Mike Norman returns with his best bets from the Saturday 3pms, backing West Ham and Newcastle to bounce back from opening day defeats and Southampton to give Liverpool a game...
“West Ham will be looking to bounce back immediately in this game and on paper I believe they're a better team than the Seagulls.”
Hammers to enjoy trip to the seaside
Not many people would have predicted that one of the pre-season relegation favourites, Brighton, would record an emphatic 3-0 away win on the opening weekend of the season but that's exactly what Graham Potter's men did.
Potter was not surprisingly delighted with the victory, describing it as a 'dream' win, but how much that performance tells us about the Seagulls is still debatable. The fact is they had three shots on target and scored three times albeit one being an own goal. The Hornets played equally well, if not better, but simply failed to take any of their chances.
So although Potter's men have to have taken a lot of confidence from last week's win I believe it will just heighten expectation at the Amex on Saturday and I'm happy to take them on with the wounded Hammers.
Manuel Pellegrini's men were put to the sword by Manchester City last week and it was undoubtedly disappointing the way they collapsed late in the game, but it's easy to forgive that performance given the Hammers' record against the champions and how good City were on the day.
West Ham will be looking to bounce back immediately in this game and on paper I believe they're a better team than the Seagulls.
Hopefully Pellegrini's men will be aware of their poor recent record against the south coast outfit (no wins in last four meetings) and that will act as further incentive to come away with all three points.
Bruce to get off the mark on old stomping ground
Norwich have been widely praised for 'giving it a go' at Anfield last Friday, and to a certain extent I agree. But my gut feeling is that if the Canaries adopt a similar approach in most games this season then they really could be in trouble.
Daniel Farke's men did create a number of openings against Liverpool, but their defending was far from convincing. If Liverpool didn't have a midweek Super Cup final to play - it was very evident how much the Reds took their foot off the gas in the second half - then they could easily have conceded more goals than the four that they did.
Playing at Carrow Road, in a match that they'd very likely target as one to take three points from, I fear they might just go a little more gung-ho than they really should. The outcome of the game then will depend largely on how many chances the Canaries convert. I have no doubt they'll put Newcastle under pressure and create chances, but if they don't score two or three then the home faithful could go home very disappointed.
I was quite impressed with the Magpies against Newcastle last weekend. They perhaps played a little too defensively for the Toon Army's liking, but the fact is they restricted the Gunners to just one goal and ended the game by registering more shots than their superior-quality opponents. Record signing Joelinton> looked very lively and a player that might adapt to the Premier League much faster than anticipated.
If former Norwich man Steve Bruce's men can defend well against the Canaries on Saturday I fancy they'll get on the scoresheet a couple of times themselves, so given the Match Odds, a chance is taken on the north-east outfit bagging a very early three away points.
Saints a big price to hold jaded Reds
I've already heard a few moans about how ridiculous it is that Liverpool have to play just three days after a Super Cup final. Give me strength! It's all part of being successful.
True, the Reds arguably would have liked a Sunday or Monday night game following their penalty shoot-out victory over Chelsea in Turkey on Wednesday night, but hindsight is a wonderful thing and a later scheduled game this weekend would then just mean less time until their following match.
To be fair however the discontent about the scheduling has come from fans, not Liverpool's players or staff, and I can understand. This season promises to be another titanic title battle and even at this stage of the campaign the big clubs will be very reluctant to drop points. And excuses for doing so are never difficult to find.
Liverpool should win of course, they have a very strong squad now and even if Jurgen Klopp rotates his starting XI slightly then they should still come away from St Mary's with a victory. But I'm not one to dive into odds of just 2/5 away from home, three days after a draining 120 minutes of football in hot and humid conditions.
A 3-0 defeat away to Burnley last Saturday was obviously a very disappointing outcome for the Saints, but it was actually a very even contest - and the stats back that up - and it was simply a case of the Clarets converting their chances. That's what you'll find in the Premier League in the bottom half of the table; some very close games with fine margins deciding the outcome.
Ralph Hasenhuttl wasn't too disappointed with his team's performance, admitting he was happy for 60 minutes until some poor defending swung the game in Burnley's favour. But also so talked about needing an immediate reaction, and with a fully-fit squad to choose from I'm happy to take a chance that his said can avoid defeat against Liverpool at a nice price. The Saints have won two and drawn one of their last five home meetings against the Reds, and that record alone suggests this game won't be as one-sided as the odds suggest.
You can follow me on Twitter - @MikkyMo73
Mike's 2019/20 Season P/L:
Staked: 4 pts
Returned: 0 pts
P/L: -4.00 pts
- 2018/19 P/L = +10.97 pts from 112 pts staked (9.79% ROI
- 2017/18 P/L = +20.09 pts from 128 pts staked (15.69% ROI)
- 2016/17 P/L = +42.63 pts from 160 pts staked (26.64% ROI)
- 2015/16 P/L = +14.99 pts from 234 pts staked (6.4% ROI)
- 2014/15 P/L = +35.30 pts from 215 pts staked (16.42% ROI)