Saints' Ivanovic Plan, Man Utd’s Mata Magic & 10 Things To Look Out For In The Premier League This Weekend

1 Palace Need To Make Home Where The Heart Is

In 12 Premier League away games under Alan Pardew, Crystal Palace have won a scarcely believable nine – the most recent three points having been ground out in an attritional battle at Watford on Sunday.

At home, though, they’ve lost five of their last seven. Admittedly the last three of those were to Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City, but the first two were to Hull and Saturday’s opponents West Brom last season. The good news is that Palace are much better now.

Fresh from a morale-sapping loss at home to Everton, the Baggies arrive deflated and should leave defeated.

Crystal Palace to win 1.81


2 Aston Villa Seek To Out-Stoke Stoke

Aston Villa v Manchester United - Premier League : News Photo

Both of these two took something from last weekend – Stoke earning their first three points of the season at home to Bournemouth, and Aston Villa emerging with credit from a 3-2 defeat at Anfield.

Rudy Gestede battered and bruised Martin Skrtel, Mamadou Sakho and Emre Can that afternoon, and he’ll be looking to do the same against the visiting defenders from Stoke City at Villa Park.

Aston Villa, with their proud footballing traditions and principles, getting all physical against Stoke, a favourite subject of lazy stereotypes for years? It should be a fascinating clash of styles.

Draw with both teams scoring 4.75


3 Murray Seeks To Fill The Wilson Void

The cruciate knee ligament injury which has ruled Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson out for at least six months really is one of the saddest stories of the season so far, and a reminder of the cruelty of sport.

Without their previously in-form forward, Bournemouth go in search of a third win of the season at home to Watford in a match which is likely to see Glenn Murray thrust in for his first start for the club in place of the stricken Wilson.

Some good form at the back end of last season for Crystal Palace certainly suggested that Murray knows where the goal is, and he’s likely to relish his newfound responsibility.

Glenn Murray to score at any time 2.80


4 Manchester City Welcome Their Perfect Opponents At The Right Time


Back-to-back Premier League defeats have steered the good ship Manchester City – once an unsinkable battle vessel – off course, and that’s why the Newcastle United team bus will be welcomed with open arms when it docks at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

City have won the last 11 meetings in the league and the aggregate score of the pair’s last three at the Etihad reads 13-0, with even David Silva – hardly a prolific goalscorer – able to point to four strikes in those three games.

The Spaniard returned to the team for the Champions League win at Borussia Moenchengladbach in midweek, and even though Manuel Pellegrini called that success ‘lucky’, he shouldn’t need to feel similarly come the end of this one.

David Silva to score and Manchester City to win 2.90


5 How Will Leicester React To A Loss?

London buses aren’t a regular sight in Norwich, but the old adage of waiting for one and then two coming along at once might well be seen on Saturday afternoon.

Leicester City lost both their first game of the season and the Premier League’s last remaining unbeaten record when they succumbed to Arsenal last weekend, and a defeat here could see a quietly impressive Norwich go above them.

Things change quickly in the Premier League.

Norwich to win 2.25


6 Defeat Could Be The Final Straw For Dick Advocaat

Winless, rudderless, largely hopeless. It’s not looking good for Sunderland.

With the sizeable silhouette of Sam Allardyce lurking in the background, Dick Advocaat doesn’t look to be long for the Premier League world, and a loss to a West Ham side who have turned winning on the road into an art form could well be the final act in a production which will probably miraculously improve around late March.

West Ham to win 2.40

Dick Advocaat to be the next Premier League manager to leave 1.80  


7 Will Southampton Double Up To Isolate Ivanovic?

Chelsea v Swansea City - Premier League : News Photo

Jose Mourinho was at pains to point out that Branislav Ivanovic is staying in his team at his press conference before Saturday evening’s clash with Southampton at Stamford Bridge, but things might be about to get a whole lot harder for the Serbian.

Knowing how much the formerly formidable full-back struggles against pace, Saints boss Ronald Koeman might like to field Sadio Mane on the left hand side to put him in direct competition with Ivanovic.

The quickness of the Senegalese coupled with overlaps from the returning former Chelsea left-back Ryan Bertrand could end up leaving Ivanovic, Mourinho and Chelsea in a spin once more.

Both teams to score 1.80


8 Can Everton Deal With Derby Favouritism This Time?

Both competing managers have been at pains to deny it, but Everton are rightly favourites for the 225th Merseyside derby (it’s the law to mention what number it is).

However, recent history is full of examples of the Blues going into derbies as favourites and expected to win, only to become somewhat inhibited when faced with their Red rivals and struggling to exert any authority.

This was particularly true under David Moyes, but under Roberto Martinez and against this current wet-piece-of-tissue-paper-strong Liverpool team that shouldn’t be a problem. The Blues can earn a win with room to spare.

Everton to win 2.72


9 Juan Mata’s Quiet Resurgence Can Continue

Manchester United FC v VfL Wolfsburg - UEFA Champions League : News Photo

It has been names of the other two Ms, Memphis and Martial, which have been on the lips of Manchester United fans for most of the season, but more recently it has been Juan Mata who has been coming to the fore.

Goals, assists and general busyness in the wins over Sunderland and Wolfsburg in the past week have reminded everyone of just what a special talent Mata can be when he’s on his game, and if he can find some pockets of space at the Emirates Stadium then he could well punish an Arsenal outfit who seem addicted to shooting themselves in the foot right now.

Juan Mata to score at any time 4.80


10 Swansea Get A Look At What They Want To Be

However well Swansea continue to do in the Premier League, and however many weights they continue to punch above, the stark reality is that the highest level they can possibly wish to reach is probably the one occupied by Tottenham Hotspur right now.

Europa League participants, general nuisances to the stars (as Manchester City found out) and one of the division’s stalwarts, Spurs are and will forever remain and very good Premier League club.

Swansea might not beat them, but they’ll want to join them.

Both teams to score 1.73