WITH 'early pace-setters' Crystal Palace and Everton squaring off in the probable pick of Saturday's games, Sunday's highlight is indisputable as league leaders Leicester City travel to the Etihad where City also boast a 100% record… but one that only refers to a single game so it seems slightly excessive to describe it that way.
Bramall Lane is set for the first Premier League clash between Sheffield United and Leeds for 26 years, while Newcastle put themselves in the Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min firing line and David Moyes manages West Ham via video call having contacted Coronavirus. Here are your Sunday Premier League betting tips for this week.
When these sides were both in the Championship, Marcelo Bielsa delivered a gushing appraisal of Chris Wilder, describing him as a coach with "new ideas" who had successfully implemented tactics Bielsa himself had been unable to throughout his career. Each side claimed a 1-0 victory that season, though the Blades of course had the last laugh, emerging from the Championship as league winners, with Leeds missing out in the play-offs.
Bielsa's side find themselves above their Yorkshire rivals courtesy of their 4-3 win over Fulham, with Sheffield Utd having neither claimed a point nor scored a goal in their two games so far. Leeds' opening two games makes predicting the outcome of this one pretty tough. Sure, they could have score more against Fulham, but they could have conceded more too. Sure, they were unfortunate with the penalties against Liverpool, but on the flip side Leeds scored with each of their shots on goal.
With Sheff Utd somewhat bereft of the confidence that drove them on over the last few years after three winless games, and missing John Egan through suspension, Leeds have a real chance for a morale-boosting derby win. However, that defensive frailty might well pull the rug from under them. I'm taking the draw here.
Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min's devastating afternoon at St. Mary's during which the former assisted the latter for four goals takes means the duo have now combined for more goals than any other Premier League pair (24) since the start of the 2015/16 season. It was a much-needed win, and an encouraging performance, for Spurs who'd been dreadful on opening day against Everton. Extra rest afforded by Leyton Orient's inability to complete their Carabao Cup duties means we might even see Jose Mourinho in a good mood for this one.
Newcastle have scored with every shot on target in the Premier League this season. That is unfortunately only two shots and it was also true after the opening game which means the Magpies failed to hit the target in 90 minutes at home to Brighton. Fan favourite Allan Saint-Maximin misses out through injury which at least solves Bruce's quandary of whether to select key player Miguel Almiron or stick with immobile Andy Carroll.
While Gareth Bale is some way off the requisite finish to appear, fellow new arrival Sergio Reguillon will slot straight into the starting lineup. With Matt Doherty ranging down the right – often a little too much in truth – Spurs can stretch the play, get their attacking players closer to Kane, and pull Newcastle's five-man defence out of position, something they failed to do last season when the Mapgies emerged with a 1-0 win. Spurs should be good for a comfortable win here.
Wolves at Molineux was a tough opening game for Man City considering the Midlands outfit beat them home and away in the Premier League last season, but, impressively, City managed to maintain their record of leading by at least two goals at half-time in each of their last six Premier League matches, something that has never been done before. In their last seven league games at the Etihad, City boast an aggregate score of 26-1.
Leicester sit top after comfortable wins over West Brom (0-3) and Burnley (4-2) but the Foxes have never won their first three matches of a top flight campaign. They are also winless in their last four trips to the Etihad since their epic 3-1 win on the way to the 2015/16 Premier League title. However Jamie Vardy, the only player ever to score a top-flight hat-trick against a Pep Guardiola side, has five goals and an assist in his last eight appearances against City. He bagged a brace at West Brom but missed out against Burnley.
Sergio Aguero remains an absentee for the Citizens but with Gabriel Jesus scoring last week, and Man City winning 34 of the 35 Premier League games in which he scored, absence is not necessarily making the heart grow fonder just now. I may review that at full-time on Sunday because the news Wilfried Ndidi will be missing for "between six and 12 weeks" is a massive blow for Leicester. With no adequate replacement for him in the Leicester ranks, Man City's afternoon just got an awful lot easier.
Two games, two defeats for West Ham, but the stats suggest David Moyes' side have been unlucky. Only Liverpool (52) and Everton (44) have had more shots than the Hammers this season (40), while four of the five shots on target conceded against Newcastle and Arsenal resulted in goals. West Ham ended the season averaging two goals per game for their last seven outings, so you can certainly argue they are due against Wolves.
In the specific case of Sunday's opponents though, the forecast is not so good. Wolves have beaten West Ham four times in a row without conceding a goal. Nuno Espirito Santo's also have a record similar to West Ham's other opponents this season – five shots on target this season, resulting in three goals. The Hammers have failed to keep a clean sheet in all 10 home games since Moyes' first game back – that run seems unlikely to stop against a side as clinical as Wolves.
Raul Jimenez has netted in each of his last three appearances against West Ham. He's started the season with two goals in three games this season, and will be my pick to score again here. As for the scoreline, it seems West Ham's luck will change eventually. But in a tough week during which players and staff, including Moyes, have been struck down with coronavirus, I think it's going to roll over for at least another week.
Click here to read our preview of Saturday's Premier League fixtures, including Crystal Palace vs Everton