Happy away days on the cards
Our team preview Wednesday's packed Premier League programme and feel the value lies with several of the away sides.
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Andy Schooler fancies the chances of Newcastle and Aston Villa, Nick Hext likes the look of Cardiff and Ben Coley is backing Chelsea in one of the sub-markets.
Check out our full match-by-match guide to the action.
- 2pts Newcastle to beat Swansea at 11/4 (bet365) - visitors have won 4 in a row; hosts are struggling & have key men out
- 1pt Cardiff to beat Stoke at 31/10 (bet365, BetVictor) - Cardiff the value call in this close contest
- 1pt both teams to score and Chelsea to win at 13/5 (Coral) - Sunderland have attacking threat but Chelsea should ultimately prove too strong
- 1pt Aston Villa to beat Southampton at 19/4 (bet365, sportingbet) - Villa are better equipped to win on the road & some doubts surround Southampton
Arsenal v Hull (1945 GMT)
It will surprise nobody that Arsenal are heavy odds-on favourites in this match. The Gunners sit four points clear at the top of the Premier League and are in a very nice run of form. Arsene Wenger's outfit have won six out of eight matches in all competitions - defeats coming against Manchester United in the league and Chelsea in the League Cup - and the scorelines make interesting reading. All the wins have been to nil and four of the six have been 2-0 victories - it would have been five but for Aaron Ramsey's very late strike in the 3-0 success at Cardiff on Saturday. You can get 11/2 for a 2-0 win to the hosts on Wednesday night but that isn't quite tempting enough for me with the possibility of more goals if all the attacking stars fire. Those of you after a bigger stake may like the 5/6 with BetVictor for Arsenal to win to nil but the prowess of Hull's counter-attacking play in the 3-1 win over Liverpool puts me off. The Tigers were impressive in defeating the Reds and - on the field if not off it - it's all smiles after a decent start to the campaign. This isn't a contest the visitors will expect anything from and the journey back north will be made with no extra points.
Verdict: Arsenal 2 Hull 0 (NH)
Arsenal have won eight of the last nine matches against the Tigers in all competitions (W8 D0 L1).
Hull have won just one of their last 30 Premier League away games (W1 D7 L22).
Arsenal have conceded just 15 goals in their last 23 Premier League games, only one team has scored more than one in a match against them in that run (Aston Villa in August - 1-3).
The Gunners have kept five clean sheets in their last six games in all competitions, conceding just one goal in the other match (0-1 at Man Utd).
Liverpool v Norwich (1945)
It's been rather startling how open Liverpool have been in their last two games, ones which have seen them concede three at both Everton and Hull. As a result, the early-season optimism surrounding the Anfield club seems to be rapidly diminishing. Confidence will hardly have been helped by news that Daniel Sturridge is out until the New Year and with the much-discussed SAS partnership now split up, opponents will fancy their chances a lot more against the Reds. Of course, the classy (at least in footballing terms) Luis Suarez remains and he'll doubtless continue to threaten. He may well have even more backers now, given Sturridge is not around to muddy the waters. For this contest, it's worth noting that Suarez has bagged seven goals in his last three games against the Canaries - and that Liverpool have won by at least three clear goals in three of their last four meetings. The likely return of the creative Philippe Coutinho to the starting XI should also boost the Uruguayan's chances of netting but at 5/2 for the first goal and 8/13 to find the onion bag at any time, value is thin on the ground. Another way to go could be to back both sides to score at 19/20 given Liverpool's defensive woes of late - they have now conceded in each of their last 10 games. Both Everton and Hull stretched them regularly on the break with the Reds guilty of committing too many men forward. The worry here is whether Norwich carry enough attacking threat to capitalise on such frailty. They've managed just three goals in six previous away games and with that stat proving difficult to shift from my mind, I'm happy to swerve this game from a betting perspective.
Verdict: Liverpool 3 Norwich 1 (AS)
Liverpool have won seven and lost none of their last eight Premier League games against Norwich.
Norwich have won just three of their 25 Premier League away games under Chris Hughton (W3 D7 L15).
Luis Suarez has scored seven goals in his last three league games against Norwich, with four of them coming from outside the box.
Norwich City have scored just eight goals in the last 14 away games and failed to score in eight of those 14 matches.
Manchester United v Everton (1945)
During his 11-year spell in charge at Goodison, David Moyes famously never won a single league game at what used to be known as the 'big four' - United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool. With Moyes gone, can Roberto Martinez break that run at the first attempt? Given current form, his side must have their best chance of winning at Old Trafford for many a year. Everton, beaten just once so far, have been playing some excellent stuff of late with Romelu Lukaku offering serious goal threat in almost every game he's played. He's he sort of striker who even when he's seemingly struggling, as was the case against Liverpool recently, is always capable of popping up with a goal. Youngsters Ross Barkley and Gerard Deulofeu have added unpredictable, creative verve to add to what what was already there in the form of Steven Pienaar and Kevin Mirallas. Crucially, at the back Everton have generally continued to look the solid unit that Moyes made them and fears that Martinez's arrival would see them become too open have not been realised. United have improved after a poor start but Sunday's game at Spurs showed problems still exist. Tottenham could well have been two or three up before United levelled through Wayne Rooney, who, it should be noted, has rarely been at his best in games against his former club. This is still not a team that looks likely title challengers. Despite their shocking record at Old Trafford, it's the Blues I'd prefer to be with here - the new broom that is Martinez may well rid those thoughts of inevitable defeat in this fixture (Everton have lost 16 and won none of the last 20). Leighton Baines' absence is a slight worry for anyone thinking of siding with the Blues but then so is Phil Jones' - he would have likely be given the 'destroyer' role he's performed well in the past against one of the creative Everton men. United may well have Robin van Persie back, a big boost for them, so I am still wary. If you are betting on this game, Everton at 11/4 in the draw-no-bet market which looks worthy of a small play.
Verdict: Manchester United 1 Everton 1 (AS)
Chelsea (twice) are the only team to prevent the Red Devils from scoring in their last 74 league matches at Old Trafford.
Everton have won none of their last 20 Premier League away games at Old Trafford (W0 D4 L16).
The last time Romelu Lukaku faced up against Manchester United, he scored a hat-trick for West Brom in May 2013.
Everton have allowed fewer shots on target against them away from home than any other team in the top flight this season (16).
Southampton v Aston Villa (1945)
Back-to-back away defeats to Arsenal and Chelsea hardly spell crisis but the fact is Southampton go into this one in need of a result if they want to maintain their unexpectedly strong start to the campaign. However, in Villa they face a side who seemingly prefer to play away from home, one set up well to hit teams on the break with the likes of Gabby Agbonlahor providing pace aplenty. They've already used that ability to win at Arsenal, cause Chelsea problems at Stamford Bridge and, after a shocking start, hit back in style at West Brom. In addition, they hit Manchester City on the break many a time at Villa Park in a game they won and look tempting at almost 5/1 here. Much has been made of Southampton's strong start but a look at the teams to have been beaten at St Mary's is hardly a stellar one. Hull, Fulham, Swansea and Palace have all visited and left with nothing but notably lowly West Ham and Sunderland both earned a point here. When the level of opposition rises - and in terms of away foes it probably does here - Southampton are untested on home soil. Throw in the fact that they will play with third-choice keeper Paulo Gazzaniga in goal and will be without key midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin and I'm more than happy to back Villa at the price.
Verdict: Southampton 1 Aston Villa 2 (AS)
Rickie Lambert scored three goals in the two Barclays Premier League meetings with Aston Villa last season.
The Saints have lost just one of their last 11 Premier League games at St Mary's (W6 D4 L1), including winning the last four in a row.
Mauricio Pochettino's side have conceded just one goal in their last five Premier League home matches.
Paul Lambert's side have failed to score in five of their last seven Premier League games, but scored exactly two in each of the other two games.
Stoke v Cardiff (1945)
This is a big, big match at the bottom of the standings with 16th hosting 17th in a battle between two teams hovering just above the relegation zone. Stoke are in far from good shape at present with just one win from their last 10 Premier League matches but Cardiff, despite quite a few favourable media headlines, aren't doing that much better. The Bluebirds have only one win from seven but it's fair to say there has been more to like about the Welsh side in recent weeks than the Potters. The 2-2 draw against Manchester United came via a highly-promising performance and the wins over Swansea and Fulham showcased similar battling qualities. Boss Malky Mackay clearly wasn't too downhearted after the 3-0 defeat at home to leaders Arsenal on Saturday and used the post-match press conference to quickly switch his focus to the key games coming up. There won't be too much to pick between the sides - as the recent lack of goals at the Britannia Stadium shows - but Cardiff offer much the better value for the three points at 31/10. The 10/1 available for the away side to win 1-0 is also worth checking out but the victory alone will do the job for me.
Verdict: Stoke 0 Cardiff 1 (NH)
There have been just five goals scored in the last five Barclays Premier League matches played at the Britannia Stadium.
Stoke have won just one of their last 10 Premier League games (W1 D4 L5).
Cardiff have won just one of their last seven Premier League matches (W1 D2 L4).
Stoke are one of three teams yet to score a headed goal this season along with Spurs and West Ham.
Sunderland v Chelsea (1945)
Sunderland are a side on the up under Gus Poyet but the outcome of this game will depend on which Chelsea turn up. Jose Mourinho's side have thrown in some shockers this season - notably in Switzerland last week and when fortunate to draw with West Brom at home - but their second-half performance against Southampton, or their 3-0 romp at West Ham, would see them continue what's a fine record in this fixture. Sunderland have beaten Manchester City, Newcastle and Southampton at home and their chance isn't to be dismissed lightly; it does, however, depend not just on their performance but on that of their opponents. It may not surprise you, given the concerns outlined, that I'm not willing to chance good Sunderland getting the better of bad Chelsea at the odds on offer. However, I do suggest backing both teams to score and Chelsea to win at 13/5. For starters, Sunderland have scored in every home game since they lost 2-0 on the opening day of the season, and Chelsea clearly have their weaknesses at the back. History also suggests this is a more than likely outcome - each of Chelsea's last five visits to the Stadium of Light have seen them concede and win - and as well as scoring against the aforementioned teams, Sunderland also managed to find the net despite losing when hosting both Manchester United and Liverpool. At the price on offer it's an appealing way of getting with the visitors and it's probably better than trying to be more specific with a selection of correct scores, given that Chelsea have beaten Sunderland 4-2 and 7-2 (the latter at home) in recent reasons.
Verdict: Sunderland 1 Chelsea 3 (BC)
Sunderland have scored just 12 goals in their last 14 Premier League matches at the Stadium of Light.
Chelsea have won 16 and lost one of their last 17 Premier League games against Sunderland.
Fernando Torres has scored six goals in seven Premier League starts against Sunderland, including three in his last three at the Stadium of Light.
Chelsea have only won back to back Premier League away games once in 2013.
Swansea v Newcastle (1945)
I simply can't be taking 5/4 about a side which has won just one of their last 11 games league games at home (the Swans have also failed to win their least two Europa League games at the Liberty) and such is Newcastle's form that finding a way to back the visitors looks a sensible play here. The Magpies have won four in a row to fly up the table. They've never trailed during that run, one which has included victories over both Chelsea and Spurs. With Loic Remy showing he truly belongs at this level and Yoan Gouffran chipping in with goals of late, Newcastle look confident and dangerous. They also have few injury problems. The same cannot be said of Swansea who have lost Michu and Wilfired Bony in recent weeks. Both should be back soon but not in time for this match, while another injury blow is losing Angel Rangel. It's hardly the sort of team news you want when in a rut of one win in eight in all competitions, a run which has seen them shutout on four occasions. All in all, Newcastle look a decent bet here in the match market at 11/4.
Verdict: Swansea 1 Newcastle 2 (AS)
Swansea have won just one of their last 11 league matches at the Liberty Stadium (W1 D5 L5).
Newcastle have alternated between wins and defeats in their last seven league away games (W4 L3).
Loic Remy has scored eight goals in his last nine Premier League appearances and also assisted a goal in the weekend victory over West Brom.
Yoann Gouffran has scored in three of his last four Premier League appearances, while he assisted a goal in the other appearance during this run.
Fulham v Tottenham (2000)
How well you feel Tottenham have done this season depends largely on the expectations you placed upon them in the first place. Perhaps those expectations were too high given the amount of new players which arrived in the summer but whatever you think, the fact is they remain just three points outside of the top four - a target which would be a significant achievement. Yes, Spurs had a shocker at the Etihad the other week but they could easily have beaten the champions on Sunday and frankly they should have too much quality for Fulham, who were woeful in defeat at West Ham. Given that performance and what had gone before, it was no surprise to see Martin Jol shown the door. The obvious concern for Spurs backers here would be that a change at the top brings a bounce effect in the Craven Cottage squad. However, new boss Rene Meulensteen has already been at the club for a few weeks in his role as coach so this is hardly radical change we are talking about here. Spurs should win but, with confidence not at its highest right now, I'm not wanting to get involved at 8/11 - that screams acca-only to me. If you do want a bet on this one, a single-goal win for the visitors looks a better way to go at 13/5 but I believe there are better bets elsewhere.
Verdict: Fulham 0 Tottenham 1 (AS)
Fulham have scored just three goals in their last nine Premier League meetings with Tottenham.
Fulham have won just one of their last 10 Premier League games at Craven Cottage (W1 D1 L8).
Fulham have mustered fewer shots (inc. blocked) than any other team in the top flight this season (106) - 25 fewer than any other side.
Tottenham have kept four clean sheets in their last six Premier League away games, although they conceded six last time on the road at Man City.
West Brom v Manchester City (2000)
In football, as in all sports, it's important to acknowledge that trends are temporary. Indeed, there is one school of thought which suggests that the fact Manchester City have won just one Premier League game away from home this season actually makes them more likely to beat West Brom; the figures must surely return to something which reflects their class advantage at some point. The contrasting logic would be something along the lines of 'opposing City on the road keeps paying off, so why stop?' This logic also incorporates the substantive reasons behind this run of poor away form from City - the basic bottom line being they're not as good away from home in any department. The question is, which do you favour? As ever the answer, sadly, isn't as simple as the question. Because while personally I look at West Brom and feel they could cause something of a stir here, the absence through suspension of Youssouf Mulumbu combined with the return of Vincent Kompany for City may well prove vital. Mulumbu's role in this West Brom side is arguably the most important, and with City's blend of midfield and attacking flair his disciplined approach will be sorely missed. Similarly, Kompany's impact on City's results is well-documented and he's the man to spark away improvement. I believe that once you combine this team news with the confidence City will have taken from recent home games, confidence they will eventually take with them on the road, you have ample grounds to ignore this game as a betting medium. I must make clear, though, that City are too short whichever way I look at this game even if, ultimately, they may well win.
Verdict: West Brom 1 Manchester City 2 (BC)
West Brom have won none and lost six of the last seven Premier League matches against Manchester City.
There have been four red cards in the last five meetings between Man City and West Brom at the Hawthorns, three of which have been given to the Baggies.
Compared to at home; where they have won all 21 possible points, Manchester City have picked up just four points from six Premier League away games this season (W1 D1 L4).
Alvaro Negredo has scored eight goals in his last seven appearances for the Citizens (all comps).
- The game at Swansea is being televised live in UK by BT Sport.