their first three matches, while Reading are still looking for their first Premier League win of the campaign.
The Royals have been playing some decent football although they twice failed to hold on to the lead against Newcastle last weekend and have lost both matches on the road to date. The latest away defeat was a narrow 1-0 scoreline at West Brom, suggesting they could get something at the Liberty Stadium.
Brian McDermott’s side are a 16/5 chance (Paddy Power) to claim victory against a Swans team that flew out of the traps but have now lost three consecutive league games including a 3-0 home reverse against Everton that really exposed their shortcomings.
Michu and Danny Graham both had chances to score at Stoke last weekend and Michael Laudrup will hope his team can stop the rot in this match and earn a maximum haul which is available to back at even money (Blue Square free bets).
Michu and Graham can both be backed at 11/2 to be the first goalscorer, although Noel Hunt broke his duck for Reading last weekend and the Irishman might be the value at 10/1, while Swansea winger Nathan Dyer is an 11/1 chance having served his suspension for a recent red card.
With both teams licking their wounds after recent results, we can expect defences to be on top and Under 2.5 Goals looks like the outcome to back at 39/40.
West Brom v QPR 15:00
The opening day of the season saw West Brom beat Liverpool 3-0 while QPR were getting their backsides spanked during a 5-0 thrashing at the hands of Swansea City. Things have barely gotten any better for the Hoops who have accrued two points after six games and Monday’s 2-1 defeat against West Ham leaves them rooted to the foot of the table.
Mark Hughes is apparently under pressure at this early juncture and the Welshman will have to figure out a way to cure his travel sick Rangers side that couldn’t buy a win away from Loftus Road last season, with bet365 offering 16/5 about the visitors snaring the points at The Hawthorns.
West Brom might be an unfashionable side although Steve Clarke is getting the best out of the Baggies so far and they certainly don’t look like relegation candidates after three successive home wins and creditable draws away to Tottenham and Aston Villa.
The Midlands side are 10/11 (Coral) to win the game and that looks a value price based on early-season form, especially as West Brom have not yet conceded a goal in front of their own supporters. With QPR likely to go back to basics and defend for their lives, it could well be worth backing another clean sheet for the Baggies.
Clarke’s men are 15/2 to claim a 1-0 win which was the scoreline through which they recently beat Reading, while a 2-0 win can be backed at 19/2 which looks an attractive price also. Perhaps this 100% home record will end soon and the draw is an 11/4 chance which would be a good result for the visitors.
Wigan Athletic v Everton 15:00
Roberto Martinez has got himself into some early-season hot water for comments made about the refereeing at Old Trafford, although the Spaniard will be more concerned with his team’s lowly position near the foot of the Premier League.
Wigan’s sole victory came at St Mary’s although they have taken just a point from their other five matches and are yet to triumph at the DW Stadium which is the reason why the bookies are prepared to go as big as 3/1 (bet365 £200 free bets) about the home side winning.
Goalscoring has been a continual problem for the Latics in recent seasons and a solution doesn’t appear to be at hand after they lost 1-0 at Sunderland and lost Jordi Gomez early in the second half. Mauro Boselli recently bagged a brace during a 4-1 win at West Ham and perhaps the Argentine will get the nod in this game, with 10/1 available about the striker scoring first.
Thousands of Everton supporters will make the short journey to Wigan for this match and they will be expecting to see the Toffees continue their strong opening to the campaign which has seen them rack up 13 points from 6 games to sit second in the table.
David Moyes will be delighted to have seen his team average two goals per game and the return of Nikica Jelavic from injury is a big boost, with the Croatian bagging a brace against Southampton and available at 11/2 to score first in this particular match.
Everton goals can come from all over the pitch and Leighton Baines looks a tasty price at 16/1 considering the right-back loves to bomb forward, takes set-pieces and is also likely to be on spot kick duty.
The Merseyside team are also pretty strong in defence and a 3-0 win in their favour looks an attractive bet at 20/1 with BetVictor considering it’s as short as 14/1 elsewhere.
West Ham v Arsenal 17:30
It’s 7th versus 8th at the Boleyn Ground on Saturday evening, although the bookmakers are very much of the belief that Arsenal stand a far greater chance of victory in this London derby, even if they have played in fits and starts since the season began.
The Gunners opened their campaign with goalless draws against Sunderland and Stoke before embarking on wins against Liverpool and Southampton, although last weekend’s 2-1 home reverse against Chelsea exposed their defensive shortcomings and Sam Allardyce will be looking forward to pitting his wits against Arsene Wenger.
West Ham are available at 16/5 (Ladbrokes free bets) to beat Arsenal and they come into this match off the back of a 2-1 win at Loftus Road, while they will have had more recovery time than a team who beat Olympiakos in the Champions League on Wednesday.
Andy Carroll has recovered from injury and should pose problems for Thomas Vermaelen and Laurent Koscielny in the Gunners defence, with the on-loan striker available at 9/1 (Stan James) to score the first goal of the game.
Arsenal are no bigger than even money to come away from Upton Park with a maximum haul and we could see Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey starting the match, with the pair having come off the bench during that Champions League win.
Lukas Podolski is a 13/2 poke to score the first goal of the game with the talented Santi Cazorla available at 10/1 although it’s hard to argue with Kevin Nolan’s goalscoring talent and the midfielder is an 11/1 chance.