Premier League 3pm Kick-Offs: Back the Saints to keep marching on against Swansea

Mike fancies Ronald Koeman's Southampton to win again
Mike fancies Ronald Koeman's Southampton to win again

Mike Norman enjoyed a better afternoon last Saturday with three of his recommended bets winning, including his best bet selection Everton at 2.2. Will our man continue in good form when he takes a look at this week's four 3pm kick-offs...

"I've been very impressed with Southampton, they seem to be every bit as good as they were last term and the key to that it seems is Ronald Koeman's direct replacements for the stars that left - Dusan Tadic for Adam Lallana, Graziano Pelle for Rickie Lambert, and Ryan Bertrand for Luke Shaw for example."

Back Southampton to beat Swansea @ 3.211/5

Aston Villa 5.14/1 v Arsenal 1.845/6; The Draw 3.814/5

Having watched Arsenal in midweek it's hard to make a case for them being odds-on to beat in-form Aston Villa on Saturday afternoon. But this isn't the Champions League and I won't be surprised one bit to see Arsene Wenger's men bounce back immediately.

The Gunners certainly have a good record at Villa Park, a brilliant record in fact as Opta tell us that they haven't tasted defeat there in 15 years!

And although you can't knock the start Villa have made to the season you have to be slightly worried that they've managed just six shots on target so far, the lowest recorded by any club in the Premier League.

What that obviously means is that Paul Lambert's men have been defending extremely well - just one league goal conceded is testament to that - but you wonder how long they can continue doing so. I certainly expect Arsenal's attack to be more threatening than the lacklustre efforts of Liverpool last week.

I don't really want to get involved in the Match Odds market but I am willing to back Danny Welbeck to get on the scoresheet if he starts.

Unlike plenty of good judges I don't believe Welbeck was 'value' at £16m, only time will tell, but any striker who goes 20 games without scoring (as he did before his two goals for England) and fails to hit the target with the three great chances he had in midweek, isn't to be relied on to score plenty of goals in my opinion.

But when I consider the amount of chances Arsenal create then Welbeck can't fail to convert one sooner or later, so the fact that Opta tell us he's scored three goals in his last two games against Villa persuades me to take a chance on him in this game.

Recommended Bet
Back Danny Wellbeck To Score @ 2.89/5 or better

Burnley 2.568/5 v Sunderland 3.1511/5; The Draw 3.412/5

As I've said a few times already, the opening few months of a season is incredibly tough from a betting perspective and few games come tougher to call than this one.

I really couldn't put anyone off backing any of the three possible outcomes - it's that hard to call.

My worry for Burnley, and it always has been, is that they just don't have the required quality to comfortably survive in this division. I'm not saying they're certainties to be relegated but they'll be in and around the bottom third all season, I'm quite confident of that.

Sean Dyche's men have scored just one goal this term and their cause hasn't been helped by the fact that Danny Ings is out injured for a few weeks with a muscle injury. The Clarets' last two games have ended goalless and you wouldn't be surprised if they made it three 0-0s in a row.

I also fancied Sunderland to struggle this term and although they have lost just once so far they are yet to record their first league win. Opta tell us that the Black Cats have lost only one of their last 12 meetings with Burnley so perhaps Gus Poyet's men should be the marginal call.

But don't be surprised if this is a very tight encounter with few goals in it. Under 2.5 Goals is available to back at 1.728/11 and that's how I'll play it.

Recommended Bet
Back Under 2.5 Goals @ 1.728/11

Newcastle 2.285/4 v Hull 3.7511/4; The Draw 3.412/5

It's been a tough week for Newcastle, a heavy defeat to Southampton resulted in a lot of calls for Alan Pardew's head, and in midweek it emerged that assistant manager John Carver had to apologise for his behaviour towards some fans who unfurled a 'Pardew Out' flag ahead of the Saints clash.

Not many can argue with Mike Ashley's loyalty towards Pardew, he seems to have stuck by him and his staff through some difficult times but you wonder how long it will go on.

A home defeat to Hull and you sense it really could be the end for the current Newcastle management team.

I backed Hull earlier in the week at 4.216/5 as I thought that was a big price for a side that has a good record at St James' Park. Opta tell us that Steve Bruce's men have won four of the last five meetings (all competitions) at the home of Newcastle and you have to say that the Tigers are now a stronger outfit than at any other time in those four victories.

In addition to Newcastle's poor home form against Hull they also have a poor recent record in front of their home fans in general, losing eight of their last 12 Premier League home games.

The pressure for a home victory is most certainly going to be on here, and I suspect it might be too much to handle. Hull at 4.216/5 was a great price earlier in the week but even at 3.7511/4 I wouldn't put anyone off.

Recommended Bet
Back Hull to Win @ 3.7511/4

Swansea 2.56/4 v Southampton 3.211/5; The Draw 3.412/5

Swansea have made an excellent start to the season and they performed very well at Stamford Bridge last week also, but the big test is now, how will they react to their first defeat of the campaign?

I've been very impressed with Southampton, they seem to be every bit as good as they were last term and the key to that it seems is Ronald Koeman's direct replacements for the stars that left - Dusan Tadic for Adam Lallana, Graziano Pelle for Rickie Lambert, and Ryan Bertrand for Luke Shaw for example.

It also helps that Morgan Schneiderlin is in sparkling form and that in Fraser Forster they have a genuine top class goalkeeper.

Opta tell us that Southampton did the double over Swansea last season and that Koeman's men are unbeaten in five against Saturday's opponents. It has also been 287 minutes since Garry Monk's men found the net against the Saints.

This could be a high class affair between two sides who really like to play good football. But purely because of the odds - I genuinely expected both clubs to be trading at around 2.77/4 or thereabouts - then I have to make an away win at 3.211/5 as my best bet of the day.

Recommended Bet
Back Southampton to Win @ 3.211/5
(best bet)


Check out the latest Betfair Sports Update where Luke Moore joins Timeform Radio's Tim Peters to discuss the early television game, QPR v Stoke, and the Saturday 3pm kick-offs...

Premier League 2014/15 Season P/L

Staked: 16 pts
Returned: 11.92 pts
P/L: - 4.08 pts

*based on 1pt each bet, 2pts best bet

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