1. Are Aston Villa destined for relegation?
It all looked so bright for Villa after just four games of the season, three wins and a draw saw Paul Lambert's men trail only Chelsea in the early Premier League table and their odds drifted out to 10.09/1 in Betfair's Relegation market.
But since that surprise win over Liverpool at Anfield in early September it's been nothing short of a nightmare season for the Villans. They've taken just 12 points from their last 17 Premier League outings - no club in the top flight has accumulated less in the same period - and their woeful tally of just 11 goals scored all term has them by some distance as the lowest-scoring team in the top four divisions of English football. But because of Aston Villa's good start to the campaign their status as arguably the worst team in the top flight is being overlooked and we can still back them at 4.1 to go down.
They can't score goals, therefore they can't win games, and their next three league matches are against Liverpool, Arsenal, and Chelsea. We will be presented with a good trade at that point, but don't Cash Out there - Villa still have Newcastle, Manchester United, Tottenham, Manchester City, and Southampton to play away from home. They're going down.
2. Five teams to battle for two spare places in Top Four
Southampton's upset win at Old Trafford injected a fresh dose of surprise into the Top Four battle and suggests the competition for a Champions League place will go to the death. The top two spots will surely go to Chelsea and City - and you can't back the London outfit while City are 1.011/100 - and Betfair punters then make it 1.511/2 United and 1.548/15 Arsenal to round out the top four. Simple then huh? But will it be that straightforward? After wins over Everton, Crystal Palace, Arsenal and United, and a draw against Chelsea, Southampton's late 2014 wobble is a distant memory and the market fully respects their chance. Ronald Koeman's team are fifth favourites at 2.588/5.
And what of Spurs and Liverpool? The London side, sixth in the table after a first league defeat in seven this weekend, are 7.613/2 while Brendan Rodgers' fast improving outfit, beaten just once in their last nine league games, are 6.86/1. Like Arsenal, both teams have the distraction of European competition but possess strong squads and as recent results show are capable of going on long unbeaten runs. Could now be the time to take a chance on one of these two at big odds?
3. French revolution in Wales?
Bafetimbi Gomis didn't score against West Ham but he celebrated as if he had and that cathartic outpouring of emotion after Swansea's equaliser looks like sparking a turning point for the French international in the Premier League. Previously kept out of the first team by the insatiable goalscoring talents of Wilfried Bony, the £28m sale of the Ivorian to Manchester City gives Gomis a clear chance to become le premier choix upfront for the Swans. And his second 90 minutes of football for the Welsh outfit this season gave us a solid indication that he will grasp that chance. The Frenchman was a muscular presence throughout and carved out a decent number of chances against the Londoners. Previous club form suggests he won't score as regularly as Bony - few Premier League strikers do, however - and the dreadlocked Gomis has every chance of becoming the Liberty Stadium's next goalscoring hero. Keep an eye out for Gomis in the final third of the season.
4. Sanchez a Golden Boot bet
Sky Sports today asked their viewers the question 'Is Alexis Sanchez the best player in the Premier League?'. We're not sure we'd go that far just yet (that Sergio Aguero was looking pretty decent before his recent injury wasn't he?) but the Chilean has taken no time whatsoever to settle in and his 12 goal tally puts him a comfortable fourth in the Golden Boot battle (and the third favourite to score the most goals this season). With a favourable fixture list coming up, and the 26-year-old back on firing form, he could just catch up with the competition. A trade at 9.417/2?
5. New manager bounce in south London and west Midlands
It's an extremely limited sample of games from which to draw conclusions, but both West Brom and Crystal Palace enjoyed a big new manager bounce this weekend. Both teams seemed to show a little of the character of their managers and you can imagine the good vibes at both training grounds this morning. Tony Pulis' team regained their defensive strength in a 1-0 defeat of Hull, a win that saw the Baggies notch their seventh clean sheet of the campaign. Palace meanwhile displayed plenty of character in their come-from-behind victory over Spurs. You can't draw any firm conclusions from one league game apiece but these new appointments have both got off to ideal starts at their clubs and might just have generated momentum at an ideal time. Contrarians who wish to swim against the tide can back either team for the drop at big odds-against prices - Palace are 3.55/2 while the Baggies are 4.84/1. Defeat for either would have seen them enter the new week in the relegation zone so it is a clear and present danger!