Premier League preview: Saturday’s action including Bournemouth vs Man City
Everton vs Aston Villa
Villa ended up losing 4-2 to Arsenal in pretty spectacular standard last week. While the outcome might have felt harsh on the hosts, it’s Villa’s third loss in as many games. Their second 4-2 defeat in two home games, as well.
Unai Emery’s side look decent in spells, but they’re not currently getting the job done. Can they change that at Goodison Park? It could be a big ask, with Sean Dyche’s Everton having won each of their two home games under the new boss with a satisfyingly Dychian 1-0 scoreline.
The Toffees clearly have their blueprint for survival. But Ollie Watkins has scored in his last four appearances for Villa, and may be able to give his side at least a share of the spoils here. Watkins is 5/2 to score; the draw is an 11/5 shot.
Leeds vs Southampton
If you need reminding, Leeds’ search for a first league win since November continues. Facing Southampton might have offered a decent route to that objective. Except that the Saints – still without a permanent manager, following Nathan Jones’ exit – beat Chelsea at the Bridge last week.
Perhaps that says more about Graham Potter’s problems than Southampton’s improvement. But Saints caretaker boss Ruben Selles has been given the job ’til the end of the season, and will look to impress – even as Leeds hope for a new manager bounce of their own.
Yep, Leeds have got themselves a new boss; Javi Gracia, the Spaniard who previously led Watford to an FA Cup final in 2019.
But with his new side failing to score in four of their last five games, Gracia may struggle to make an immediate impact on Saturday, even if the players are willing. Then again, Southampton are hardly prolific either. Backing BTTS No at 22/25 covers a fair few eventualities.
Leicester vs Arsenal
There’s talk that Thomas Partey could be fit to face the Foxes, after sitting out Arsenal’s last few games with an injury. That said, with Jorginho named as the Gunners’ player of the match against Villa last time out, perhaps the Italian is set to figure once again.
This looks another tricky fixture for Arteta’s team; okay, Leicester lost 3-0 against Man Utd last time out. But they also put four goals past both Aston Villa and Tottenham in the two games before that.
Brendan Rodgers’ side looks dangerous, with James Maddison and Kelechi Iheanacho both making a positive impact recently. Can the Gunners use the recent win over Villa as a jumping off point for another long unbeaten run? Or will their title bid start to unravel once more at the King Power?
With both teams involved in high-scoring games in recent weeks, backing over 3.5 goals at 7/4 could be the way to go.
West Ham vs Nottingham Forest
The Irons slipped into the relegation zone after losing to Spurs last week, and have already lost to Nottingham Forest once this season.
With Steve Cooper’s side having held out for a point against Man City a week ago, could the Tricky Trees be capable of a rare away win on Saturday?
Former West Ham star Jesse Lingard has struggled with a hamstring injury in 2023, but could be fit to return for this one. Could the Forest man play a significant role against his old club?
West Ham are certainly vulnerable. They’ve lost three of their last five home games, to the likes of Brentford, Leicester and Crystal Palace. Still, David Moyes will expect his side to edge out Forest; Cooper’s side have won just once on the road in this campaign.
Rather than back the outcome, it might be worth backing under 2.5 goals. That’s an 8/11 shot, and would have paid off in eight of Forest’s last nine matches, six of West Ham’s last seven.
Bournemouth vs Man City
It’s a good thing Bournemouth nabbed their win against Wolves last week. After this encounter with Man City, the Cherries face Arsenal, then host a Liverpool side that beat them 9-0 back in August.
It’s tough to see Gary O’Neil getting much from that run, even if all three opponents have shown varying degrees of fallibility lately. City followed their draw with Forest at the weekend with another 1-1 stalemate against RB Leipzig on Wednesday.
A third straight draw for Guardiola’s men is surely not on the cards; but with Haaland drawing blanks in five of his last six games, maybe it’s worth backing Riyad Mahrez to find the net for the visitors.
Mahrez has scored in two of his last three appearances, and has seven goals in all competitions in 2023; that’s two more than the big Norwegian has managed so far this year. Mahrez is 6/1 to find the opener.
Crystal Palace vs Liverpool
Liverpool’s freaked-out fever dream of a season continues, the footballing gods seemingly teasing the Anfield faithful in the Champions League this week. Klopp’s side established a 2-0 lead over Real Madrid within the opening 15 minutes – then went on to lose 5-2. That’s gotta hurt.
With Liverpool’s confidence shaky all season, there’s no guarantee that the players will be able to shrug off this latest calamity. The Merseyside team seem to be a soft touch for anyone willing to have a go; does that mean Patrick Vieira’s side can benefit?
Palace have drawn four of their last five league games, taking points from Brentford, Brighton, Newcastle and Man Utd. Extending that run against Klopp’s side seems a definite possibility; the draw is a 29/10 shot.
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