We return after the long and dreadful International Break with another round of Premier League fixtures. There were some storylines from the International Break though so let’s go through that first.
Outside the 18
USMNT – The US Men’s National Team played two friendlies over the break, a 2-0 loss to Brazil and a 1-0 victory of arch rivals Mexico. There was a mixed bag of reactions from fans, but I was happy with what I saw and I was left excited. Our team with an average starting lineup age of 23.5 years held what was mostly Brazil’s World Cup starting lineup to only 1 goal in open play. To add to that, they beat arch rivals Mexico 1-0 in Nashville. Although the Mexicans outplayed our boys in blue for a lot of the match, they hung tough beating them in the physical and mental battle. The highlight of the match was when Matt Miazga added to the long list of iconic moments in this rivalry when he mocked Mexican wonderboy Lainez’s height. That led to Mexico losing it’s cool, getting a red card a few minutes later and subsequently losing the match. I recommend you take a look HERE.
All-Time Record: 18-17-5 (-0.7 Units)
Matchweek 4 Record: 5-4-1 (+1.3 Units)
Let’s grease this puppy up…
Saturday, September 15th
7:30 am EST
Liverpool @ Tottenham – We have the biggest match of the weekend right out of the gate on Saturday morning, so get your coffee ready. Liverpool come into this match in first place on goal differential and have looked superb to start the year. Their only glaring issue is that the only team they’ve really played is Leicester where they won 2-1, but could’ve and should’ve won 2-0. Spurs meanwhile dropped points in horrible fashion, blowing a 1-0 lead and losing 2-1 to Watford. Yes, Watford are a formidable side this season, but they way Spurs lost was not convincing. Normally I would love Spurs at home in a bounce-back match at Wembley, but without Dele Alli and their goalie Hugo Lloris, it’ll be tough to choose them on the pickem line. Even if it’s likely a push, I like the reds here despite the juice of (-140). Liverpool (Pick, -140).
10:00 am EST
Leicester City @ Bournemouth – Both teams, especially Bournemouth, have had super positive starts to the season. Leicester’s only losses came against United and Liverpool, while Bournemouth’s came against Chelsea. Leicester haven’t been as convincing in their results but are returning their Talisman in Jamie Vardy who I think will provide a huge spark in this match. Expect Leicester to keep getting the results, but with more substance in those matches as they slowly start to gel with their newer core. There are good odds on them and I like them even with the push probability. Leicester City (Pick, +125).
Cardiff City @ Chelsea – This, well this might get ugly. Chelsea are so much better than this Cardiff team and if Hazard starts then I expect him to get at least two points in this match and I highly doubt Cardiff will even score. With the possibility of how ugly this can get and since it’s sitting at an even number of 2, I love the blues here. EZ MONEY. Chelsea (-2, -105).
Crystal Palace @ Huddersfield – Another pickem on the docket here as Palace hold strong with the juice at (Pick, -140). It makes sense as the books expect Palace to come back to the mean after their below average start and Huddersfield are still winless this season. I agree with them. Palace have won the last two of these matchups and I don’t see them losing outright here. Crystal Palace (Pick, -140).
Fulham @ Manchester City – City look to rebound after lackluster performances against Wolves and Newcastle. Pep, the smartest human being literally ever, somehow convinced either his players or their national teams to leave behind most of his squad for the international break. Most got away for vacation for a week but many stayed back and trained or rested up for this weekend’s matchup. I love City to bounce back here against a Fulham side who I don’t think will be ready to take on this challenge. They’ll be well-rested and need to capitalize now on this easy run of fixtures. Manchester City (-2.5, -110).
Arsenal @ Newcastle United – Newcastle have been nothing to write home about to start the season, with 3 losses and 1 draw, coming at Cardiff. They did look good against City a few weeks ago, but things can change over the international break and I think Arsenal finally have a foothold on the season. They have won back to back matches, although close, but are finally starting to show that they can grind out points. Take the Gunners in this one even in the tough atmosphere. Arsenal (-0.5, -115).
12:30 pm EST
Manchester United @ Watford – This is the most peculiar matchup as United still are somewhat lost in space and Watford now sit in 3rd but only because of goal differential as they are tied on points with Chelsea and Liverpool. Part of me wants to take the home dogs in Watford as they have proved they can get past better opposition and will be at their home ground, but United are the better squad even with their problems and they had the break to reset some of their issues. But the break was also a chance for Watford to come back down to earth as well. So what do I do when I don’t know what to do? Follow my rules. Home dogs all the way!! Watford (+0.5, +105).
Sunday, September 16th
8:30 am EST
Brunley @ Wolves – Burnley are finally out of the Europa League and can fully focus on domestic matches. Wolves have played well this season with a record of 1-2-1 and have been very tough to beat, just ask Man City who they held to a 1-1 draw. Burnley haven’t looked good at all this season but I think they bounce back and get points here against Wolves. That’s just how this league works sometimes. Burnley made a living last season on getting results and now that they’re back to their normal schedule I think that resumes here. I think the odds are too juiced on Wolves and there’s a lot of value in Burnley in this one. Burnley (+0.5, +125).
11:00 am EST
West Ham @ Everton – These odds are… confusing to say the least. Obviously Everton are favored but there is a lot of juice on the 0-0-4 Hammers which is puzzling. I guess the books believe West Ham know they need to get points here and are banking on the desperation but I will refuse to pick West Ham until they show any sign of life. I love Everton in this one and you should too. Everton (-0.5, -105).
Monday, September 17th
3:00 pm EST
Brighton @ Southampton – Southampton haven’t lost to Brighton since January 2012, tallying 2 wins and 2 draws in that span. One of those matches was recently on August 28th in the EFL Cup when Southampton traveled to Brighton and won 1-0. I see something very similar happening again and after Southampton won at Palace in their last league match, they seem to be in decent form. Southampton (-0.5, +105).
That’s all for this weekend’s matches!! Get in the 7:30 and 10:00 am matches before college football starts at noon so you don’t spend a second not watching sports this weekend.
Stay Kickin’ It. Peace.