After an interesting opening weekend in the Premier League, George Pitts looks ahead to round two with his take on Saturday's games.
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Arsenal v Burnley
- 1230 BST kick-off on BT Sport 1
Arsenal's season-opening win at Newcastle was not necessarily pretty, but they got the job done and they should start their Emirates campaign more convincingly with victory over Burnley.
It was a slight surprise to see summer signings Nicolas Pepe and Dani Ceballos, along with Alexandre Lacazette, on the bench in the north east and they could start this time around as Unai Emery gets to know his newest recruits.
Burnley, meanwhile, were more ruthless, scoring with three of their four shots on target in a surprise victory over Southampton. That ruthless streak could well be extended even in defeat and the best way to find value here is to look for a member of the visiting party in the anytime scorer market.
Icelandic midfielder Johann Berg Gudmundsson looked particularly sharp, scoring once (watch highlights below) and went close with another effort. He occupies the right flank but often drifts inside with an eye for goal. His shot off target saw him in space on the edge of the box, striking just inches wide with his favoured left foot.
He is odds-against to register a shot on target and an eye-catching 28/1 to score from outside the box, but 10/1 to score again looks more than good enough for a small play.
The Clarets may not get the result, but Gudmundsson can help them at least get on the score sheet in the early kick-off.
Prediction: Arsenal 3-1 Burnley (Sky Bet odds: 10/1)
Aston Villa v AFC Bournemouth
Aston Villa can get off the mark in their first home Premier League game of the season when they host Bournemouth.
Dean Smith's side had a tricky start at Spurs last week, but performed valiantly and only failed to hold out after relentless pressure in north London. There were plenty of positives to take.
One plus is that they took an early lead and, with the Villa Park faithful behind them, they can make a promising start again. They were leading at half-time in a healthy 48 per cent of their home Sky Bet Championship games last term, whereas the Cherries, who faced another newly-promoted side in Sheffield United on the opening day, were trailing at the interval in 11 of 19 away Premier League games last term.
You can back the hosts to be ahead at the break at 21/10. Considering Villa's threats going forward and a hardened defence marshalled by Tyrone Mings, as well as Bournemouth's long list of absentees, it looks an excellent bet.
Prediction: Aston Villa 2-1 Bournemouth (Sky Bet odds: Price Boosted to 10/1)
Brighton v West Ham
The Seagulls have a great chance to make it two from two under Graham Potter in the Premier League.
Few expected them to win at Watford, never mind scoring three and keeping a clean sheet (although we did predict 2-0!). The new manager deserves credit for putting on strikers Florian Andone and Neal Maupay while 1-0 up and he got his just rewards with both scoring.
Although the Hammers had a difficult start against champions Man City at home, Manuel Pellegrini's side looked poor defensively and could rue not adding to their back line in the summer. A couple of injuries could also leave them short in central midfield on Saturday.
With five at the back, Brighton look to have a good balance throughout the team with good attacking options. After last season's shortage of goals, 13 in pre-season and three at Vicarage Road last week showed that Potter's influence is growing quickly.
They are a fair price to win, but 11/5 about them doing so by any margin other than 1-0 looks best. Brighton to win and over 1.5 goals in the match would be the call.
Prediction: Brighton 2-0 West Ham (Sky Bet odds: 12/1)
Everton v Watford
Both sides endured frustrating opening days and in midweek they will have been working hard to rectify that.
We said last week how Everton's shortage of goals in pre-season means they would get a low-scoring win at Crystal Palace, but they failed to find an opening at Selhurst Park.
Marco Silva felt it was too early for new signing Moise Kean to start, but after that shutout the Juve loanee could get the nod this time.
That means Everton's attack could have Kean with Bernard, Richarlison and Gylfi Sigurdsson in behind them while deadline day signing Alex Iwobi could feature. Given the potential of that attack, they can trouble the experienced - but not most mobile - pairing of Craigs Dawson and Cathcart.
Aside from the top six, the Toffees had the best home record last term and Silva's side can make amends for a slow start last week with Kean scoring on his full debut, the odds bettered by adding in the first half as he looks to make an immediate impact.
Prediction: Everton 2-1 Watford (Sky Bet odds: 15/2)
Norwich v Newcastle
Both sides made it tough for top six teams on the opening day, with plenty of positives to take despite both ultimately losing.
Although it does not look it on paper, Norwich can take heart from their 4-1 thrashing at Anfield. Daniel Farke deserves credit for sticking to his guns and the Canaries did trouble the Reds' defence on more than one occasion. Newcastle, meanwhile, lost narrowly to Arsenal in Steve Bruce's first competitive game.
The hosts did miss central defender Christoph Zimmermann at the back while Teemu Pukki looked a real threat going forward (a tempting Price Boosted 5/1 to score first) with Emi Buendia also impressing.
The Magpies' new-look frontline has the potential to score goals too, so this could be a good one for your BTTS coupon as top-flight football returns to Carrow Road.
Prediction: Norwich 1-1 Newcastle (Sky Bet odds: 5/1)
Best bet: Both teams to score at 10/13
Southampton v Liverpool
After playing two hours of football in sticky conditions past midnight on Wednesday, Liverpool now have a quick turnaround for the away trip to Southampton.
Considering their travel back from Turkey, rest and recovery time may restrict them to just a light session before travelling to the south coast. It is all go for Jurgen Klopp's side, more reasons for the German to bemoan the scheduling of fixtures.
Ralph Hasenhuttl helped Saints avoid the drop in the second half of last season with a dramatic improvement in home form with five wins and three draws from 12 games.
They are expected to impress in their first full season under the Austrian and will be keen to bounce back from a disappointing opening defeat at Burnley. They can also take confidence from the Reds' visit in April, when a hard-working performance was only undone by two late Liverpool goals.
Considering how the visitors could still be a little leggy, the 13/2 best price on a home win is surprising and worth considering for a small stake, with 9/2 draw no bet also tempting.
However, on what could be a difficult afternoon for the Reds at St Mary's, it's the home side to score first at upwards of 2/1 which makes most appeal. Southampton will be raring to go on home soil and could be meeting Liverpool at just the right time.
Prediction: Southampton 2-1 Liverpool (Sky Bet odds: Price Boosted to 28/1)
Best bet: Southampton to score first at 13/5
Manchester City v Tottenham
- 1730 BST kick-off on Sky Sports Premier League
Another cracking fixture for the second round of games as Tottenham look to assert themselves as real title contenders.
City were impressive, particularly in second half, in their 5-0 thrashing of West Ham but they face a whole new challenge at the Etihad against a Tottenham side which had to dig deep and remain patient to overcome Aston Villa.
Speculation may still be surrounding Christian Eriksen but, after his influential performance off the bench, the Dane will surely start while deadline day signing Giovani Lo Celso could make his first appearance in some capacity.
Their squad may be a little short in terms of depth over the course of the season, but at their strongest Spurs look very well balanced and capable of at least troubling City, as we saw in the Champions League last term.
Their two league meetings last season saw Pep Guardiola's side come out on top with a pair of 1-0 victories and Spurs have since completed an impressive addition in midfield in Tanguy Ndombele, so you would expect it to be close.
That makes the near even-money price on the visitors with a +2 handicap all the more appealing. If it's a draw or a home win by a one-goal margin, then this bet still pays out and we expect Spurs to at least keep things close.
Prediction: Man City 1-1 Spurs (Sky Bet odds: 17/2)
Best bet: Tottenham +2 on the handicap at 17/20
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Odds correct as of 1400 BST on 15/08/19
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