1 It’s Time For Wayne Rooney To Become More Than A Distraction
Such is the angst over Wayne Rooney’s recent form it’s almost been overlooked that Manchester United have won three out of three in all competitions this season, haven’t yet conceded a goal to an opposition player and bounce into this clash with Newcastle off the back of Old Trafford hailing a new hero in Memphis Depay.
But, oh, that Rooney eh?
The United skipper continues to flail around upfront like a white-booted fish out of water, and only a goal in Saturday afternoon’s early kick-off will satisfy a growing army of I-told-you-soers. Against the leaky Magpies, he has every chance of finding it.
Wayne Rooney to score at any time 2.00
2 Which Way Will Palace & Villa’s Seasons Go?
Both opened the campaign with away wins at promoted clubs they’ll hope to stay above all season, before both coming a cropper at home to one of the division’s elite. It looks like being that way for Crystal Palace and Aston Villa for the whole campaign.
Perhaps this Selhurst Park meeting between the claret and blue pair will give us an indicator of which one we can expect to do the better throughout the season, then, and with Tim Sherwood’s team seemingly set up to prevail when they can hit their opponents on the counter-attack, they could well get something.
Draw or Aston Villa Double Chance 2.05
3 Can Claudio Ranieri Spark Crisis Talk At Tottenham?
At 2-0 up with 12 minutes remaining at home to Stoke last weekend, there was time for ‘Good Spurs’ to revel in the spotlight.
A home win against one of the growing number of upstarts operating just below the North Londoners’ level was a great response to the opening day defeat at Manchester United, but then Spurs went and Spursed all over the place to concede twice and draw 2-2.
Now comes a trip to visit a giddy Leicester City and Claudio Ranieri, who has been metaphorically flicking the Vs at all of his critics off the back of two impressive victories in two games.
Should that become three then all of a sudden it’ll be Mauricio Pochettino in the eyeline of the critics once more.
This would be a good time for ‘Good Spurs’ to show up again.
Leicester City to win 2.67
4 Xherdan Shaqiri Could Show Norwich What They’re Up Against
If the sight of Xherdan Shaqiri lining up for Stoke City at Norwich City on Saturday proves anything then it’ll be that the sheer number of the Premier League’s haves is growing compared to the have nots.
Stay in the division for as long as you can and you’ll be rewarded in kind, and although Norwich impressed with the 3-1 win at shambolic Sunderland last weekend, Stoke should see this as the perfect chance to kickstart their season following tricky opening games against Liverpool and Tottenham.
Norwich might just be about to find out that there are more good teams in this division than they anticipated.
Stoke City to win 3.30
5 Has Dick Advocaat Got The Stomach For The Fight?
Famously convinced to retake the Sunderland job by his wife after he’d initially turned it down and planned to retire in the summer, Dick Advocaat might just have had a word or two to say to Mrs Advocaat since then.
A disastrous couple of defeats sees the Dutchman’s Black Cats all at sea and already the overwhelming favourites to go down, and having initially shown a reluctance to take the job on, will a home loss to an impressive Swansea see the veteran walk away?
Swansea City to win 2.05
Dick Advocaat To Be The Next Premier League Manager To Leave 1.90
6 Bournemouth’s Hard Luck Story Act Could Wear Thin
Narrow losses to Aston Villa and Liverpool – the latter from a Christian Benteke goal which undoubtedly shouldn’t have stood – have certainly reminded Bournemouth than they are in the big league now, but hard luck stories have a tendency to wear thin quickly.
The Cherries only registered two shots on target in each match, showing that for all their pretty approach play there is still a lack of end product which makes everything else just seem like hot air.
Against a West Ham outfit desperate to prove that last week’s loss to Leicester was a blip, they could find that the story takes an unwelcome turn.
West Ham to win 2.35
7 Chelsea Prepare To Come Out Fighting
Outside of banning the issue of little blue plastic flags to fans it’s difficult to know just how the beginning of this campaign could have gone any worse for Chelsea, but surely all of that stops now.
Jose Mourinho responded to his champions’ miserable 3-0 defeat at The Hawthorns at the tail end of last season by running up to the visiting fans with a lone finger in the air to emphasise the fact that they had just won the league, that he and they were the number ones and that he was still the master of life, the universe and everything despite being out-thought by a Tony Pulis team.
It wouldn’t be a surprise to see exactly the same thing on Sunday afternoon.
Chelsea -1 to win 2.60
8 Goals Guaranteed At Giddy Goodison
Goodison Park hosts a meeting of last weekend’s two most impressive teams, with Everton and Manchester City both entering battle following 3-0 wins over sides which finished above them last season.
Romelu Lukaku and Sergio Aguero both led from the front for their respective outfits back then, and here both will again be on the front line as the emphasis is put on attack rather than the evolving defences of both teams.
With John Stones perhaps distracted and City possibly set to break up a defence which has kept back-to-back clean sheets to include new signing Nicolas Otamendi, goals could be guaranteed as last week’s great entertainers cross swords.
Over 3.5 goals in the match 2.60
9 Are Saints’ Standards Slipping?
The Europa League’s numerous detractors are keeping a keen eye on Southampton this season, with Saints’ continental commitments seen by many as the forerunner to a poor league campaign.
Nothing that Ronald Koeman’s team served up in the home loss to Everton or midweek draw with FC Midtjylland will be able to convince people otherwise, either, and this trip to Watford completes a difficult week from which it’s very possible that no victories will be gleaned.
The Hornets have played out two draws so far, and another point is possible here.
Score Draw 4.60
10 Perception Is On The Line At The Emirates
Arsenal had a false start and then ground out a win over Crystal Palace, whilst Liverpool have managed two victories without receiving any plaudits. Whichever way you look at it, both will see their starts to the season judged by Monday night’s fixture at the Emirates Stadium.
If Arsenal win, then they’ll really be off and running having swatted aside a team with top four pretentions, whilst if Liverpool triumph they’ll have won three out of three and comparisons will be drawn to the excellent start to their 2013/14 campaign.
Convenient early season draw, anyone?
Correct Score: 1-1 8.00