1 Bournemouth v Newcastle: Right Said Fred
To lose one goalkeeper is unfortunate, two unlucky and three downright catastrophic, but that is the reality that Newcastle are facing up to as they make the long trek to Bournemouth for a ludicrously timed early kick-off.
Eighteen-year-old fourth choice Fred Woodman could be given the gloves, but football is full of tales of young players coming in and impressing when it is least expected, and if he does start then he could play his part in the latest setback for a Bournemouth side who’ll slip into the relegation zone with a loss – and could stay there.
Newcastle to win – 3.30
2 Leicester v Watford: Hornets Can Stop Jamie Vardy Reaching Cloud Nine
Trust Roy Hodgson to put a dampener on the nation’s weekly marvelling at Jamie Vardy by insisting that the red-hot Leicester City forward should keep his feet on the ground.
Goals in eight consecutive Premier League games could become nine with the visit of Watford to the KC Stadium, but logic dictates that the run has to stop somewhere and that greybeards like Hodgson will eventually end all of our fun.
Jamie Vardy NOT to score – 1.67
3 Manchester United v West Brom: The Theatre Of Screams (& Moans & Boos)
Before the visit of West Bromwich Albion to Old Trafford, Louis van Gaal has been at pains to ask dissenting Manchester United fans to ensure that they boo him instead of his players – without realising that that’s what they were doing anyway.
Van Gaal’s United remain a curious case at the moment, and a team who see a game of football as a chore rather than something to be enjoyed.
Perhaps a meeting with in-form Baggies forward Salomon Rondon could liven them up a bit, then, as they might need to score at least twice to ensure that those boos for the boss don’t get any louder.
Manchester United to win & both teams to score – 4.10
4 Norwich v Swansea: The Canaries Are Staring Down A Dark Tunnel
Norwich’s defeat-snatched-from-the-jaws-of-a-fortunate-draw experience at Manchester City last weekend is exactly the sort of thing that relegated clubs experience about five times a season, and a look at their fixture list up to Boxing Day means that they really need to take something from this home clash with Swansea.
Chelsea, Arsenal, Everton, Manchester United and Tottenham all lie in wait before the turkey sandwiches are handed out, but with an injury to Matt Jarvis robbing Alex Neil of a much-needed wide man, the Swans’ extra power could leave the Canaries in a flap.
Swansea to win – 2.92
5 Sunderland v Southampton: Who’ll Be Missed More, Cattermole or Wanyama?
There will be a fair few relieved ankles at the Stadium of Light on Saturday afternoon, when Sunderland will be missing the injured Lee Cattermole and Southampton will be without the suspended Victor Wanyama.
A free-flowing, attractive game without many stoppages for fouls, then? Perhaps. Goals certainly look a given anyway. Remember last season’s 8-0?
Over 3.5 goals in the game – 3.60
6 West Ham v Everton: Where’s That Fence?
Probably Saturday’s best spectacle from a football point of view, West Ham and Everton meet at what look like pivotal moments in both club’s seasons.
Win, and the Hammers will move seven points above their opponents, a club who they’d have identified as a great one to finish above at the start of the campaign. Perversely, an Everton victory puts them just a point behind one of the eight clubs above them that they’d be confident they could reel in over the remainder of the campaign.
Score draw then? Yeah, thought so.
Draw and both teams to score – 4.40
7 Stoke v Chelsea: Will Jose Get A Room With A View?
Banned from entering the Britannia Stadium, Jose Mourinho will be forced to watch Chelsea’s Saturday night meeting with Stoke City from his hotel room. Let’s hope they can get Sky Sports and he’s not forced to go down to bar and battle the Staffordshire stag dos, eh?
But what will the Chelsea boss see when he watches his team on the screen?
It is a week-and-a-half since Stoke beat Chelsea on penalties in the League Cup, and bar Willian’s wonderous midweek free-kick not much has changed.
Chelsea still lack the X Factor, and Mourinho might be tempted to change the channel to find it.
Stoke or Draw Double Chance – 1.81
8 Aston Villa v Manchester City: The Changing Of The Garde Can Inspire Hosts
It is perhaps too simplistic a viewpoint, but given the number of Aston Villa’s summer signings who have experience of French football theirs is now a squad which suddenly looks better suited to Remi Garde than it did to Tim Sherwood.
Impressive starts under new managers are nothing new, and whilst they might eventually go on to lose to Manchester City, there was enough there in the second half of the Tottenham loss to suggest that Villa Park might just be a little optimistic at kick-off.
Back them to take the lead against a City side still missing key players.
Aston Villa to score the first goal (no goal no bet) – 3.30
9 Arsenal v Tottenham: North London Rivals To Show How Much They’ve Grown
5-4, 4-4, 3-2, 3-3, 5-2, 5-2.
The North London derby used to be the home of the madcap scoreline, but there’s not been more than one goal in it in the last five in the Premier League.
Throw in a real sense that this is a big game for more than just N postcode given both sides’ realistic and correct ambitions during what have been impressive starts to the season, and you’ve got the making of a tight, tense contest on Sunday afternoon.
A proper heavyweight battle.
Under 2.5 goals – 2.40
10 Liverpool v Crystal Palace: Is James Milner Falling Into An Old Trap?
When he signed for Liverpool in the summer there was much talk of how James Milner had been promised a role in central midfield by Brendan Rodgers, and how the Englishman was going to relish playing there week-in week-out as he established himself at his new club.
Rodgers didn’t last two months into the season, of course, and since Jurgen Klopp has arrived at Anfield the German has shown no willingness to treat the club’s vice-captain differently to any other midfielder – substituting him just after the hour mark in the wins at Chelsea and Rubin Kazan.
With Lucas Leiva and Philippe Coutinho certain to return to the starting lineup for the clash with Crystal Palace, Emre Can showing fine form since the arrival of his compatriot in the dugout, Adam Lallana and Jordon Ibe receiving special praise from Klopp and Roberto Firmino looking sprightly as he gets up to speed, is Milner falling into an old trap of being a squad player already?
Roberto Firmino to score at any time – 3.00