There are 6 Premier League matches in the traditional Saturday 3pm slot this week, with the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and Spurs all in action as the league table begins to take shape with the 6th round of fixtures. Blue Square traders walk us through their tips for the weekend.
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Arsenal have made a fine start to the season, and while they are yet to be really tested at home so far, the goals have certainly be flowing for Arsene Wenger’s men. A 6-0 thrashing of Blackpool was followed by a 4-1 win over Bolton, and then another 6-0 win in the Champions League over Braga. The fixture list has hardly been kind to the Baggies with this trip following visits to Chelsea and Liverpool, both of which ended in defeat. They haven’t beaten Arsenal away since 1983 and don’t look likely to break their duck this week. Back Arsenal -1 on the Handicap at 8/15, and also get with Marouane Chamakh to score at any time, a very appealing 5/6 shot.
Following last season’s heroics, Birmingham have made a fairly slow start to the season with 3 draws and just 1 win from 5 games. However, they have been solid at St Andrew’s, as you would expect, beating Blackburn and drawing 0-0 with Liverpool, as well as gaining a couple of straightforward Carling Cup wins against lower-league opposition. The Blues’ high-energy, combative style should be well-suited to playing a Wigan side who always try to play attractive football, and the home win looks good at 4/5. The visitors have only managed 2 league goals to date, the lowest in the top-flight, so back Birmingham to win to nil at 15/8.
Blackpool have been a revelation so far, with 2 impressive away wins keeping them up in mid-table at this early stage of the season. They have only played one home game, a 2-2 draw with Fulham, and this looks like a tough one to call. Alex Baptiste’s absence does look like it might be a big blow for the Tangerines, however, and as you would expect, there is little depth in their squad. Blackburn have been inconsistent so far, but a point away at Man City 2 weeks ago is a result to take note of, and to me they look like a cracking bet to win here at 13/10. Don’t expect a classic encounter – under 2.5 goals looks like a solid punt at 5/6.
Amazingly, 20 of the last 21 league meetings between Fulham and Everton have ended in home wins, and a victory for Fulham to add to that extraordinary sequence is a 7/4 shot here. Everton are yet to win this term, with a Carling Cup exit against Brentford adding to their woes this week, but David Moyes and his team have plenty of character, and with the quality in their side, this looks like a great week to back them at a very tidy 6/4. Bobby Zamora’s absence is a massive blow for Fulham, and you have to wonder if they carry enough of an attacking threat without him. Get with Mikel Arteta to score first at 10/1, a very decent bet considering Blue Square’s unlimited places each-way on this market.
If Roy Hodgson didn’t realise the size of the task he faces at Liverpool, he certainly does now. They should have beaten Arsenal despite having 10 men for much of the game on the opening day, but that aside, it’s been a terrible start to the season for the Reds. With a protest against the club’s owners planned for this one, the atmosphere around the ground is bound to be tense and the 4/9 about the home win looks very skinny. That said, Sunderland have already lost at West Brom and this week crashed out of the Carling Cup against struggling West Ham, and even at 13/2 you wouldn’t want to back them here. Expect a tight, nervous game at Anfield where backing Liverpool to win 1-0 looks a good way to go at 11/2.
West Ham will feel that they might just be turning the corner after picking up their first point of the season at Stoke last weekend then winning at Sunderland in the cup this week, and we’ll certainly see if that is the case as a quality Tottenham side visit Upton Park. The Hammers are 12/5 to gain their first win of the season against one of their biggest rivals. Recent results against Spurs certainly don’t make for very happy reading for Hammers fans, with the north Londoners winning 7 of the last 8 league meetings, and you’d have to lean towards Spurs again here at 11/10. There always seems to be goals in this fixture, with over 2.5 looking unmissable at 10/11.