Premier League: Impotent Arsenal, Man United's Toughest Test & 10 Things To Look Out For This Weekend


1 Can Arsenal Actually Score A Goal?

It’s not been the best of starts for Arsene Wenger’s men. They find themselves five points behind the leaders already and have just one win from their opening three matches.

Their profligacy in front of goal is a huge worry as they head to St James’ Park. No team has had more shots on goal than the Gunners (58) but no side has scored less than the meagre two goals they have mustered so far.

Olivier Giroud has looked poor, wasting chances and generally not leading the line to much effect. It may be time for Theo Walcott to get a go in the north-east. The likely defensive duo of Fabricio Coloccini and Steven Taylor aren’t exactly dripping in pace and the England man could cause them some real issues. This whole needing a striker lark has gone on too long, go sign one Arsene.

Arsenal Under 0.5 Goals 5.50

 

2 A Goal Fest In Birmingham

Villa and Sunderland may have progressed in the Capital One Cup in midweek but they did both conceded three goals to teams from League One and League Two, respectively. Not ideal showings from team’s looking to develop after poor seasons last time out.

The Black Cats have conceded eight goals, more than any other Premier League side, and the chances of them dealing well with the likes of Adama Traroe and Rudi Gestede are slim to say the least.  Nevertheless, they have managed to score four at the right end of the pitch, with Jermain Defoe looking a real menace.

Tim Sherwood’s men have been boring all round so far, scoring two and conceding three, but that circus against Notts County shows they are suspect at the back, something the clever Defoe will thrive on. They will get chances from a rickety back four, thus a feast of goalmouth action is in store in the Midlands.

Over 3.5 goals in the match

 

3 The Battle Of The Premier League’s Leading Marksmen

They may not be the men you’d expect at the top of the charts but Ryiad Mahrez and Callum Willson have found the net on four and three occasions, respectively, so far this term.

The Leicester winger is on an incredible run of six goals in as many league outings and he has been the catalyst behind the Foxes' amazing start. Wilson decided to grab all his goals in one game against West Ham last weekend. The Hammers defence gave him a helping hand but he took them all superbly.

Can Mahrez continue his incredible run? Can Wilson show he’s more Rickie Lambert than Sylvain Ebanks-Blake? The south coast is the place to be if you want to find out this weekend.

Mahrez to score anytime 4.10

 

4 Pards Pulling The Plug On The Pedro Party

Chelsea won at West Brom last week but it was far from easy, and it was a long way from convincing. New man Pedro proved to be the spark that the Blues needed but Palace will provide a very different test to the one that the Baggies laid on.

The Eagles possess speed like no other side in the division and in Yannick Bolasie, Wilfried Zaha, Jason Puncheon, Bakary Sako and even Dwight Gayle they have the makings of a 4x100m relay squad. That will put the fear of God into Branisalv Ivanovic.

The reliable Serbian has been anything but so far and it would be no surprise to see him dropped and new man Abdul Baba Rahman come in at left-back, with Cesar Azpilicueta switching to the right.  Alan Pardew would like nothing more than to pour misery all over Stamford Bridge with his sparkling cockney grin, he just might.

Crystal Palace/Draw Double Chance 3.30

 

5 Bilic’s Boys Have To Show Some Bottle

The Slaven Bilic bubble is in serious danger of bursting already at Upton Park. It almost went bang on the first day of the season, but that was due to the amount of praise handed out over inflating It after a win at the Emirates. Ever since then it’s all been a bit sketchy from West Ham.

Defensively they look dire and a trip to a ground where they have failed to score on six of their last seven visits is far from ideal. Do they have the capability to sit and keep it tight and hit the Reds on the break? If the last two weeks is anything to go by, then no.

Brendan Rodgers’ men are yet to lose or concede a goal and have improved markedly at the back. Nevertheless they have found the net just twice. They couldn’t ask for better opponents to get their shooting boots sorted. Liverpool have scored three or more against the Iron in four of their last seven showdowns in Merseyside.  

Liverpool to score over 2.5 goals 2.35

 

6 City Showing Complacency Is A Thing Of The Past

Now, obviously a home clash with Watford looks an easy game for the leaders. Sergio Aguero will fill his boots and David Silva will have a field day. This is most likely exactly what will happen, but it’s worth remembering that City faltered around this time last year, as they lost to Stoke at the Etihad.

The Citizens drew at home to the likes of Burnley and Hull in 2014/15, ultimately losing them the title they worked so hard to win the year before. This is their chance to lay down a marker and show they have become a well-oiled machine not too dissimilar to that of Chelsea.

Man CIty to win -2 2.25

 

 

7 Potters To Show Pretty Is Perfect

An old face returns to the Britannia this weekend and it’s likely that he won’t recognise the place. City have gotten a bit sexy since Tony Pulis left the scene, replacing his trademark baseball cap with a more eye-catching velvet fedora. However, so far the hat doesn’t seem to fit.

Mark Hughes has added some flair from the continent and genuine class in Xherdan Shaqiri but his side still only have two points from their three games to show for it. They were battered at Norwich last week, only Jack Butland keeping them in it, and they needed penalties to oust Luton in the Capital One Cup.

The Baggies will turn up to be resolute and nick one on the break. They haven’t exactly had the best start to the new campaign but they do have two clean sheets in three trips to Staffordshire and they could pile the pressure on Sparky and his young pretenders.

Stoke to beat West Brom 1.93

 

8 Kane v Lukaku: Battle Of The Big Men

These two have had pretty contrasting starts to their seasons. Kane hasn’t exactly had much help at Spurs, something they’ve addressed with the signing of Son Heung-min, but he hasn’t been the goal-threat he was last term. Much of the talk has been of last year being a ‘fluke’, it’s not time to write off the 22-year-old as a one season wonder by any stretch, but a goal would settle him down and silence the sceptics.

Everton hitman Lukaku has looked a player reborn so far. He ended last year looking disinterested but has come out like a man possessed in 2015/16. He destroyed Southampton with a brace two weeks ago and grabbed another two midweek against Barnsley. A firing Lukaku is the difference between the Toffees challenging the top seven or mid-table mediocrity.

Kane to score first 4.40

 

9 Sorry Saints Crumble Against The Canaries

The last time Norwich lost a league game away from Carrow Road Alex Neil was still playing for Hamilton. Not great reading for Southampton supporters, whose side have recorded just one victory in nine Premier League outings.

Their, ultimately unfruitful, Europa League exertions won’t have helped Saints, nor will the fact that they just haven’t got going at all this season. Draws with Watford and Newcastle aren’t going to get the pulses racing on the south coast and they need to address the slide.

The fixtures have been fairly kind to Norwich but they hammered Stoke last time out, only to be denied by the brilliance of Jack Butland. If they take their chances at St Mary’s then Ronald Koeman’s troublesome Achilles won’t be the only pain he has to deal with.  

Norwich to beat Southampton 3.85

 

10 Swans Can Expose Dull Devils

Man United have had a consistent, if unspectacular, start. Most of the talk has revolved around their need for a striker but if they avoid defeat here it will be the first time they have gotten through their first four matches unbeaten in four attempts. Saying that, they’ve hardly brought any excitement to the top-flight this term.

United have become robotic in their play, seemingly attempting to hypnotise defences into submission with their sideways passing, only Memphis has offered any genuine spark. They were lucky to get a win against Tottenham, forgettable at Villa and Newcastle could have won late on last week.

A trip to Wales will provide their first stern test. Swansea look magnificent. Solid at the back, pacey and creative in attack, they have the armoury to shut United out and in Bafetimbi Gomis, much like Aleksandr Mirtovic, they have a player that can upset Daley Blind and Chris Smalling. The Jacks will fancy their chances on Sunday. 

Swansea to beat Man Utd 3.50