Manchester City are already clear at the top of the table but lower down the elague pressure is rsing on some under-performing clubs already


Bournemouth and Sunderland under 2.5 goals 10/11 Ladbrokes

Aston Villa and West Brom No goalscorer 7/1 William Hill

Newcastle and Watford to draw 12/5 Ladbrokes

Bournemouth v Sunderland

Two bottom six sides meet on the South Coast on Saturday. Bournemouth lie 15th and suffered a 3-1 reverse at Norwich last weekend after having won their first four points of the campaign in the previous game. They will see this game as the ideal opportunity to put some space between themselves and the bottom three as the issues at Sunderland are still obvious

Sunderland are bottom with just two draws in five games. For much of their 1-0 defeat at home to Tottenham last weekend their defence, which had conceded ten goals in the first four games of the season (amazingly, only Chelsea have conceded more in the league ), looked much more solid only for a lapse in concentration across the midfield in the final few minutes leading to Ryan Mason’s goal. Perhaps O’Shea and Kaboul will settle into a first choice partnership from here.

The essential problems remain though, attempting to integrate a number of new signings in midfield and up-front (M’Vila, Lens, Toivonen and Borini), several of which are not fully match-fit, in a side that is struggling is difficult. Goals are in short supply, although they did manage to hit both the post and the bar.

Perhaps it is not long until a managerial change is on the horizon given Dick Advocaat’s off-season reluctance to continue in the job.

Bournemouth, a side with the goals of Callum Wilson in it, are a short priced favourite for the game available at 4/6 generally. For a side newly promoted into the league and with only one win so far this season that is a very short price indeed and speaks to the market’s very low view of Sunderland who can be backed at 5/1 for the game with Bet365. The Draw is 3/1 generally.

Sunderland are eight league matches without a win (D4, L4) and I wouldn’t be on that changing here. However Bournemouth do not look to be that attractive a price either. Eddie Howe’s side have lost big-money summer signings Max Gradel and Tyrone Mings to long-term injuries, and started with 10 of last season’s squad at Carrow Road last weekend. I don’t really want to be taking them at odds-on. Perhaps the draw at 3/1 is the bet for value. One bet I do like is under 2/.5 goals at 10/11 with Betfred and Betfair Sportsbook

Aston Villa v West Brom

After their opening day win at Bournemouth, Aston Villa have had a poor start to the season with only a draw at home to Sunderland to accompany three losses. I watched them first hand at Leicester on Sunday where they led 2-0 and lost late on 3-2 and saw contrasts in their play between talent (Grealish especially) and creativity and lack of familiarity and organisation when the going got tough that meant defending a lead was unlikely. This, as with Sunderland above, is a function of acquiring a lot of players late in the summer and trying to integrate them into a style of play in Premier League games is a tough ask. As Sherwood said after a calamitous last half hour in Leicester

There was a lot of bad play there in the last half hour. The only way you can stop the momentum is to stop the opposition. We turned it over stupidly.”

Villa have now conceded a total of 14 goals in their last five away league games

Villa had to cope with the summer losses of Fabian Delph, Ron Vlaar and Christian Benteke down the spine of their team, making their slow start to the season no surprise.

West Brom lie just above Villa in the table, and this adds some spice to what is always a hard fought local derby. They lost to Manchester City and Chelsea in two of the first three games but that aside have three clean sheets in their other league games so far this season.

This might be seen as typical of a Tony Pulis side, they are always organised and strong and difficult to break down. Whether the trend towards games involving his sides (outside top six opposition) trending towards low scoring unders is an interesting issue as in the three clean sheet games this season one was against nine man stoke, one was against newly promoted Watford and the final game was this past weekend at home to Southampton which would be the game you would point to as being the most encouraging if you were an unders backer going forward.

West Brom have only scored 3 goals in their five league games. Uncertainty over the future of Berahino hasn’t helped and Lambert and Rondon are still settling into new surroundings.

Aston Villa are best priced 5/4 for this game with Sportingbet, West Brom are available at 5/2 with BetVictor and perhaps unsurprisingly the draw is a short price by the standards of Premier League games at 9/4 with 888sport

Looking at goals markets under 2/5 goals is reality short, priced at 4/7. t is difficult to predict an open free flowing goal-laden game here of course but the market is discounting a low scoring draw to a large extent in those prices

No goal-scorer at 7/1 with Skybet and William Hill might be speculative value to benefit from expectations of a tight low-scoring game

Newcastle v Watford

Newcastle lie bottom of the table with just two points and two goals from their opening five games. Newcastle haven’t scored since opening day of season and once away in ten games.  Included in the games at the start of this season have been matches with Arsenal and Manchester United, so clearly not the easiest start for a new manager implementing a new style with a substantially new group of players. Newcastle are another team trying to turn their fortunes around week by week with a group of players getting to know each other, and it isn’t easy

However the insipid nature of their 2-0 defeat at West Ham on Monday night doesn’t inspire any confidence. Whilst we might attribute some of the performance to a disrupted preparation for the game the result puts pressure on the team ahead of what should be a winnable game at the weekend against Watford.

Last weekend Watford achieved their first win of the season against Swansea. They have only scored 3 goals in 5 games – this is a surprise after their attacking championship style last season, but Watford have three clean sheets in five games too

Win-less Newcastle are best priced 6/4 for this weekend’s game with BetVictor, a price that drifted after the West Ham loss. Watford came into a best price of 2/1 (sportingbet) and the Draw is 12/5 with Ladbrokes

I’m usually wary when a manager calls for a “reaction” to a bad defeat the following game. The players may want to react, but if the team isn’t good enough you can often be backing in expectation of a turnaround the team isn’t capable of. I am especially wary for a team like Newcastle where a big and unhappy home crowd can soon get on the backs of their players and exert more pressure

I think the most likely result, given Watford’s ability to defend and absorb pressure, is a draw


Bournemouth and Sunderland under 2.5 goals 10/11 Ladbrokes

Aston Villa and West Brom No goalscorer 7/1 William Hill

Newcastle and Watford to draw 12/5 Ladbrokes