Man City may soon have Cristiano Ronaldo in their ranks, which has cemented their position as Premier League title favourites, but first they take on an Arsenal side looking for their first point.
Paul Higham says: “You can get 1413/1 on an Arsenal victory at the Etihad, which is a bigger price than they’ve ever been to win a Premier League game – it sums up the size of the task.
“City are massive 1.21/5 favourites with even the draw a big price at 6.411/2.
“Arteta and the front three he could field on Saturday did beat City in the FA Cup semi-finals just 13 months ago so he does have a blueprint to follow, and that’s primarily to build on keeping a clean sheet.
“That win was their only clean sheet in 11 games against City though, and duly the only time they’ve not lost in that run. In that span they’ve failed to score in eight of those games – you feel they’ll have to score to stand any chance of taking anything from this game.
“City have won the last eight straight meetings in the league, with six of those coming with a clean sheet, leading to you being able to back both teams to score here being at 2.166/5.
“Given the stats a Man City win to nil will prove popular even at a short price of 1.9420/21.”
Mark O’Haire says: “Nottm Forest have suffered a solitary reverse in the last 10 East Midlands derby dates with Derby (W3-D6-L1), silencing the Rams in five of their most recent eight meetings. However, the Tricky Trees have managed a solitary success in 10 trips to their bitter rivals at Pride Park (W1-D4-L5) since 2012, failing to even score in four of their most recent six here.
“Derby 2.6813/8 deserve credit for grinding out a five-point return from their opening four fixtures with Wayne Rooney’s well-organised outfit proving a tough nut to crack. The Rams have been aided by a relatively soft schedule but have returned back-to-back clean sheets and restricted to their opponents to just 1.20 non-penalty Expected Goals per-game (npxG).
“Nottingham Forest 3.052/1 have endured a miserable start to the season. The Reds rank 23rd for Expected Points (xP), and their attacking output has been almost non-existent with the Tricky Trees in the bottom-four for shots attempts, on-target efforts, shots inside the box, Expected Goals (xG), npxG, xG from open play, as well as touches in the opposition box.”
Marks’ bet: Back Draw and Under 2.5 Goals at 3.259/4
Mainz v Greuther Furth
Saturday 28 August, 14:30
Live on Betfair Live Video
The Mainz manager will be looking for a big improvement when his midtable side host one of the newly-promoted teams in the German top flight.
Kevin Hatchard says: “There haven’t been too many hiccups since Bo Svensson returned to Mainz to take up the coaching reins of the senior team, but last Saturday’s 2-0 reverse at newly-promoted Bochum was described by the Dane as the worst performance of his reign. It was the total opposite of the committed and organised display shown in the 1-0 win over RB Leipzig – challenges were lost all over the field, and Gerritt Holtmann’s solo goal (he wandered past half the team before scoring the opener) was the ultimate example of that laissez-faire approach.
“Svensson will demand a response, and the return of several players from quarantine will help the cause. It’s worth noting Mainz’s excellent home record under Svensson: they’ve beaten Leipzig twice, and have also seen off the champions Bayern, delaying their coronation last term with a 2-1 win. Overall, the ZeroFivers have won five of their last ten Bundesliga matches at the Mewa Arena, which is a decent record for a side that battled relegation throughout last season.
“Greuther Furth opened up their campaign with a 5-1 hammering at Stuttgart, and then were held 1-1 by an Arminia Bielefeld team that played the final quarter of the game with ten men. Their defensive resources have been stretched by a knee injury for former HSV defender Gideon Jung, one of the few Furth players with significant Bundesliga experience.
Kevin’s bet: Back Mainz to win v Greuther Furth at 1.758/11
Brighton v Everton: Seagulls hard to beat at home
Brighton have a 100% record so far in the Premier League while Everton have looked good under Rafael Benitez so who will come out on top when they meet on the south coast?
Dan Fitch says: “It’s Brighton that are perhaps easier to analyse at the moment than Everton, who are starting afresh with a new manager. Potter has his team playing in a very settled style and system, that doesn’t seem to change much, regardless of what personnel is available to him.
“Going back into last season, Brighton are unbeaten in their last six home games in the Premier League (W4 D2), which included a 0-0 draw with Everton. Brighton are 1.748/11 in the Draw No Bet market, which seems a safe bet.
“Backing both teams to score, used to be a very reliable bet when Brighton were involved, but gradually their defence improved over the course of last season. Four of their last six league home games have seen the hosts keep a clean sheet.
“Everton’s policy of putting in plenty of crosses towards Calvert-Lewin, may not have too much success against Brighton’s central-defenders Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy. Under 2.5 goals could be successful, but looks a little short to recommend at 1.684/6.”
Mark O’Haire says: “Both sides are jam-packed with star quality in the final-third. Liverpool can boast a fully fit front four with all of Mo Salah, Sadio Mane, Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino already on the scoresheet for the Reds this season. Meanwhile, Romelu Lukaku’s arrival is arguably the missing piece in Chelsea’s impressively-assembled squad.
“Considering the attacking talent on show, Over 2.5 Goals 2.0621/20 could be of interest to punters. It’s proven profitable in 14/25 (56%) of Liverpool’s home Premier League ties with top-six finishers under Jurgen Klopp. However, with so much at stake, plus Chelsea’s penchant to keep matches tight under Thomas Tuchel, a cagey contest could play out.
“The Blues saw four of their five league fixtures against the Big Six under Tuchel produce fewer than three goals, four of which also landed for Under 1.5 Goals backers. With the guests unlikely to stray away from their successful process, I’m happy to delve into the Bet Builder and support the Draw and Under 2.5 Goals at 3.65 in a must not-lose showdown.”
Mark’s bet: Back the Draw and Under 2.5 Goals at 3.65
Juventus v Empoli: Juve too strong
Juventus are 2.1211/10 favourites to win Serie A even though they failed to win their opening match last weekend. That means they will be determined to take three points at home this time out.
Chloe Beresford says: “After a scare against Udinese, Juventus need a win and they will not have Cristiano Ronaldo available to help them. However, the Old Lady has won each of her last 9 home matches against Empoli in all competitions, and has kept a clean sheet in seven of those encounters, so the prediction is another similar result this time around.”
Chloe’s bet: Back the 2-0 @ 6.05/1
Spain is the place for Saturday night action as free-scoring La Liga title favourites Real Madrid try to do what they couldn’t do last weekend – take three points.
Tom Victor says: “Real Madrid might consider themselves a little unfortunate not to have won at Levante last weekend, with the home side netting three times from 1.38 xGF, but seven goals scored in two games will be encouraging for Carlo Ancelotti.
“Los Blancos can add to that in Seville, against a Betis side yet to properly get into gear, and Infogol’s model makes them 59% favourites to follow last season’s 3-2 victory with another win at Benito Villamarín.”
Over/Under 2.5? Under
Tom’s bet: Back the 0-2 @ 11.0010/1