Leicester City vs. Chelsea
The Blues are looking to bounce back after an embarrassing 3-0 loss at Elland Road last weekend. They welcome a Leicester team that is struggling even more than they are. The Foxes are usually a threat for European places, and if not, they are very safe in the middle of the table.
They have only played three matches, but they are in second to last place, with one point. Their star defender, Wesley Fofana, has now been sold to Chelsea for $70 million plus add-ons. I can’t blame them, but this team needs a lot of work. The cash infusion will be extremely beneficial, but you only have about a week to bring in players.
This is not a desirable situation. Leicester is the Premier League’s worst xG team. Again, it’s only three games, but it’s a troubling start to the season. Defensively, they are expected to be bad. The fact that their attack has been lackluster concerns me. 0.46 NPxG/90 is far below their previous season’s average. As Jamie Vardy gets older, other attackers will have to step up. Regardless, I believe this figure will rise.
Chelsea has four points after three games in what has been a fairly pedestrian start to the season. A sleepy 1-0 win over a poor Everton side, a home draw with Spurs, and a 3-0 road loss to Leeds. One important thing to remember is that N’Golo Kante will be out for at least a month.
There is a significant drop in their midfield and ability to control the pace of matches without him. Especially since Mateo Kovacic is getting back into shape. In addition, Kalidou Koulibaly will miss the game due to his red card against Leeds last week.
Both of these factors suggest that the defense and game control will be a little shakier than Chelsea fans are accustomed to. Chelsea’s data through three matches is fairly average. Because of all of these factors, I believe we should go with the total. Leicester’s defense has been bad for over a season. Their attack has been quiet, but they have the talent to score against a team missing Kante and Koulibaly. You may recall that we played this when the Foxes visited the Emirates, and the game ended 4-2!
The risk is that Chelsea’s offense has been inept, but I’ll keep playing Leicester overs until I see a reason not to.
Fulham vs. Arsenal
What a strong start to the season for Arsenal. The only team in England to not have dropped a point so far this season. Three victories, two of which were impressive. The 2-0 win over Palace was deceptive, but the 4-2 wins over Leicester and 3-0 wins over Bournemouth were decisive.
I can’t even name a specific player, but I can say that their signings have been a huge success. Jesus, Zinchenko, and Saliba have all been spectacular. The xG on the Bournemouth game was a little fortunate (1.7-0.2) due to some beautiful Arsenal strikes. To be fair, we could argue that they won the games they were supposed to win.
However, these are the games that Arsenal teams from previous seasons would have dropped. The question is whether they can keep it up and compete for a spot in the top four. Beating a newly promoted team like Fulham at home are games you must win in order to achieve that. Bournemouth are a bad team, so I take almost nothing from that game.
To be honest, Fulham are currently better than Leicester. So this weekend will be an interesting test.
As a newly promoted team, the first and only goal this season is to stay in the top flight. So far, so good, with two draws and a win for a total of five points. They were a little unlucky to get a point against Liverpool, but I was impressed with how they took the game to the Reds in the first half. Both the Wolves and Brentford games could have ended in draws, but Fulham won late to take all three points in their final match.
For a newly promoted club, I like Fulham’s squad. They aren’t exactly new to the Premier League, but they are by far my favorite of the three. Their success this season will be determined by Aleksandar Mitrovic’s ability to maintain his stellar form from the Championship and his three goals in their three games this season.
I believe Fulham are a bet against the top eight this season, where they may draw one or two and lose a bunch of tight games. +1.5 is the look I’m going for.
Wolves vs. Newcastle United and Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Leeds United. In matches with two relatively evenly matched teams, my strategy is to bet draws under certain conditions. The first match pits an impressive Brighton team against an equally impressive Leeds team at home.
While I enjoy watching this Brighton team, Jesse Marsch and Leeds have impressed me this season. Both teams are playing well, but this match feels very tight to me, and I expect it to end all square. I’m not feeling the Wolves this season, but they’re still a difficult team to score on, especially at Molineaux. Following Man City’s performance, many people will bet on Newcastle this week.
They’ve drawn two of three games this season, and I expect Wolves to put up a good fight here at home. It will be low-scoring and competitive. To be profitable, I need to go 1-1 here, and I like my chances.
BTTS Yes / Over 2.5 Parlay (+115) Chelsea vs. Leicester City
+1.5 for Fulham (-105)
Draw (+250): Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Leeds United
Draw (+210) Wolves vs. Newcastle United