No one said that round three would be easy and in fact we warned of “banana skins being littered everywhere”. Also, the fact that there hadn’t been any draws in the first 18 matches, we suggested that the draws would come, and predicted two for round three. However, being able to foresee upset results and knowing which they would be is a science on its own and while there were indeed two draws, we didn’t bank on them involving Chelsea and Newcastle.
We got through the round with 4 out of 10 correct – including one exact scoreline – and live to fight another day. The average among the Superbru community was 3.59 out of 10, so we just finished on the right side of the line, but don’t pretend to be anything other than chastened by the toughest round of the English Premier League so far.
However, we did say at the outset that we’d see how things went for the first six round to see proper formlines emerge and then we could start having some decent bets. Already, though we hope that this column has helped you profit when we’ve suggested to back the over 2.5 goals per game, as well as not be shy of taking the away team, a direct rsult of the lack of home crowds providing the “home ground advantage” because of Covid-19 restrictions.
The VAR interpretation of handball has also wreaked havoc and those who backed Tottenham last week over Newcastle – as indeed though who went against a Manchester United win over Brighton – can feel miffed that VAR basically ruined the outcome. But, we go again.
The one big surprise for me, which you’ll see at the bottom, is that the most common scoreline so far has been 1-0. This has cropped up five times, followed by 3-0 and 3-1 both four times. So, in spite of the high number of goals being scored, the narrowest victory is the one which has happened most often. There have been only two draws in the first 28 matches and no 0-0s. There has also been three 5-2s and two 4-3s, so on average the 2.5 goals and over per game has been the way to go.
Here are my predictions for his week – the last before the international break.
Chelsea 3 Crystal Palace 1: We’ve mentioned that historically the early Saturday 1.30pm) kick-off provides the biggest upset. Some would suggest that a win for Palace, who have six points, wouldn’t be a huge upset at a misfiring Chelsea who were 3-0 down to struggling West Brom last week before drawing 3-3 and who were then knocked out of the Carabao Cup by Tottenham during the week. I’m a Chelsea fan, but still expect them to rebound.
Everton 2 Brighton 1: Everton have won three out of three and Brighton have lost two out of three. What the stats don’t tell you is that Brighton were far better than their 3-1 defeat to Chelsea suggests, and they were the better side against Man United, despite losing 3-2 to a penalty awarded after the final whistle. Not many sides win four in a row in this League and while I’m expecting Everton to win, a draw wouldn’t be a major upset.
Leeds 0 Man City 3: Leeds have won two of their three games and their only defeat was that 4-2 at champions Liverpool. Man City were destroyed 5-2 by Leicester last week, another crazy scoreline in what has already been a crazy EPL season. Here though, I’m expecting City to bounce back after criticism of their last performance.
Newcastle 1 Burnley 1: One of the toughest games of the round. Newcastle have actually had three shots on target in three matches and have scored all three, and picked up four points as a result. They’re a hugely inconsistent side but Burnley are also struggling. I’m opting for the draw here, despite Newcastle being the favourites.
Leicester City 2 West Ham 1: Leicester are top of the log, unbeaten in three, but West Ham have improved with every game. Beaten at home by Newcastle first up, they lost only to a late goal at Arsenal before they hammered Wolves last round. Much will depend on Jamie Vardy again because he’s one of the form strikers in the league. If he scores, Leicester normally win.
Southampton 2 West Brom 1: Despite West Brom going 3-0 up against Chelsea, when they were put under pressure they crumbled. They have now conceded 11 goals in three matches and that form simply isn’t good enough to survive in the top flight. Southampton are themselves fragile and in 15th spot, but I think they’ll find their winning form here. A draw isn’t a terrible shout.
Arsenal 3 Sheffield United 0: As we have consistently mentioned, Sheffield United have been hit hard by the no crowds restrictions and they’re really up against it here. I make the Gunners the best bet of the round, despite losing 3-1 at Liverpool on Monday night.
Wolves 3 Fulham 0:. In my first blog I ranked the teams from 1-20 in the League and Fulham were at No20. They’ve lost all three matches but last week I expected them to show more fight against Aston Villa and force a draw. They lost 3-0. The problem is that Wolves were hammered 4-0 by West Ham last week! Still, at home and against a Fulham side who are playing with no confidence, I expected Wolves to win comfortably.
Man United 1 Tottenham 1: This is the headline match of the round and Tottenham, despite drawing against Newcastle in the league and being 1-1 with Chelsea after 90 minutes in the Cup, are playing decent football. However, United are riding their luck, although they aren’t playing well. They were beaten 3-1 by Palace in their opener and fortunate to get all the points against Brighton last week. But, they’re actually helped by the fact Spurs are managed by Jose Mourinho. He rarely “goes for it” in an attacking sense and he’d be happy to take a point away from Old Trafford.
Aston Villa 0 Liverpool 2: Villa have had a good transfer window and have re-inforced my view that they’ll do better this season than last. Liverpool though have shown no signs on resting on their laurels and swatted aside top six teams like Chelsea (2-0) and Arsenal (3-1) with ease. Liverpool should be too strong here.
Good luck with your round. If you get 6/10 correct you will have done very well.
Result trends so far this season:
1-0: 5 times
3-0: 4 times
3-1: 4 times
2-0: 3 times
5-2: 3 times
4-3: 2 times
2-1: 2 times
3-2: 1 time
4-0: 1 time
4-2: 1 time
1-1: 1 time
3-3: 1 time
Suggested bets: Wins treble Wolves, Arsenal, Liverpool (2.14-1)
Four in a row: Wins for Chelsea, Everton, Arsenal, Liverpool (3.94-1)