Back Arsenal and Chelsea, while Liverpool will be frustrated
Our Premier League Tipster looks at where there’s good value to be found in this weekend’s fixtures
Written by Premiership Tips.
Arsenal v Blackpool
Arsenal made a slow start in their season opener at Liverpool; fortunate to come away with a point at 10 man Liverpool. Without Cesc Fabregas they lacked invention, until the late arrival of Tomas Rosicky. Even then, Liverpool’s closing down and positional discipline saw Arsenal have limited chances. But for a Jose Reina howler, Arsenal would be entering this game without a point. Blackpool caused a big shock when they beat Wigan Athletic 4-0 on the opening day. In truth, Wigan were woeful that day and I still believe Blackpool will be heading for the drop this season. Defensively they weren’t tested by Wigan. Arsenal, with the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Andrei Arshavin and Robin van Persie, to name just a few, have too much quality for this Blackpool side and should undo their defence at ease. Anything but a big victory for the Gunners on Saturday will be classed as a disappointment to sections of the Arsenal support. I am confident they won’t disappoint and will beat Blackpool by 2 goals or more.
Wigan Athletic vs Chelsea
Chelsea won the Premier League title for the third time on the final day of last season, defeating Wigan 8-0. Didier Drogba scored his only hat trick of last season in that game and started this campaign with another hat trick against West Brom on Saturday. After his claims of playing at less than 100% for the past six seasons, Drogba looked as sharp as ever to start this season and would become the first player in Premier League history to score hat tricks in three consecutive games should he hit three past Chris Kirkland, who was hapless in conceding two to Marlon Harewood last weekend. At 12/1, Didier Drogba is a good bet for a hat trick in this game. Ultimately though, it’s Chelsea who are going to be coming away from this fixture with the three points. The question is, how many will they score? The aggregate score of their last four Premier League games is a staggering 23-0. 8 of those came against Wigan. Playing a side who conceded 4 at home to Blackpool last weekend, it’s scary to think how many Chelsea will put past them if they don’t improve. Wigan were an unpredictable side last season and they did beat 10 man Chelsea in this fixture last season too. But there were too many mistakes from this Wigan side to think they can pull off a result this weekend. Chelsea are flying and will be looking for another crushing victory to add more fear into their title rivals this season. A big victory is on the cards this weekend and I like the price of Chelsea winning this game by 2 or more.
Manchester City v Liverpool
Monday night football this week stays in Manchester. After Manchester United dismissed Newcastle 3-0 last time, it leaves this week’s two sides 2 points behind their title rivals. This will be a game neither manager will want to lose so early in the season. And for that reason, I expect both Roberto Mancini and Roy Hodgson to play very cautiously and potentially make for a dull affair on Monday night, despite the bags of talent between the two sides. Manchester City have new signings in Mario Balotelli and James Milner to introduce, while the likes of David Silva, Yaya Toure and Jerome Boateng are still settling in. I expect Hodgson to set his team up in a similar style as he did against Arsenal, by keeping most of his players behind the ball and not giving City players much time or space on the ball. There’s several players in Mancini’s side who will get frustrated by their failures to break Liverpool down, which could end up with Fernando Torres and/or David N’Gog having chances at the other end. With neither side wanting to lose this game, I think it will end that way. Good price for the draw.