Second placed Aston Villa welcome a mis-firing and recently beaten Arsenal to the midlands for this 15.00 kick-off. A favourite amongst some punters for relegation this season, Aston Villa have confounded those critics with 3 wins and a draw from their opening matches. Arsenal, on the other hand, are coming off the back of a sound thrashing at the hands of Borrusia Dortmund in the Champions League. This, coupled with the all too familiar injury crisis (specifically in defence), has left the Gunners in rather a fragile state.
All logic says that Arsenal should prevail and the best precise for such an outcome is 5/6 from Paddypower. However, given the calamitous nature of Arsenal’s defending and the sheer clinical nature of Villa’s attack this season (4 goals from 6 shots on target!), the price of 4/1 offered by Betvictor is enough to pique the interest.
Newly promoted Leicester play host to a rejuvenated Manchester United at 13.30. As a result of their demolition of QPR, with some of their new signings shining brightly, many United fans are confident that a corner has been turned which will see their fortunes inevitably rise. This is an understandable reaction given the disastrous start they endured to this season but such confidence may well be misplaced. Whilst there’s no denying that they now have the players to improve greatly as a team, United will not be afforded the same leeway they enjoyed against QPR by this strong Leicester side. Coming into this match, they stand level with United on 5 points and have already played Chelsea and Arsenal, losing away and drawing at home respectively.
Nigel Pearson has stayed faithful to many of the players who achieved promotion for the club this year and they are playing with no little composure and purpose. Taking all these factors into account, my money is on a draw and Betfred is offering 16/5 for such an outcome. This isn’t the consensus, however, as most of the smart money seems to be on the United win with Boylesports offering a tidy 4/6.
The biggest match of the week is undoubtedly Manchester City v Chelsea at 16.00. Chelsea lead the league with 4 wins from 4 and have been very impressive thus far, with new signings Fabergas and Costa instrumental already. Although they were held to an unexpected draw by Schalke in the Champions League, Chelsea are living up to the expectations many had for them this season and are the most impressive team on display in England so far. There are a couple of caveats, however. Costa, although rested mid-week, is still a concern as a result of a lingering injury. His loss would be a massive blow to Chelsea’s hopes of a win, such has been his form. Another worry is the Chelsea defence.
Usually this is the hallmark of all Mourinho’s teams but, on their way to winning all their league games so far this season, Chelsea have conceded 6 goals and only kept 1 clean sheet. City may have been beaten mid-week (failing to score in the process) but have a lethal strikeforce who, when they click, are capable of taking apart most defences. Expect goals, expect controversy. I expect another draw and Boylesports are offering 13/5 for that. Those who fancy a City win can check in with Betvictor for a price of 7/5. And those who prefer their tea with a bit of Chelsea will like the 2/1 on offer from Betfred.