After some surprising results on Saturday, the English Premier League concludes its sixth week of games with three games on Sunday. We’ll review each match and give out our free picks for each one. All of the odds shown are taken from Bodog.
Manchester United (3rd) at Bolton Wanderers (14th) – Reebok Stadium – 7:00 AM ET – After Saturday’s results, Manchester United suddenly finds itself with the unexpected opportunity to move up to second place and only 1 point out of first place. They will have a great opportunity on Sunday against lowly Bolton, who has not earned a clean sheet since their first game of the season. Although Manchester hasn’t looked great through their first 5 games, they have yet to lose and have played well enough to stay near the top of the standings. This should continue this weekend against a Bolton side that has scored 7 goals in their last four games, but have allowed 8 in the same span, leading to the team earning only 4 points. They will have as little success stopping the Manchester United attack that is looking better by the week. This could turn into a shootout, depending on whether or not Bolton can manage to break the United defense. Either way, expect Manchester to have a strong offensive performance and win this one on the road.
Bolton hasn’t shown they can stop anybody from scoring, so take Manchester United at -1. The total for this match is at 2½. This one is looking like a high-scoring affair, so take the over.
Aston Villa (12th) at Wolverhampton Wanderers (16th) – Molineux – 9:05 AM ET – This one could turn into a game of attrition as both teams are within one win of getting into the top half of the standings. Both teams are averaging about 1 goal a game, and with neither team a presenting any serious threat on the offensive end, this match will probably turn into a game of who makes a mistake first, and whether or not the other team has what it takes to capitalize. The tiebreak in this one could turn out to be Aston Villa’s mid-week Carling Cup win over Blackburn. New Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier entered that game give a 4-3-3 formation that proved to be ineffective. After trailing 1-0 at half time, Houllier made adjustments to the formation and the lineup, and Aston Villa went on to score 3 second-half goals. The second for Aston Villa included 2 goals from Ashley Young, compared by Houllier to a young Michael Owen, and an inspired performance from Emile Heskey. This could be the spark that finally gets the underachieving Aston Villa attack going.
While Although Aston Villa was impressive mid-week, they have not shown consistency on the attack. Expect this one to be close and low scoring, so take the under 2½. Also, take a look at the draw, currently at +230 at Bodog.
Stoke City (18th) at Newcastle United (9th) – St. James’ Park – 11:10 AM ET – A win a Sunday will move Newcastle into the top five of the Premiership, and they have a golden opportunity to accomplish this as they host Stoke City, which currently sits just 1 point above last place in the EPL. Newcastle’s biggest obstacle in accomplishing this will not be Stoke City, but their own inconsistency. They have looked like a different team every week, and have struggled to score consistently. However, the offensive success they found against Chelsea this week could jump-start their offense and may finally provide the team with a blueprint of what works for them in the offensive third. Newcastle’s Shola Ameobi scored twice against Chelsea, and if he can continue to look as impressive in the Premiership as he has in the Carling Cup, Newcastle United may have finally found the answer to their offensive inconsistency. Still carrying the momentum of their Carling Cup win and playing at home against one of the Premiership’s weaker sides, look for Newcastle to win on Sunday.
Take Newcastle United in this one at -½. The over/under at 2½ will be close, but with Newcastle suddenly finding their offense and playing at home, the over at +105 is a solid bet available at Bodog.