Red Devils to claim narrow win
David John and Andy Schooler bring you a game-by-game preview of Saturday's Premier League action.
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It does not look like getting to exciting down at the Cottage as Martin Jol's side and Stoke bid to bounce back from recent defeats.
Newcastle showed some spirit in the second half at Everton on Monday and a continuation could see them claim three points at Cardiff while the Toffees have impressed enough to get something at Manchester City.
Everton's record against City in recent times is nothing short of spectacular with nine wins and a draw picked up from the sides' previous 12 league meetings. Those results were, of course, obtained under David Moyes but the succession process has been a smooth one with Roberto Martinez yet to taste defeat in the league. That record will be tested here but City don't look a good bet at no bigger than 4/6. Crucial to my thinking is the tiredness factor. This lunchtime fixture comes just two and a half days after City's humbling defeat to Bayern Munich. They spent the majority of that game chasing the ball and there will be some weary legs in their ranks for sure. Of course, there will be changes to the side that started that game but plenty will remain. Everton's possession stats ave been highly impressive under Martinez and while it would be folly to compare the Merseysiders to Bayern, City could be in for another energy-sapping game. With that in mind, backing Everton to come from behind to claim something is worthy of consideration. Only Manchester United won more points from losing positions last season than the Toffees, who have already performed the same act at Norwich and West Ham this season, so the fight is there and if, as expected, City do tire then they look will equipped to hit back. Everton to win or draw from behind is 6/1 with Man City-draw 18/1 in the half time/full time market. What is a slight concern is the fact that Gareth Barry is ineligible against his parent club, while Kevin Mirallas is an injury doubt. However, the prices are big enough for me to take a chance.
Verdict: Manchester City 1 Everton 1 (AS)
Man City have won just two of their last 12 Barclays Premier League meetings with Everton, losing nine.
Manchester City have lost a league-high six points from winning positions in the Premier League this season. They lost only seven points from winning positions in the whole of 2012-13.
Everton are the only remaining unbeaten side in the Premier League this season and have won three successive games in the competition. They have not won four successive games in the Barclays Premier League since March 2008.
Romelu Lukaku has now scored six goals in his last five Premier League appearances, despite playing only 220 minutes overall in these matches (a goal every 37 mins on average).
Alan Pardew seems to lurch from one crisis to the next at the moment with Newcastle although rumours that he offered to resign after Monday's 3-2 loss at Everton have been refuted. Toon were awful in the first half at Goodison but looked much better after the break with the introduction of the classy Yohan Cabaye almost inspiring an unlikely comeback to snatch a draw. Pardew must surely realise the game of brinkmanship with the Frenchman has to end and get him on the pitch from the start. While they blow hot and cold, Cardiff have made a pleasing enough start with their confidence boosted yet further with three points grabbed late in the game last week at Fulham. Manager Malky Mackay says that his side "have real belief" and the visitors will need to show more steel centrally up against Chilean hardnut Gary Medel, who has settled into Premier League life in accomplished fashion. But I am just tempted to take a chance with 9/4 about the visitors, who have vowed to give their fans a performance on Saturday. They historically have a good record against the Bluebirds while there is without doubt enough class in the ranks on a going day to win this with Cabaye, Hatem Ben Arfa and Loic Remy all game changers.
Verdict: Cardiff 1 Newcastle 2 (DJ)
Newcastle have won their last six successive meetings with Cardiff in all competitions.
Loic Remy has now been involved in four goals in four Premier League appearances for Newcastle (scored three and assisted another).
The Magpies have conceded a league-high three headed goals in the Premier League this season so far.
Here are two teams in need of a shot in the arm after less-than-spectacular efforts last week - a situation which makes this a tough one to call. The hosts have not won a Premier League game at Craven Cottage since beating QPR on April 1 and the late loss to Cardiff leaves them in the bottom three. The fans may be calling for Martin Jol's head on a platter but he has every right to believe he has enough experience within his squad to get things going in the right direction. Mark Hughes brings the Potters back to his old club and after a bright start, they seem to be struggling with the transisition in styles from the old regime under Tony Pulis. Observers close to the team labelled their recent effort at home to Norwich as woeful - they hardly troubled the visiting keeper on that occasion - with rumours of a potential rift brewing in the dressing room following some criticism of Pulis from Kenwyne Jones. Six out of the last seven meetings between the two have gone to the side at home and I would tentatively pick that as the outcome again. But I am more interested in the total goals - or lack of them. This could well be edgy with a solitary strike good enough so a go on under 1.5 at 12/5 looks the route to take.
Verdict: Fulham 1 Stoke 0 (DJ)
Fulham have won four of their five Premier League home games against Stoke, including the last three in a row at Craven Cottage.
Stoke have netted only eight goals in their previous 10 Premier League games against Fulham.
Both Stoke and Fulham have scored only four goals in their six Premier League games this season - no side has netted fewer.
This duo will be more than happy with their start to the campaign and both find themselves above Manchester United after six games! Hull have built up some nice momentum as they try to win a third straight match in the Premier League but the injuries are beginning to build up a little with the influential pair of Robbie Brady and James Chester now out for a month and eight weeks respectively. Villa have been battling on manfully already with Gabby Agbonlahor and Christian Benteke sidelined but the players available have rallied superbly, no more so than when beating Manchester City 3-2 last week. This is another tricky tie to call but if you rely on an historical approach then Villa are the bet of the weekend. They are unbeaten against the hosts in the last seven meetings with an aggregate during that period of 16-0. Punting is rarely that straightforward though, and a share of the spoils looks a reasonable outcome, although I am happy to not pay and see if that is how this one plays out.
Verdict: Hull 1 Aston Villa 1 (DJ)
There have been just four goals scored in the three Premier League games at KC Stadium this season, three of which have been scored by Hull.
Hull have the chance to win back-to-back home matches in the Premier League for the first time in their history.
The Tigers have conceded only one goal in their last four top-flight home games.
Villa have won five of their last eight away games in the Premier League (L2, D1).
Palace are Saturday's whipping boys with bookmakers offering as big as 16/1 for them to double their points tally for the season at Anfield. Ian Holloway is trying his best not to lose patience but was unhappy that they "capitulated" again against Southampton while his mood will not have been lightened by Marouane Chamakh's dive when having a reaslitic chance to score. Palace need a goal not theatrics - they have drawn a blank in their last three outings. The hosts are not invincible by any means - a home defeat to Southampton and a 2-2 draw at Swansea highlights that point - but surely the gulf in class will ultimately become clear as it did on their travels at bottom club Sunderland. Delving back into the depths of time, it might surprise to hear that Palace have lost just once in the last five meetings with the Reds but even the most optimistic Eagles fan would find it hard to see them boosting that record judged on current form. That said, Liverpool do lack a little spark of creativity without Philippe Coutinho and Palace's last tactic (which backfired) was to defend in numbers and try to break on the counter. Brendan Rodgers should see his side come through in the end but it may take some graft.
Verdict: Liverpool 2 Crystal Palace 0 (DJ)
Daniel Sturridge has either scored or assisted 15 goals in his last 11 Premier League appearances for Liverpool.
Crystal Palace have now gone 270 minutes without a Premier League goal.
Crystal Palace are the only side yet to attempt a single through-ball in the Premier League this season.
David Moyes may have spent too much time grumbling about the fixture list this season, but it has done him a favour here. After back-to-back defeats in the Premier League, a win is what the doctor ordered for the Scot and his side so facing the bottom club is most welcome. However, from a betting perspective is backing 12th-placed United at 4/6 a good play? Having seen them lose to West Brom in a very unfamilar United style, it's not for me. Another thing against them is their midweek trip to Ukraine - one of the longest in the Champions League. Yes, changes will be made but history shows it can be a problem. The good news is that Wayne Rooney could return after missing the match in Donetsk, while Sunderland have shown very little to suggest they will be playing top-flight football again next season. But for me there are better bets elsewhere, so I'll leave this one to those brave enough to add United to their acca.
Verdict: Sunderland 0 Manchester United 1 (AS)
Sunderland have won just eight points from a possible 72 in their 24 previous matches against United in the Premier League.
Sunderland have picked up just three points in their last 10 Premier League games (D3 L7).
Manchester United have lost two consecutive Premier League games. They last lost three league games in a row in December 2001.
- The games at Manchester City and Sunderland are being televised live in the UK on BT Sport and Sky Sports respectively.