Premier League football returns this weekend after another drab international break! That means the return of the classic 10-fold football acca's, some really decent games, no shopping trips with the Mrs and of course Jeff and the lads back on Soccer Saturday.
Our man Danny Archer has previewed Saturday's two big clashes, Man City vs Liverpool and Stoke vs Man United, both televised on BT Sport and Sky Sports respectively as Paul Merson attempts to say Krychowiak for the first time!
Man City (10/11 Unibet) vs Liverpool (3/1) preview
On paper, the game of the weekend. Pep Guardiola's Man City were clinical in dispatching Brighton 2-0 on the opening day of the season but have just taken a while to click into top gear in their two games since.
Despite dominating possession, the Etihad outfit fell behind to a neat finish from Wayne Rooney who might have been celebrating his 200th Premier League a tad too much the other night! When Kyle Walker was dismissed for two quick bookings in the 44th minute, City were potentially slipping to just their second defeat at home under Guardiola. However, the Manchester club were the much better side in the second half and deservedly equalised late on through Raheem Sterling to grab a point.
It was the same story away to Bournemouth in gameweek 3 after Charlie Daniels rifled in a fine finish to give the Cherries the lead before Gabriel Jesus, looking more and more like Guardiola's no.1 forward levelled the game. Under the Spaniard, City have looked particularly threatening in the closing stages of games and that was highlighted by Sterling's injury time winner, which moved City up to fourth in the Premier League table. Their formidable home record means City head favouritism for this clash and their attacking prowess has been there for all to see so far this season. Gabriel Jesus is relishing his role through the middle, whilst Kevin De Bruyne has seen much more of the ball playing in a deeper midfield role. However, City still look shambolic at times in defence. An inability to mark Rooney for his 200th Premier League goal coupled with the signings of two attack minded full backs in Danilo and Mendy means City will always be susceptible to a counter attack, which should make Saturday's game a thriller.
Liverpool under Klopp have developed into one of the most attack minded teams in the league and who have been potent on the break. An opening day 3-3 draw with Watford conveyed the dichotomy of Klopp's side which has attacking instinct but defensive frailties, before a narrow 1-0 win over Crystal Palace at Anfield highlighted the Reds' trouble in breaking down lesser teams. However, Liverpool have a sensational record under Klopp against the big sides and they improved that with a 4-0 demolition against Arsenal. The Gunners and some of their wantaway stars simply could not handle the fluidity of Liverpool's play and Firmino, Salah and Mane linked up nicely all game. They'll be dangerous on the break against City on Saturday and the sides played out an entertaining 1-1 at the Etihad last season.
Prediction: Both Teams To Score looks a safe bet given the defensive frailties of both sides and I think the draw is also a fair price.
Both Teams To Score 1/2 Unibet
Draw 29/10. £20 returns £79 with Unibet
Stoke vs Man United preview
The 5:30 kick-off sees top of the table Man United travel to the Potteries to take on a Stoke side managed by a former United player in Mark Hughes. The old adage of no-one wanting to play on a cold night in Stoke looks likely with the weather forecast but the Red Devils come into the game in fine fettle.
Unbeaten in their first three games, Mourinho's men were clinical in their finishing against West Ham (4-0) and Swansea (4-0) before the Old Trafford outfit overcame a spirited Leicester and a Romelu Lukaku penalty miss to win 2-0 thanks to Marcus Rashford and Marouane Fellaini's goals. United have not won at Stoke since Alex Ferguson left the club and have only won three of their last eight Premier League matches against Hughes' side.
United are the only side still boasting a 100% record in the league this year and No.9 Lukaku has scored 16 goals in his last 18 matches in the league. The Manchester outfit are worthy favourites and a fascinating stat is that Mourinho has gone on to win the league on all three occasions when he has won his first four opening matches.
Stoke have endured a torrid time recently with three wins in 14 Premier League matches but have added well this summer. The signings of players including Jese, Chupo-Moting and new £18 million man Kevin Wimmer from Tottenham. An opening day defeat to Everton was quickly forgotten as new man Jese fired home to provide the Potters with a 1-0 victory over an out of sorts Arsenal in gameweek 2 before Hughes' men fought back well to secure a 1-1 draw against West Brom last time out.
Prediction: United to continue rich vein of form.
It's hard to envisage United not taking 3 points back to Manchester with them on Saturday given their phenomenal start to the season. The addition of Lukaku and the underrated Matic has given Paul Pogba more room to roam and also provides United with an aerial presence in the box formerly punctuated by Zlatan Ibrahimovic. However, a trip to Stoke is always a tough and physical encounter so under 2.5 goals looks a sensible wager, particularly as that bet has landed in Stoke's opening three games.
Man United 11/20 Unibet
Under 2.5 goals 49/50. £30 returns £59.40 with Unibet. First bet up to £30 will be refunded if it's a loser.