IF Saturday's Premier League action promises some blockbuster clashes with derbies and grudge matches galore, Sunday promises even more! Okay look, that isn't quite true, there's a lot of exaggeration going on there, but nevertheless Sunday's Premier League schedule presents four intriguing matches within which there is plenty of value to be had.
We begin with the 'It's Not A Proper Derby' Derby as Crystal Palace welcome Brighton and end with the 'I Actually Thought This Was Some Sort of Derby But Turns Out It's Not' Derby as Leicester take on Villa, with clashes between the Premier League's worst-performing clubs in 2020/21, Sheff Utd and Fulham, and free-scoring West Ham's trip to free-scoring Tottenham's sandwiched in between. Not bad, not bad at all. Here are your Premier League betting tips for this Sunday.
I'm going to have to dig deep to find something positive to say about these sides, but forgive me if I don't succeed, for it has been a wretched start to the season for both Scott Parker and Chris Wilder. Fulham are rock bottom having lost all four Premier League games, three of them without scoring. Sheff Utd are one place and no points better off after also starting with four straight defeats.
Including the end of last season, United have now lost seven straight league matches having never lost eight straight at any point in their history. What a welcome time to play Fulham then. *Record scratch*… not quite. Fulham are actually outscoring Sheff Utd this season (three goals to one) and with key centre-backs Jack O'Connell and John Egan missing out through injury, there's every chance they increase the gap.
All Fulham need then is some kind of attacking impetus. Step forward Ademola Lookman. The summer loan signing from RB Leipzig was highly impressive during his off-the-bench debut at Wolves, and was unfortunate not to create a goal or two. I'm backing him to put that right this week, and land Fulham their first win of the season.
It's the 'Everybody Knows It's Not A Derby But Sky And BT Insist On Calling It One' classico this weekend with bragging rights for the best bird-nicknamed club within close proximity of the M23 on the line. It's this year's oldest average Premier League starting XI (29y, 89d) of the Eagles versus this year's youngest average Premier League starting XI of the Seagulls (24y, 326d).
Both teams come into this game on the back of two straight defeats, with Palace allowing six goals and Brighton allowing seven, but having impressed in their opening two matches. Similar starts but there is a major stylistic clash here which may play into Palace's hands. With an average of just 31% possession in the Premier League this season, nobody sees the ball less than Roy Hodgson's side. Brighton on the other hand average 54% which is impressive considering they've played Chelsea (a), Man Utd (h) and Everton (a) so far.
Palace love it when other teams keep the ball, particularly when they're prone to as many defensive errors as Brighton. With Wilf Zaha having scored more times against the Seagulls (six) than against any other side, Hodgson will have reasonable expectation Brighton's risky play at the back will be their undoing again. This game will run Sheff Utd's clash with Fulham close for last spot on Match of the Day 2, but ultimately Palace will prevail.
Tottenham are the joint top scorers in the Premier League with 12 goals courtesy of two brutally efficient trips to St. Mary's (1-5) and Old Trafford (1-6). However, the downside of that stat is Jose Mourinho's side have only managed one goal in two home matches after losing to Everton (0-1) and drawing with Newcastle (1-1). Like Spurs, West Ham started with a home defeat (0-2 vs Newcastle) but have fought back impressively, following up their 4-0 win over Wolves with a 3-0 win at Leicester.
Harry Kane has been involved in more Premier League goals than anybody else this season with three goals and six assists in four matches, and this may be the first weekend he gets to link up with Son Heung-Min – the league's joint top scorer with six goals – and Gareth Bale. Kane has nine goals in his last 10 games against the Hammers. Sergio Reguilon is also expected to recover from a knock suffered on international duty with Spain.
David Moyes is reinventing himself at the London Stadium. Since July, West Ham have averaged two goals per game in the Premier League. Michael Antonio, who has scored four goals in his last seven matches against Spurs, spearheads a Hammers attack which now creates enough chances to win any game. However, we can't lose sight of Moyes' inferiority complex particularly away at top six sides. He's never beaten Jose Mourinho in 12 previous meetings, and with Spurs' attack in such fine fettle, this weekend is not the time for an exception.
With the chance to move back to the top of the Premier League, Leicester lost 3-0 at home to West Ham. It was a shock to the system after the previous week's mauling of Man City at the Etihad, but the Foxes will be encouraged by their recent record against Aston Villa. Leicester have won four of the last five clashes between the sides, drawing the other, with Jamie Vardy bagging a brace home and away against the Villans last season.
Leicester lost their 100% record last time out but Villa preserved theirs in stunning fashion with the biggest victory over a Premier League champion ever. Dean Smith's side have scored 10 goals in their last two games, and have conceded the fewest goals (two) in the league so far. After 34 matches last season, Villa were second bottom with 27 points, four points from safety, seemingly destined to be relegated. In the seven matches since then, they remain unbeaten having amassed a hugely encouraging 17 points from 21.
Brendan Rodgers will not be too downhearted with the West Ham defeat but will be concerned with his team having 69% of possession, failing to have a shot on target, and allowed the Hammers to take six. Only Mo Salah has breached Villa's defence so far, as new signing Emi Martinez began his Villa career with back-to-back clean sheets. At the other end, Ollie Watkins' hat-trick against Liverpool takes his total over the last two years to 29, more than any other player in English football's top two tiers. I fancy Villa's great goal-scoring form to continue, but Leicester to save face with a draw.