Strap yourself in for a great weekend of sport including Masters Golf and The Grand National, the Premier League kicks it all off on Friday night:
Newcastle United v Wolverhampton Wanderers
Surprisingly this fixture has always been very tight, two wins each (one home and away) while nine draws. After a run of form which has propelled them to nigh on safety Newcastle enter this game on a three game losing streak. All of those defeats have been away from home and Eddie Howe will be looking to the home fans for that extra edge. Wolves will not lay down at St James Park and will make it as hard as any team who’ve visited there this season. The battle between Neves/Moutinho & Guimaraes will be one of the silkiest you will see this weekend. This game promises to be another Friday Night Cracker as the away side seem to be struggling defensive wise of late while I have never been convinced with Newcastle’s backline, Dan Burn and Matt Targett despite joining in January will not be at the club this time next year.
FPL Player to Watch – Bruno Guimaraes £4.9m
Bet Select – Newcastle win
Everton v Manchester United
In years gone by this fixture has been a favourite one for the Toffees but despite home advantage and the shady form of Utd it’s hard to see how Everton can earn three points. Losing to a Burnley on Wednesday night was a bitter one and leaves them firmly in the dogfight down the bottom of the table. Richarlison and Calvert Lewin need to take the fight to Maguire and Varane and hope their back four can avoid conceding. Champions League qualification seems out of reach now for United but numerous players on the roster will be playing for their future. Anthony Elanga has been a bright contributor to his side and could play a huge part in this match, the pace and movement he offers will surely mean he will be a constant form to the Merseysiders.
FPL Player to Watch – Anthony Elanga £4.8m
Bet Select – Man Utd win
Arsenal v Brighton & Hove Albion
Large parts of the media and the laughable personalities from ARSENALTV want you to believe the home sides season is sliding away. Injuries to Tierney and Partey are big blows but their is still enough quality to see them through most of the run in especially this game. Brighton’s form is woeful and they’ve constantly brought no joy to their fans for a while now. The one glimmer of hope though is historically this fixture sits all square results wise so they have matched up well with the North London side. In the second half Monday Arsenal created quite a few efforts on goal but either goalkeeping excellence or poor shooting prevented them making it on to the scoresheet. Smith Rowe was the main culprit but he seems to possess a great deal of mental strength, I fully expect him to bounce back with a few goals on Saturday.
FPL Player to Watch – Emile Smith Rowe £5.7m
Bet Select – Arsenal win
Southampton v Chelsea
It’s nine years since Southampton last beat Chelsea at St Mary’s, one player from each team remains and The Saints representative James Ward Prowse holds the key to them gaining any positive result. He is the heartbeat, keeping him quiet in open play though is not a given in totally nullifying the midfielder as whether it’s a corner, free kick or penalty he can make a impact. A squad place for England in the World Cup has to be his! It’s worth keeping a eye out for Stuart Armstrong he has a eye for a goal due to his clean striking of a ball, he may benefit with all the eyes on his partner in crime Ward Prowse. This week has seen Chelsea concede seven and lose two games but they are never more dangerous when the chips are down plus playing away from home suits their playing style. Azpilicueta is the sole Chelsea player from nine years ago but he is less likely to play with the vital Madrid second leg pending. It’s hard to imagine the World Champions losing three on the trot, which is why i predict an away win. The squad players which may receive a outing on Saturday like Werner or Hudson Odoi will play with more flexibility and pace which is vital as they will need to pin back the adventurous full backs for Southampton.
Leeds have never lost to Watford in the Premier League but the sample size is small. This battle holds great significance at the bottom of the table, time is running out and wins need to happen sooner rather than later, mainly for the home side. The key match up is the Watford forwards (by far their strength) taking on the Leeds defence (which has been woeful for so long this term). As with any key game the home fans will be required to propel the team to a positive result, Vicarage Road tends to deliver when needed. Big players like Kalvin Phillips and Liam Cooper are returning to Jesse Marschs line up and the experience they possess will be needed in droves to continue pulling them away from the drop. The American coach is out of his depth, he stumbled across a couple of wins and he may benefit from the fact three sides are worse than his!
FPL Player to Watch – Ismailia Sarr £5.7m
Bet Select – Watford win
Aston Villa v Tottenham Hotspur
This is a fun game for a Saturday night, both sides have some quality players mixed in with some dross which helps create some mismatches across the field. The all round superstar is Harry Kane, he can create like Coutinho while no one else has the poaching touch like he does. It could be someone like Lucas Moura who grabs the headlines though, he is massively underrated and the Villa defence will be concentrating on Kane or Son. Mings or Cash could easily be sent off too if they find themselves pinned back by waves of constant pressure from the away side. Arsenal visited Villa Park recently and blew apart the home side, a similar mission statement performance from Contes charges should not be discounted as Villa are struggling. Jacob Ramsey has been quiet for a while, imposing himself on the Spurs midfield will not be easy but attainable.
FPL Player to Watch – Lucas Moura £6m
Bet Select - Spurs win
Brentford v West Ham United
Brentford snatched victory earlier in the season at the London Stadium and with West Ham recovering from their Europa League ten man exploits a home victory is not completely strange. Christian Eriksen when starting a game has not suffered defeat but the Hammers cannot be taken lightly. Whoever is fit to start will as always represents the claret and blue to the upmost, playing in the mould of their manager David Moyes. The home fans will be wary of returning hero Said Benrahma, even though his form is patchy for his current club they all know what he can do! The one remaining BMW element for Brentford Bryan Mbuemo has struggled scoring wise in the top flight but his general play is of the highest calibre. Sunday could be a perfect time for the Frenchman to bring up his Xg. Victory for the home side will take them to 36 points and surely another season guaranteed in the Premier League.
FPL Player to Watch – Bryan Mbuemo £5.2m
Bet Select – Draw
Leicester City v Crystal Palace
Last years FA Cup winners could be facing this seasons winners, it’s a tough ask for the London side but the exciting young talent at their disposal are more than capable of pulling off two one off victories over the countries best three teams. Wilfred Zaha is supported and even overshadowed by some of teammates this season but all the time he plays for Palace he will always be the key man. Picking up the ball from the halfway line he can progress to the penalty area rapidly while taking out a few opposition players. James Maddison holds equal importance to Zaha for his club but such a different talent, England honours seems to have passed him by but continual top billing during games domestically will not cease. Result wise this has the feel of a coin flip to it but in the context to a bet I am going to lean towards the home side, just because TheEagles always seem to struggle when trying to string multi game winning streaks.
FPL Player to Watch – James Maddison £6.8m
Bet Select – Leicester City win\
Norwich City v Burnley
Sky Sports have picked the drabbest of drab games for their Super Sunday double bill. This match is all about Burnley and if they’re one point behind Everton prior to kick off then victory has to occur, the two point gap could see them stay up as they will only need to match the toffees every match week. After initially scoring for his side Weghorst has been quiet offensively too much lately, dominating the soft Norwich centre backs should be easy, from there he should build and get himself back on the score sheet. The performance limpness shown by Norwich says they they will need a major rebuild this summer before taking on the challenge to earn promotion back to the Premier League. It’s increasingly less likely Dean Smith will be given the role to lead the team back too.
FPL Player to Watch – Wout Weghorst £6.4m
Bet Select – Burnley win
Manchester City v Liverpool
These two sides are head and shoulders above their peers domestically and abroad, over the next few weeks they will battle each other in differing competitions. If one of them wins this game they WILL become champions, points in the future could be dropped but majorly unlikely. So often all the talk around this fixture are the amazing foreign stars playing for these two clubs, this Sunday once the game is over Phil Foden will be fully etched into the top echelon conversation. Fresh off his cameo in the week versus Athletico Madrid, the boy is ready to become the man at the Etihad. If anyone can destroy the dribble past VVD stat it’s the young Mancunian. The non open play goal narrative around Salah surely will firmly evaporate after the game, he is a big game player who thrives on the small spaces allowed in epic matches. This will be the most watched game of the season but unlike other games of this magnitude the teams cannot play cautiously and will go at it like two novice boxers swinging at every chance.
The bet select acca rolls in this weekend at 2254.33/1, fingers crossed the picks get us past the first two games so the excitement lasts till the 3pm games. If you are betting on the Grand National then keep a eye on FIDDLERONTHEROOF.
Have a great matchweek and for a change no extra fixtures and they all finish by Sunday evening.