Away from the headline Super Sunday clash, West Brom host Tottenham, Leicester meet Wolves, Arsenal play Aston Villa - we have best bets for each.
For details of advised bookmakers and each-way terms, visit our transparent tipping record
Arsenal v Aston Villa
- 19:15 GMT on Sky Sports Box Office
- Match odds: Home 4/6 | Draw 3/1 | Away 19/5
The wheels have not exactly come off but back-to-back losses have certainly dampened enthusiasm in the claret and blue half of the Second City ahead of Aston Villa’s trip to Arsenal on Sunday night.
Successive home defeats to Leeds and Southampton quickly put an end to Dean Smith’s side’s 100% start but those humbling reverses could not have come in more contrasting styles.
Villa were all over the place in the second half of the 3-0 home loss to Leeds but dominated all of the stats against Southampton only to lose 4-3 to the Saints’ only four shots on target.
Predicting which Villa turn up at The Emirates – the early-season clean sheet kings or the defensive ditherers – is key to unlocking the value here but also virtually impossible.
Hosts Arsenal are perhaps flying under the radar but have beaten the teams they ‘should beat’ – Villa are in that category despite their fine start – and are showing signs of regaining their once-famed defensive steel under Mikel Arteta.
Whisper it quietly but they have conceded the fewest goals in the Premier League, seven games in – while the rest of the top flight has been going goal mad, they’ve been the Steady Eddies.
But, equally, tipping a low-scoring affair against a Villa side whose matches average four goals a game would be kamikaze stuff; if you do fancy Villa to implode again, Arsenal are 2/1 with Sky Bet to score three or more.
Fortunately, there’s an absolute stand-out price in the cards market that means we don’t have to get involved in such messiness – Hector Bellerin to be carded is a mammoth 7/1 with Bet365.
Bellerin has three yellow cards to his name already this season, has committed a foul in every game but one and was lucky not to be sent off in the 1-0 defeat by Leicester last month.
When you factor in that the Spanish right-back will spend a large portion of time in the vicinity of the Premier League’s most fouled player – Jack Grealish – on Sunday, that 7/1 looks as pretty as the Villa maestro’s hairdo.
Score prediction: Arsenal 2-1 Aston Villa (Sky Bet odds: 13/2)
Best bet: Hector Bellerin to be carded at 7/1
- 16:30 GMT on Sky Sports Premier League
- Match Odds: Home 1/1 | Draw 14/5 | Away 12/5
If the duo do adopt a pragmatic approach, the draw at 12/5 has to be considered, but the more appealing punt would be to oppose goals. Under 3.5 Goals is trading at 3/4 and was a regular winner when both City and Liverpool went head-to-head with fellow top-half teams in 2019/20, although the size of value available in this selection is only marginal.
Admittedly, both clashes between the pair produced four or more goals last season but one arrived after the Reds were crowned champions. However, 11 of City’s remaining 16 matches with top-10 finishers featured three goals or fewer (two of the five that didn’t came against Burnley). The same could be said of 14 of Liverpool’s 16 outings against the same standard of opposition when excluding City.
Meanwhile, I’m happy to have an interest on Sadio Mane making two or more tackles at even-money. The Senegalese winger will be on the same side as Kyle Walker, Kevin De Bruyne and Ferran Torres in Man City’s proposed 4-3-3 and therefore should be involved in plenty of action, with and without the ball.
Mane’s defensive contribution cannot be doubted; the former Metz youngster has made at least two tackles in four of his six Premier League encounters already in 2020/21 and made at least one successful tackle in 11 of his final 12 games last term, highlighting his commitment to the cause. He made four tackles in the first clash with City in 2019/20.
Score prediction: Manchester City 1-1 Liverpool (Sky Bet odds: 17/2)
West Brom v Tottenham
- 12:00 GMT on Sky Sports Box Office
- Match odds: Home 21/4 | Draw 100/30 | Away 1/2
If I was a West Brom fan, I'd be worried. If I was Slaven Bilic, even more so. This really feels like crunch time for the Albion boss with the international break imminent, and his side without a win after seven Premier League games.
Their slow start at relegation rivals Fulham last time out will have used up much of the credit Bilic had left in the bank after winning promotion from the Sky Bet Championship in his first season in charge.
The fact they could only manage one shot on target against a team as defensively porous as the Cottagers speaks volumes - I really struggle to make any kind of case for West Brom here.
Tottenham are unsurprisingly a heavy odds-on to maintain their 100% start to the season away from home. What does surprise me is that against such a goal-shy Albion team, they're 13/8 to win to nil - a price I really like.
It's no secret that Spurs have struggled to keep clean sheets for well over a year now, a problem that long pre-dates Jose Mourinho's appointment as manager. While he doesn't seem to have cracked the magic formula just yet, in recent weeks Tottenham have certainly been trending in the right direction.
Since dramatically collapsing against West Ham, when they threw away a 3-0 half-time lead, Spurs have conceded just twice in four games in all competitions. Moreover, Tariq Lamptey's goal for Brighton never should have stood last weekend; only the stubborn Graham Scott can tell us why he refused to correct his own error.
They should be able to keep out a West Brom side whose expected goals (xG) has been under 0.5 in five of their seven league games this season.
Score prediction: West Brom 0-2 Tottenham (Sky Bet odds: 13/2)
Best bet: Spurs to win to nil at 13/8
Leicester v Wolves
- 14:00 GMT on Sky Sports Premier League
- Match odds: Home 13/10 | Draw 11/10 | Away 9/4
It might not be thrill-a-minute stuff like Leicester's last outing against Leeds, where the Whites' suicidal tactics in the opening half-hour made for quite the spectacle, but I think this will be intriguing.
The naivety of Leeds' high line against the pace of Jamie Vardy and Harvey Barnes, combined with a lack of defensive pragmaticism in atrocious conditions, aren't errors Nuno's Wolves are ever likely to make. In fact, they're likely to try and do to Leicester what the Foxes have done themselves to win all five of their away league games this season - counter attack.
That success on the road hasn't been replicated at King Power Stadium just yet, with Brendan Rodgers' team failing to score in successive defeats by West Ham and Aston Villa since beating Burnley in their opening home league game.
But Leicester could hardly be in better form, winning five matches in a row in all competitions. Their defence has been breached only twice in that time, one of those Stuart Dallas' fluke in their 4-1 win at Leeds.
Wolves, meanwhile, have conceded just once in their past four fixtures - and that was avoidable. After dominating Newcastle, Rui Patricio failed to line up his wall properly, leaving space for Jacob Murphy to curl a free-kick around it and pinch a late point.
They should be going into this contest looking for a fifth straight win, but 10 points from their last 12 isn't too shabby.
Both sides will be wary of the other's threat on the break, so there's every chance this will be a cagey encounter. It's no surprise to see under 2.5 goals priced at 4/7 across the board; way too short to take our interest.
I expect them to feel each other out in the opening 45 minutes, which makes the 8/5 with Bet Victor on it being goalless at half-time something I won't be ignoring. It's available at 6/4 across the board, both of which are a giant leap from the evens on offer for a draw at the break - I simply cannot see both teams getting on the scoresheet in the opening period.
Readers of this week's Punting Pointers can be forgiven for accusing me of flip-flopping having hinted at possibly sitting out the half-time 0-0, a long-term play where Wolves are concerned. But on further reflection, I'm taking it.
Something else I can't shirk is the feeling that Leicester will win, and for that reason I'm backing them with under 3.5 goals tagged on, which Betway is offering at 19/10. It's rare we'll get the Foxes as odds-against home favourites for a Premier League game this season, so I'm keen to take advantage.
The big price is for Leicester/under 2.5 goals - better than 3/1 generally, and 7/2 with Paddy Power - but I prefer the safety net of the extra goal given their recent scoring exploits.
Score prediction: Leicester 2-0 Wolves (Sky Bet odds: 11/2)
Odds correct on 1630 BST (05/11/20)
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