@Palace Both Teams to Score 4/5
@Spurs Spurs to Win 4/9
@Fulham Under 1.5 1st Half Goals 4/11
Palace are looking a little more solid this season, but Everton have been volatile – dangerous at both ends – and I see that continuing this weekend. I believe both teams would be happy leaving this with a draw, but expect up until 75 minutes they’ll both give it everything for the win as early points can build vital momentum.
Spurs and Newcastle are so inconsistent in truth I wouldn’t want to touch it with a bargepole. However… a gut feeling tells me that Newcastle’s win over West Ham speaks more of the Hammers than the Magpies and their true guise is more likely within the defeat at Brighton. Spurs are in a good flow and have benefitted from the postponed match with Leyton Orient in midweek. At home to Newcastle should be a simpler challenge than Everton provided on the opening weekend.
Goalless at the Cottage? At least for 45 minutes but do not be surprised if both sides fail to hit the net in the full ninety. Villa and Fulham understand goals are imperative to their season, or (as I suspect) they will both be relegated without a fight. An early six-pointer can lend itself to mayhem at both ends, but let’s have a bit of decorum about it – it’s at the Cottage afterall. Under 2 1st half goals provides the safety net of one goal slipping in.
Standout Match: Crystal Palace vs Everton
I know the sensible money would be on Liverpool vs Arsenal, or the Yorkshire derby between Sheffield United and Leeds, perhaps even Man City vs Leicester – but I’m sticking to the big guns at the top of the table. Palace are keen to show their result at Old Trafford was no fluke and the purchase of Eze and loan of Batshuayi appear to have driven competition for places into improved performances from Zaha and Ayew. Then there’s Everton, who are looking on fire – albeit with some questions remaining over their backline. No doubt Hodgson and Ancelotti will spoil my plans by deploying traditional Italian defensive lines and a 0-0 will be played out but barring my paranoia, this is the one to watch.
Standout Performance: Marcus Rashford
I’ve seriously set myself up with predicting individual players for success when my Fantasy Football history will tell you I have awful luck with guessing starting line-ups.
As Chelsea proved on the opening weekend, there’s space and opportunities to exploit against this Brighton defence, and I suspect Man Utd’s creative force and blistering pace will find them too. Any of United’s attacking players may prove to be the difference on the day, but I believe it’s Rashford’s chance to step up and own the main man role at United whilst all the rumours continue around more attacking talent joining the club.
Notable other contenders for me (aside from the rest of the United attacking threat) would be Kasper Schmeichel away to Man City, Jimenez away to West Ham and Thiago at home to Arsenal.
Acca Basher: West Brom vs Chelsea
Back in the days of settling football accumulators by hand (an experience I am all too familiar with), as the bookie you would just hope for one of the odds on favourites to throw a wobbly – ruining almost everyone’s weekend accumulators – saving you a lot of work. This season is very early days to be sure of anything, but if I could pick one to avoid it would be Chelsea to win away to West Brom. I won’t go into details, there’s plenty of matches there for debate – I’m just putting my name to this one.