Chelsea vs Manchester United
United’s rousing comeback against Newcastle in their last game may well have saved Jose Mourinho’s job, but whether it provides the spark to turn their fortunes around remains to be seen.
There is no way Chelsea will be as accommodating as Newcastle were in the second half at Old Trafford two weeks ago when they sat back and allowed United to come forward with wave after wave of attacks.
The Blues have adapted remarkably quickly under Maurizio Sarri and in Eden Hazard they have the country’s best player at this moment.
One factor in Hazard’s fantastic form has been the inclusion of Olivier Giroud as first-choice striker ahead of Alvaro Morata
However, after scoring an average of roughly once every two games for Arsenal, Giroud hasn’t been anywhere near as prolific for Chelsea with five goals in 26 appearances since joining in January.
Perhaps this is the time for Hazard to repay the selfless work that his teammate has put in so far and Giroud is 6/4 with Paddy Power to score anytime, while Chelsea are 8/5 with Betfair to win with over 2.5 goals in the game.
Newcastle United vs Brighton and Hove Albion
Even at such an early stage of the season, this feels like a huge match for Newcastle who are one of three sides without a league win so far.
They can justifiably point to a horrible fixture list which has already had them play all of last season’s top six, but that means their upcoming schedule is much kinder.
Chris Hughton, acrimoniously sacked from St James’ Park eight years ago, must look on now and be glad got out when he did, and his reputation has only grown as Brighton manager.
But Brighton’s solid Premier League stint thus far has been built almost entirely on strong home form.
Away from the Amex they only won twice in the league last year and have lost three of their four matches on the road so far this season.
Player and fan morale would hit rock-bottom with defeat here for the hosts, but I’m backing Newcastle to edge it at a general 6/5.
Huddersfield Town vs Liverpool
Liverpool have doubts over the fitness of Sadio Mane and Mo Salah ahead of their trip to winless Huddersfield after they both picked up knocks while on international duty.
A freshening up of the first team could be what is needed given Liverpool are four – admittedly very difficult – games without a win and their front three haven’t quite replicated their devastating form from last season.
Mane started the season with four goals in as many games but hasn’t scored since 1st September, while Salah’s drop-off in form has been well-documented and resulted in him being subbed early in several matches recently – an unheard-of occurrence last year.
So should they not be risked by Jurgen Klopp, that will put the goalscoring onus onto Roberto Firmino and the Brazilian is 9/2 with Betfred and Paddy Power to score first.