Liverpool vs Burnley
Sean Dyche is the only serving Premier League manager with a pub named after him – which is apt, as Clarets fans might have felt the need for a stiff drink in recent months.
Burnley ended last season with seven losses in nine league games – and the side picked up right where they left off last week, opening the season with a defeat to Brighton at Turf Moor. It would be a surprise if they could improve on that result against Liverpool for Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off.
It’s true that Dyche’s side did beat Liverpool at Anfield back in January, beginning a dreadful spell for the Merseyside team that included home defeats to Brighton, Everton and Fulham. But surely a similar sequence of losses can’t be on the cards in this campaign.
If you think the visitors can take all three points, you can get 16/1 on that outcome, mind; interestingly, Dyche also collected a couple of 1-1 draws at Anfield in 2020 and 2017, and the stalemate is a 13/2 shot.
History is always instructive, and the old theory about the lunchtime kick-off not panning out the way you might expect has certainly caught me out more than a few times.
But Liverpool are in fine form, having won each of their last six league matches – one of which was away to Burnley, as Klopp’s side won 3-0 back in May. Liverpool also won 3-0 away to Norwich last week, and spirits would appear to be high as the new season gets underway.
Roberto Firmino is not the most prolific of attackers for Liverpool, but he found the net against Norwich – and his record against the Clarets is not to be underestimated. The Brazilian has five goals in his last six appearances against Burnley.
Aston Villa vs Newcastle
With 20 minutes to go in their opening game of the season, Villa were 3-0 down against the unfancied Watford. They finished the game with a more respectable 3-2 scoreline, but still, the result doesn’t bode especially well for the post-Grealish Villans.
Could Steve Bruce earn his first points of the campaign at Villa Park, then? Well, Newcastle were also beaten in their opener, going down 4-2 to West Ham despite taking the lead twice, initially with a Callum Wilson goal in the 5th minute.
Wilson could have some valuable support from Joe Willock this week. The young forward, who signed with Newcastle last week after last season’s loan spell with the club, has scored in each of his last seven games for Newcastle. Will he make it eight in a row here? Willock is 17/4 to score at any time.
Crystal Palace vs Brentford
After being comfortably taken apart by Chelsea last week, can Patrick Vieira get Crystal Palace’s campaign up and running against Brentford, who started with a bang against Arsenal in their own opening fixture?
While Thomas Frank has clearly established himself as an exciting, capable coach, Vieira still has plenty to prove. Home advantage may not count for much if the visitors can reproduce the same purposeful approach they showed against the Gunners.
Ivan Toney didn’t score on his Premier League debut, but the striker did bang in 16 goals on the road in the Championship last season, and will surely fancy his chances on Saturday. Toney is 7/4 to score at any time against Palace.
Leeds United vs Everton
Leeds endured a chastening 5-1 defeat at Old Trafford last week – will Marcelo Bielsa’s team fight back with victory against the Toffees?
Everton will be heartened in the knowledge that they won the corresponding fixture in the previous campaign. And last week Rafa Benitez showed he has lost none of his ability to change a game, his side fighting back from a 1-0 deficit at half-time to win 3-1 against Southampton.
Loose cannons Leeds flourish as often as they flame out, and Bielsa’s side at their best have the aggression and intent to outfox even the most well-drilled opposition. But it would be foolhardy to rule the Toffees out; perhaps backing the draw at 5/2 is the right way to go here.
Man City vs Norwich
If Norwich can somehow win this, Daniel Levy will be delighted, the Spurs head honcho no doubt gleefully adding another £50million onto their valuation of Harry Kane’s transfer fee.
The overwhelmingly likely outcome is a Man City win, of course – which is priced at 1/10, not the most appealing of options. You can take a flier on the Canaries – but it’s at least as likely that the hosts could shake off their current torpor and stick a flurry of goals past the opposition. Just like the last time they met, in July 2020, when Man City won 5-0.
Brighton vs Watford
Both these sides started brightly last week, but up until last season Brighton had a record of stumbling at home on a regular basis. With Watford flying out the traps against Villa, maybe it’s worth taking a chance on Xisco’s team. Watford are 19/4 to win.
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