The Bank holiday weekend sees another full slate of Premier League games before the International break

Recommendations

Newcastle +1 v Arsenal at 29/20 William Hill

Bournemouth v Leicester: Over 2.5 goals at 10/11 William Hill

Aston Villa to beat Sunderland 10/11 Paddy Power

Newcastle v Arsenal

Newcastle under Steve McLaren are showing signs of potential after the disappointments of last season where they finished near the relegation zone. There are plenty of new signings of which Wijnaldum looks exciting and Mitrovic potentially a consistent goal-scorer. Whilst they are a team in transition and a work in progress the defensive organisation they showed at Old Trafford when coming away with a draw spoke to the possibility that the process of becoming a top half side might not take too long

Of course hosting Arsenal will see them installed as underdogs. Before the season started Arsenal were widely expected to be challenging Chelsea for the title and were backed in from 8/1 to 9/2 over the off-season. Whilst it is early days it is fair to say that a return of one win in their first three games, including winning neither of their two home games, is an initial disappointment.

Encouragingly against Liverpool on Monday night goalkeeper Petr Cech began to show the sort of form that had him hailed as one of the signings of the summer. When Arsenal bought Cech for £10m from Chelsea in June, the instant wisdom was that his presence alone could be worth an extra 10 points to the Gunners. Time will tell, but this was the night when the 33-year-old showed just how important a signing he could be as the side finally looks to mount a serious Premier League title challenge. Cech was castigated after a poor debut in the home defeat by West Ham, but he was magnificent when Liverpool laid siege to his goal in the first half.

Further up the pitch and “We have started very average I must concede,” Wenger said after Monday night’s game “Sharpness is missing a little bit in some players. Our game is still not fluent enough in the final third.” Alexis Sanchez for example is a real difference maker for Arsenal and his extended break after the Copa America this summer saw him with little pre-season training

These should only be expected to be temporary problems, I see Arsenal as a top four side and they will click before long. The issue for this weekend at Newcastle is that we are being asked to take a best price of 4/7 at Bet365 about Newcastle winning in the north east. This looks very short at this stage of the season. Newcastle can be backed at 11/2 with BetVictor and the draw at 100/30 with William Hill

With Arsenal lacking goals (they have failed to score in five of their last six home games for example) and fans clamouring for another striker to be signed and Newcastle stiffening at the back I think this could be closer than the odds suggest. Handicap markets show Newcastle +1 at 29/20 William Hill. That could be a way of getting with the home side without requiring them to win outright.

Bournemouth v Leicester City

Promoted Bournemouth had an excellent win last weekend in a thrilling game at Upton Park, going 2-0 up and winning 4-3 with a hat-trick from Callum Wilson. Whilst the West Ham defending was certainly poor, Bournemouth’s performance showed more of the promise that the team appeared to have in their narrow defeat at Liverpool the week before. This is a side that certainly should have goals in it. Callum Wilson has been prolific in the lower leagues and he has service from both flanks. Matt Ritchie produced 17 assists last season and on the other wing Max Gradel, attracted back to English football from France, is a real bag of tricks.

Whilst of course the target for any promoted team is to survive and this was only one win, the manner of the victory bodes well

Leicester now have 7 points out of 9 after drawing at home to Tottenham this past weekend with once again Riyad Mahrez to the fore. He now has 4 goals in three league games. Leicester found it difficult to break down Tottenham, who defended on their own penalty box and made sure they weren’t going to be caught on the break.

Indeed that might be a feature for both of these teams this season. A willingness to attack, plenty of pace and dangerous on the counter they might be suited more to playing away than having to beat organised premier league defences at home. For Leicester, who only had 35% possession at home against Tottenham, soaking up pressure and using their pace to break when they win the ball is absolutely crucial and they could well be a more threatening team away than at home

Leicester now have 7 goals in 3 games this season, and Bournemouth have conceded five goals. Outright prices for this game are Bournemouth 6/5 with Ladbrokes, Leicester 12/5 and the draw 13/5 with BetVictor. At first glance that seems to under-estimate Leicester at a promoted side.

However the market I really like is for this to be a game with goals and over 2.5 goals at 10/11 is the same prices as under 2.5 goals. I would have over 2.5 as a solid favourite here.

Aston Villa v Sunderland

Aston Villa have now lost successive games after their opening day win and integrating many signings into the team at once is proving a challenge. The signs are still that in the absence of Benteke scoring goals is going to be an issue, as is midfield creativity. They will view this game as an ideal chance to hit some form

Sunderland drew at home to Swansea 1-1 to pick up their first point of the season. It is a start but the outlook does not look promising. On the upside, Jermaine Defoe remains a consistent premier league striker but the downsides are a lack of support for him and goal-scoring threats aside from him and continued uncertainties about the defence. As it stands at this early stage of the season Sunderland have been moved into 8/13 outright favouritism for relegation, even ahead of the three promoted sides.

For this game, which cannot strike us as one that will contain many goals, Aston Villa are 10/11 favourites with Paddy Power and Sunderland 4/1 with BetVictor with the draw at 13/5 at Bet365.

Whilst near even money on Villa tempts, they are not the most solid of favourites in the early stages of Tim Sherwood developing his own team, particularly with so many of the summer signings arriving so close to the start of the season. Inconsistency is almost certain until the team gels…

Under 2.5 goals is a 7/10 favourite and both teams to score-No a 4/5 favourite so it is clear that a tight low scoring game is expected. I will take Villa.

Recommendations

Newcastle +1 v Arsenal at 29/20 William Hill

Bournemouth v Leicester: Over 2.5 goals at 10/11 William Hill

Aston Villa to beat Sunderland 10/11 Paddy Power