THE international break is over and while he great news is England have qualified for the World Cup, let’s face it, the more exciting news is the return of the Premier League.
IAN WRIGHT is a legend from both the international and domestic scenes and if it’s a Premier League betting tip you’re after the Arsenal ace is your man.
Here he runs the rule over some of this weekend’s key clashes including a mouth-watering early kick-off between Liverpool and Manchester United.
Wow! What a game to resume the Premier League with; without a doubt the biggest of the season so far.
These are always feisty affairs with the world watching so I’m expecting fireworks at Anfield on Saturday. Unfortunately for Reds fans though I think United will be the ones going off like rockets.
Missing Sadio Mane will be a huge factor and I’m not convinced Jurgen Klopp’s men have the form or confidence to cope without him against a side like United at present.
With Man City expected to win at home to Stoke Jose Mourinho knows his side have to maintain their levels here to keep pace in the title race.
They are looking really good at the moment, with Romelu Lukaku, Marouane Fellaini, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial among those in fine form, while the defence has looked solid so far too.
Meanwhile, Liverpool haven’t hit the heights many expected yet so I think this is a real opportunity for the Manchester club to really put one on their bitter rivals.
In the form he’s in you have to fancy Lukaku to get at least one goal as you just know that Liverpool will be woeful at the back at some point during the match.
Liverpool can only play one way so they will cover a lot of ground, press United high up the pitch and try to get the ball out to the likes of Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino at every opportunity.
The defence is a worry though and this, I think, will play into Manchester United’s hands. They don’t defend as a team and never have and United can tear you apart if you’re not at the races at the back.
If they play a high line it could be embarrassing for them and I think United could help themselves to another three or four goals this weekend.
With my betting hat on, however, four goals seems a bit punchy so I’d go for 3-1 United at 18/1. I think Rashford looks a good bet at 15/2 for first goals corer, but you can’t look past Lukaku on current form, especially with Sun bets going top price at 21/5.
I’ve been so impressed by Burnley over the last few months and they will really fancy themselves here. They’ve started the season brilliantly and are on a wicked run at the moment.
They’ve sorted the away day issues that blighted their season last year and, crucially, you can tell Sean Dyche has hammered home the point of maintaining their authority at Turf Moor.
For the other claret and blues, things aren’t looking so good. West Ham are not enjoying they finest moment and look vulnerable at present.
If Manuel Lanzini doesn’t play you have to ask questions of Slaven Bilic. But the Irons’ current problems are larger than team selection, they just not getting the ball in the box.
They have Andy Carroll, arguably one of the best in the air in Premier League history and Chicharito who’s scored about 40-odd goals in this division and as far as I know every single one of them has come inside the box.
I analysed the Hammers recently and none of their players are getting in the box. They need to be more direct.
I can actually see this being a comfortable win for Burnley with pretty much the whole team playing well at the moment.
This is all down to Dyche’s faith in his team. He’s made just five changes to his starting XI this season, fewer than any other manager and it’s paying off.
Back in the day teams weren’t rotated as much and some managers these days seem to do it for the sake of it.
Dyche is doing what old school managers did and it’s giving his side confidence and trust and consistency.
Even those on the bench know that if they get in they could stay in and that breeds healthy competition for places. It’s so pleasing to see. Burnley don’t have the resources of some of the other teams teams so what he’s getting out of his squad is incredible.
I think Burnley will win 2-1 with Chicharito scoring for the Hammers but at 13/1 for first goal scorer my money will be going on Jeff Hendrick netting the opener.
From a manager getting it all right in Dyche to the other end of the spectrum in Ronald Koeman.
The Dutchman is up against it at the moment and this is not the ideal game for the Toffees to relieve that pressure.
With Chris Hughton in charge Brighton will be well organised at the back and further forward Pascal Gross looks to be in good form. When you have a well-drilled team at home playing a side low on confidence, with people calling for the manager’s head, yet Brighton will be buzzing and I can see problems for Everton.
The Sun Bets boffins tell we Everton have had just 17 shots on target this season, which is only two more than Lukaku has had himself at Man United.
This really emphasises their failure to properly replace the prolific Belgian. They spent a lot of money but in an over-inflated market. Have they got value? Not that we’ve seen yet.
I wouldn’t say this is a must-win game for Everton but it’s certainly a must-not-lose.
If they lose again here, against a newly-promoted team, the pressure will mount even higher and Koeman will then have serious problems.
They have good players with the likes of Leighton Baines, Ashley Williams and Michael Keane at the back, while Idrissa Gueye was is there with N’golo Kante in terms of stats, but there’s a lot of negativity which breeds poor performances.
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They need to gain some confidence but they don’t have the goals to get it quickly so while I think Everton will give it a good go I can see Brighton edging this one.
I know I’ve said Everton are struggling up top at present but sometimes you just get a feeling and I can see a 3-2 score line in this one.
I’ll go for a 3-2 home win for the Seagulls at 21/5 with Gross, who has been involved in four of the Seagulls’ last five goals, looking a decent bet for the opener at 11/1.
Enjoy the games and be lucky.