Chelsea vs Leicester City
The Blues look to recover after an embarrassing 3-0 defeat away at Elland Road last weekend. They welcome in a Leicester side that are struggling even more than them. The Foxes are usually challenging for European places, and if not that, at least very safe in the mid-table. It’s only been 3 matches, but they are 2nd to last place, sitting on just one point. Their star defender Wesley Fofana is now headed to Chelsea as of today, for $70 million + add-ons. I can’t blame them, but this squad needs major work. The cash infusion will help greatly, but now have like a week to bring players in. Not a situation you would want. xG wise, Leicester are dead last in the Premier League. Again, it is 3 games, but a troubling start to the season. Defensively, the expectation is they will be bad. The concerning thing for me is that their attack has been lackluster. 0.46 NPxG/90 is far below their standard of previous seasons. Some other attackers will need to take on a larger role, as Jamie Vardy ages. Regardless, I would expect this number to improve.
Chelsea sit on 4 points through 3 matches, in what has been a fairly pedestrian start to their season. A sleepy 1-0 over a bad Everton side, a draw at home to Spurs, and a 3-0 road loss to Leeds. One major thing to keep in mind is that N’Golo Kante will continue to be sidelined, for what sounds like at least a month. Their really is a big drop off in their midfield, and their ability to control the pace of matches without him. Especially since Mateo Kovacic is also getting back to fitness. On top of that, Kalidou Koulibaly will be missing due to his red card against Leeds last week. Both of these things would tell me that the defense and control of the game will be a little more shaky than Chelsea fans are used to. Chelsea’s data is pretty average through 3 matches. Because of all of these factors, I think we play the total here. Leicester’s defense is bad, and has been for over a season now. Their attack has been quiet, but they have the talent to get on the score sheet against a Kante-less and Koulibaly-less squad. You’ll remember when we played this when the Foxes traveled to the Emirates, and the game ended 4-2! The risk is Chelsea’s attack has been inept, but I’m going to keep playing Leicester overs until I see reason not to.
Arsenal vs Fulham
What an impressive start to the season for the Gunners. The only team in England to not drop a point in this young season. 3 wins, and 2 impressive ones at that. The 2-0 win over Palace was misleading, but 4-2 over Leicester and 3-0 over Bournemouth were dominant victories. I can’t even single out a specific player, but just to say their signings have been a massive success. Jesus, Zinchenko, and Saliba have been eye popping. The xG on the Bournemouth game was a tad fortunate (1.7-0.2) because of some beautiful strikes by the Gunners. Devil’s advocate we could say they won the games they were supposed to win. Honestly though these are the games Arsenal teams of past seasons would have dropped. The question is can they continue it to a level where they contend for top 4. Beating a newly promoted team like Fulham at home are games you have to win for that to be the case. Bournemouth are a horrible team, so I take almost zero from that match. And to be honest, Fulham might be better than Leicester right now. So it will be an interesting test this weekend.
Being a newly promoted side, the first and only task this season is to stay up. So far so good, with 2 draws and a win for 5 points. They got a touch lucky to take a point off Liverpool, but I was rather impressed with how they took the game to the Reds for the first half of the match. The Wolves and Brentford matches both could have been draws, but Fulham got the late winner to take all 3 points in their last match. I do like Fulham’s squad for a newly promoted side. It’s not like they are new to the Prem, but they are by far my favorite of the 3. Their success this season will come down to can Aleksandar Mitrovic continue his stellar form from the Championship and his 3 goals in their 3 matches this season. I do think Fulham are a bet on against top 8 sides this season, where they may take a draw off one or two and lose in a bunch of tight games. +1.5 is the look for me.
Brighton & Hove Albion vs Leeds United and Wolves vs Newcastle United
With matches where we have two relatively evenly matched teams, my strategy is to bet draws in certain circumstances. The first match we have an impressive Brighton team playing an impressive Leeds team at home. While I do like this Brighton side a lot, I have been thoroughly impressed with Jesse Marsch and Leeds this season. Both teams playing well, this match just feels very tight to me, and I see it ending all square. Wolves I am down on this season, but they continue to be a tricky team to score on, especially at Molineaux. A lot of people will bet Newcastle this week, after that Man City performance. They have draws in 2 of 3 this season, and I just see Wolves putting up a good fight here at home. It will be low scoring, and will be tight. Need to go 1-1 here to be profitable, and I like my chances.
Chelsea / Leciester City BTTS Yes / Over 2.5 Parlay (+115)
Fulham +1.5 (-105)
Brighton Hove & Albion / Leeds United Draw (+250)
Wolves / Newcastle United Draw (+210)
All Picks 1.5 Units