Angus “Statto” Loughran – Premier League Analysis
Manchester United travel to Villa Park on Friday night with a record almost impossible to believe in Premier League history.
With both clubs having played in every Premier League season this will will be their 24th League encounter at Villa Park since the Premier League was formed with Villa having won only 2: in 1992 and the famous “You can’t win anything with kids” match Alan Hansen remarked on on Match Of The Day after Villa won 3-1 on the opening day in 1995.
United have won 14 of other 21 at Villa Park and there have been 7 draws. After both sides began with 1-0 wins last weekend I take United to win again and continue their incredible run at Villa Park.
Southampton v Everton
Southampton and Everton both drew 2-2 last weekend but it will be The Saints whom will be far happier with their point at Newcastle than Everton who snatched a late point at home to newly promoted Watford.
Despite having more possession in this fixture last season it was Southampton whom ran out comfortable 3-0 winners and over the last five seasons there have been three draws and two wins for Saints. It is hard to make a strong case for an Everton win here but another Draw in this fixture, which would be 4th in last 6, at St Mary’s is the value.
Crystal Palace v Arsenal
Crystal Palace v Arsenal at Selhurst Park on Sunday is suddenly a far bigger match for Arsenal than they would have expected after their shock 0-2 home defeat in last week’s London derby against West Ham at the Emirates.
The euphoria of the Community Shield win is now a distant memory for Gunners’ fans and defeat on Sunday against Crystal Palace is simply not an option. Alan Pardew has worked wonders since taking the top job at Palace and the Eagles are flying high after picking up 3 points at Carrow Road in a 3-1 opening day triumph against newly promoted Norwich City.
Last season Arsenal won 2-1 in a game they deserved to win but nearly gave away in the dying seconds. They have won three of the last five encounters at Selhurst and are under huge pressure to make it six.
The bookies will see Arsenal as a decent lay this weekend after the sloppy start the Gunners made v West Ham. Despite the obvious threat Palace will pose at a raucous Selhurst Park I take Arsenal to bounce back with 3 crucial points.
Man City v Chelsea
Manchester City made a big statement with a polished 3-0 win at The Hawthorns on Monday night. With Chelsea having dropped points in their home draw with Swansea and losing keeper Courtois to a red card which keeps him out of this Sunday’s fixture, City know a win could give them a 5 point lead after only 2 games of the season over the current Premier League champions.
Last season’s match ended 1-1 with Frank Lampard getting the crucial late equaliser against his old club. Chelsea won with a single goal the season before but that was on the back of three City wins in a row.
Chelsea will be desperate to gain their first three points of the season but will not want to lose this game. It could be like a chess match with little given by either side. 2 goals or less rather than 3 or more looks the value call here.
Manchester City have a lot going for them at the minute and will seldom get a better chance of beating the champions than on Sunday.
Liverpool v Bournemouth
Bournemouth will have only dreamed of fixtures like Liverpool at Anfield a few seasons ago. They will have been disappointed to have lost their opening fixture at home to Aston Villa while Liverpool gained a huge 3 points with a late Coutinho goal at Stoke against a team who beat them 6-1 on the final day of last season.
Liverpool knocked Bournemouth out of the Capital One Cup last season but there are no previous Premier league meetings.
This is a game which will see one way traffic from the punters with few siding the way of Eddie Howe’s promoted Cherries but after last weekend, which saw West Ham stun Arsenal and Swansea hold Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, the Premier League is once again showing nothing can be taken for granted.
However it would be a huge shock to me if Liverpool do not win this game and the value is for them to win to nil.