Football: English Premier League Game Week 2 Preview – Liverpool v Man City Top of the Bill

August 23, 2012
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Liverpool play host to Man City on Sunday whilst  5.30pm Kick off on Saturday Features Chelsea V Newcastle

Chelsea, coming into the weekend sit atop the table with 6 points, and may very well remain there after Saturdays action, which would make things interesting at Stamford Bridge 5.30. Wednesday night saw them take all three points in a topsy-turvy game at home, when taking the lead only to fall 1-2 behind to newly promoted Reading. But in a carbon copy of Manchester City’s game against, again, Newly promoted Southampton last week, the home side found a brace of goals, and in fact a fourth to run out comfortable 4-2 winners on the night, and with 5 assists already this season, a wonder-buy in Eden Hazard.

Let’s preview each of the top flight games:

Swansea City v West Ham United

Swansea, if taking all three points in their first home game of the campaign would find themselves top of the very division they are one of the favourites to find themselves relegated from. Odds on their relegation lengthened last week as you would imagine having gone to Loftus Road where they had NEVER recorded a win previously and saw off Queens Park Rangers in emphatic style by a 0-5 score-line. The Swans were 2/1 to be relegated before the game and have eased out to 5/2 now. West Ham did enough to take the points against Aston Villa last weekend, but Villa were poor and the Hammers are on the road today. Swansea last hosted West Ham at the Vetch in 1983, going down 1-5, they lost the same fixture a year previous 0-1. I can’t predict which way this will go, but if Swansea do win, we can expect that relegation price to drift further, 3/1+ maybe, at which point we may have a price to start thinking about trading with. They have an easier start to the season than they do from the end of October through to Christmas. A period when they will have to face, Man City, Newcastle, Liverpool, Newcastle, Chelsea and Arsenal. Pick the right moment to back Swansea for relegation between now and October and we could find a nice trade to be had.

Aston Villa v Everton

The outstanding and perhaps most surprising statistic about this game is that Aston Villa have not conceded to defeat to Everton in the Premier League since March 2006. That came at Goodison Park, and we have to look a further year back in time to find the last win for Everton at Villa Park. Both have been ever present in the top flight during this period and suffered varying levels of fate during each season, perhaps Everton significantly faring better than Saturdays rivals. With Everton seeing off Manchester United on Sunday and Villa putting in a lacklustre performance against West Ham a day earlier, it may be no surprise that the Toffeemen are the favourite to take the three points from this game but with the stats showing this would be a first for some 6 years and twelve games. Bear in mind also that eight of those twelve unbeaten matches have gone to a draw. Everton’s last 10 away games in the Premier League have seen them win just ONCE, Lose TWICE and DRAW the remaining EIGHT games! Make of that what you will with Villa’s last nine homes games containing FIVE DRAWS. On those stats alone you would have made a healthy return if the draws had been priced Odds-on! Currently 3.40 on Betfair for the outcome.

Manchester United v Fulham

Nothing much to conclude with this game other than Fulham will not be repeating a season opening 5-0 victory, and United will be smarting from defeat to Everton. No one wants to meet Alex Fergusons men after they have tasted defeat. Fulham are poor on the road, Manchester United are virtually un-opposable at home, and the Cottagers will be hard pressed to find the net. Man Utd to win to Nil would be my simple call.

Norwich v Queens Park Rangers

Both these sides suffered the ignominy of 5-0 defeats in their opening games. Perhaps worse for QPR as they did it in front of their own fans against a Swansea side promoted alongside them two seasons ago. Is it silly to consider this a relegation 6-pointer already? Probably, but if one misses out by a point at the end of the year and the other goes down, fingers will be pointed back to August. Mark Hughes continues to recruit for Geriatric United at Loftus Road; one thing is for certain, if they survive this season, they will have another close season of rebuilding to do with the quite vast number of over 30′s he now has in his squad. If there is some positive to take from his current strategy, it’s that he is recruiting experience, and for the short term that may just be enough to consign the Canaries to a second consecutive defeat. Let’s hope Delia stays in her seat and away from the PA. QPR have not won at Carrow Road since 008 in the Championship and Norwich have certainly had the upper hand since, winning four of the five subsequent meetings between the sides, including twice at Loftus Road. Whilst I do look at stats heavily, as was proven last week with Swansea’s first ever win at Loftus Road, they are there to make a mockery of us sometime. I shan’t get caught out this week. QPR can complete a stat busting away win.

Southampton v Wigan

Wigan have won four of their last seven Premier League away matches, drawing twice and losing just once. It has to be considered that those results came in a relegation escaping run at the end of last season and they were pretty limp against Chelsea last weekend. Southampton could not have had a harder introduction to the Premier League, finding themselves coming from behind at the Etihad to lead Manchester City 1-2, only to capitulate and lose the game 3-2. Whilst they may take some heart from the nature of the performance and they would have been going to the Champions expecting little more than no points, they may come into this game feeling a little hard done by. Not an easy game to call but one element Southampton can bring into the Premier League this season is their scoring record at St Marys last season. They were nothing short of prolific, with an average of over 2 goals per game at home. Wigans scoring record away from home was just 1.05 per game. Given that by the end of the season there were just six league positions between the pair one would have to fancy the firepower of the Hampshire club to be the significant potential factor in this match up. Consider also that Manchester City conceded 2 or more goals at home only three times last term and Southampton have already notched that particular boast already.

Sunderland v Reading

Sunderland had an excellent start, shutting out Arsenal at the Emirates, Reading will be hurting after Wednesday night at Stamford Bridge and look as they will struggle this year. Straightforward home win call.

Tottenham v West Brom

I for one shan’t be pushing my way to the virtual counter to back Spurs at 1/2 to win this game. It will be some time in fact before I wil be investing anything in AVB’s team from a positive point of view. I’m not doubting the man himself, but I shall want convincing before investing any hard earned. I will admit to a cheeky little bet on Spurs finishing outside the top six on the announcement of his appointment. They have, what on paper, looks a fairly easy run over the next four games before going to Old Trafford, and nothing but three points a game will be expected by the board and fans I’m sure. I think there will be a stumble or two along the way, and after West Brom took apart Liverpool last weekend, this will not be a straight-forward task either. Confidence will be high with the Baggies, despite losing both games against Spurs last term. The White Hart Lane outfit are a different side under a very different style of manager now.

Chelsea v Newcastle

This is match of the day for Saturday and promises to be a humdinger. Chelsea are looking strong with Eden Hazard in the line up providing no fewer than five assists already this term. The Magpies will have to find a way of controlling him, but whilst doing so, may be taking eyes off other threats which permeate this strong looking Chelsea side. And how about this for a statistic. Chelsea have not beaten Newcastle at Stamford Bridge since 2007. Papa Cisse scoring a wonder-brace last season to send the Champions League winners to a 0-2 reverse, and prior to that they have recorded a 2-2 draw after the 3-4 win in which Shola Ameobi scored the last minute winner to recover the three point from a prior 1-3 lead in the game. I will be concentrating on the goal markets in this one and expect lots of action.

Stoke City v Arsenal

This game finished in a 1-1 draw last season, and Stoke are notoriously difficult to break down at the Brit.  Questions will of course be being asked of how strong the Gunners are now without Van Persie, and without doubt his departure is going to have an effect. Arsenal are just too unpredictable for me to get involved in betting on matches in which they involved. Stoke haven’t lost at home in the Prem in seven games, winning 2 and drawing five, underlining how tricky they are to defeat at home.  Additionally the home side have a fantastic record in this fixture. I can’t call it, but predict another game with goals.

Liverpool v Manchester City

Over Evens for Manchester City to subject Brendan Rodgers to the harshest of starts to the season is a fairly tempting price. No Aguero for the Champions will do little to weaken the squad and Liverpool will still be smarting from the 3-0 defeat handed to them by West Brom. Liverpool have lost four of their last seven Premier League home games. Need I say more?

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