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Liverpool return to league action after beating Chelsea 5-4 on penalties to win UEFA’s Super Cup for the fourth time on Wednesday night. Southampton will be looking to put last Saturday’s disappointing defeat at Turf a Moor behind them. Charlie Mullan picks out some of the best bets available this weekend’s action.
Liverpool to beat Southampton to nil @ 29/20
Liverpool (10/21) could have done without the midweek trip to Istanbul for their UEFA Super Cup win against Chelsea after extra-time and penalties but their squad should be deep enough to be able to cope with their early season fixture congestion. Virgil van Dijk is one of a number of players the Reds have signed from Southampton (11/2) in recent years and his arrival at Anfield turned them into serious title contenders last season.
The injury sustained to first choice goalkeeper Alisson in their season opener could have derailed their title challenge 12 months ago but the good news for Liverpool is that back-up keeper Adrian, signed as a free agent from West Ham in the summer, has had 171 minutes of playing time to settle into the team. Seeing van Dijk, regarded as the best defender in the world, marshalling the defence in front of him seems to have made Liverpool’s Istanbul hero Adrian’s inclusion seamless. Liverpool, with Alisson between the posts, kept 21 clean sheets last season and are 5/4 to register their first of the new season. The Reds are 29/20 to win to nil.
Certain strikers seem to relish playing against certain clubs and that is the case with Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah. With 55 goals in 75 games, the Egyptian has a number of clubs he likes to inflict damage on and Southampton is one of them. Salah has faced the Saints four times and has scored in each of them with five goals in total. Salah is already off the mark this season with his side’s second goal in a 4-1 win at home to Norwich last Friday night. Salah, who played the full 120 minutes in Istanbul, is 33/10 is open or close the scoring at St Mary’s and 10/11 to be an anytime scorer.
After scoring twice against the Saints at Anfield in November 2017, Salah is 7/2 to score another brace and 12/1 to go one better and notch his third hat-trick since joining the Reds in June 2017. Southampton, who will hope to catch Liverpool cold early on following their trip to Turkey, are 47/20 to score first goal.
Over 2.5 goals between Arsenal v Burnley, Man City v Tottenham and Luton v West Brom
It’s been a while since both Arsenal (4/13) and Burnley (35/4) began their season with back-to-back wins and both are on course to do so this weekend. For the Gunners, 2009/10 was the last time they managed to win their opening two league games. For Burnley supporters, the wait has been longer. The last time the Clarets started the season taking six points from a possible six was the 2006/07 season when they were a Championship side.
Both sides go into this game full of confidence having won their season openers last week. Arsenal won 1-0 at Newcastle while Burnley beat Southampton 3-0 at Turf Moor. But what can we expect from Arsenal’s first league game at the Emirates? We could see a few goals as meetings between these two sides generally produces goals. In fact, 13 have been scored in the last three meetings at an average of 4.3 a game.
Both encounters last season ended 3-1 to the Gunners and another 3-1 win for Arsenal is trading at 10/1 with SportPesa. Over 3.5 goals is available at 31/20 while over 2.5 goals is on the market at 5/8. Arsenal to win with over 2.5 goals is priced at 20/23 while Sean Dyche’s side are 15/1 to follow up last week’s 3-0 win at home to Southampton with another win and over 2.5 goals scored.
In the corresponding fixture last season, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored twice for Arsenal while Ashley Barnes scored for Burnley. In the return fixture, Aubameyang again scored twice for the Gunners with Barnes scoring for the Turf Moor side. Aubameyang is 13/5 to open the scoring and 5/7 to be an anytime scorer while Barnes, who scored twice last weekend, is 9/1 to be first goalscorer and 7/2 to score anytime.
We can only hope Manchester City’s (4/11) home game with Tottenham (15/2) is a repeat of their Champions League semi-final, second leg meeting in April (3-4) and not their Premier League meeting three days later (1-0). After the opening weekend, there is every possibility we will see goals in this fixture after City scored five without reply at West Ham while Spurs beat Aston Villa 3-1.
SportPesa are offering odds of 1/2 for over 2.5 total goals but if both attacks are on song, 5/4 for over 3.5 goals looks good value.
City are 33/20 to win with over 3.5 goals scored while Mauricio Pochettino’s side are 22/1 to win a high-scoring game at the Etihad. Raheem Sterling began the season with a bang last weekend with a hat-trick in 39 second-half minutes and he is 7/2 to open the scoring against Spurs and 1/1 to be an anytime scorer. Harry Kane, who scored twice against Villa last weekend, is 6/1 to be the first scorer and 8/5 to be anytime scorer.
In the Championship, Luton’s home game with West Brom (8/5) has the potential to produce plenty of goals. Luton (17/10) are still seeking their first three points since winning promotion in May, but they have won plaudits for the style of football they have started the season with. That style has seen nine goals scored in their first two games including six at Kenilworth Road against Middlesbrough to get the EFL season up and running. Both teams have scored in both teams’ opening two games and there is a very good chance it will happen again with over 2.5 goals likely. Town are 3/1 to win with at least three goals scored while West Brom are 13/5 to win and over 2.5 goals scored.
BTTS between Doncaster v Fleetwood, Sunderland v Portsmouth and Carlisle v Mansfield
In League One, it would not be a major surprise if both Doncaster (13/10) and Fleetwood (41/20) each found the net in their meeting at the Keepmoat Stadium. Rovers have started the season with back-to-back 1-1 wins and a third 1-1 draw is trading at 9/2 with SportPesa. Fleetwood have won their opening two games and they have allowed both their opponents – Peterborough and AFC Wimbledon – to score against them. Both teams to score is available at 5/6 with the home side 7/2 to win and goals for both sides while Fleetwood are 19/4 to win and both teams scoring.
The last time both Doncaster and Fleetwood scored in a game against each other was in their first ever league meeting which ended 3-1 to Fleetwood at Highbury in October 2014. In the next seven meetings, there has been three goalless draws and both teams have won to nil twice. Surely it’s time for both teams to end that run and produce a game where both teams find the net.
Sunderland (27/10) have begun the new season in the same way they finished the last, by being involved in games where both teams score. It happened in 33 of their 46 league games last term which was one more game than their opponents this weekend, Portsmouth (21/10). While Pompey lost their opener to nil and won their second game to nil, the Black Cats have drawn both their fixtures 1-1 which was the score when these two sides met at the Stadium of Light at the end of April in one of five meetings between the sides last season.
Sunderland conceded the first goal against Oxford and Ipswich in the last fortnight but salvaged a point in both games and Portsmouth are 23/20 to open the scoring while Jack Ross’ side are 20/23 to score the first goal. Sunderland are 4/1 to win with both teams scoring while Portsmouth are 21/4 to take the three points in a game with goals for both sides.
The EFL season may be just two games old, but already Mansfield (29/20) are laying claim to being the comeback kings. They have conceded the first goal in both league games and their midweek EFL Cup tie before all three games finished 2-2 after 90 minutes. The last two of those matches were against Macclesfield who beat the Stags after a penalty shoot-out on Tuesday night.
A fourth successive 2-2 draw involving Mansfield against Carlisle (29/20) this weekend is available at 10/1. Both teams have scored in the two league games played by Carlisle, who have won one and lost one so far this season. They have scored the first goal in both games and are 11/10 to open the scoring while Mansfield are 41/20 to open the scoring.