After a week off as a mark of respect to the Queen, the Premier League is back for another exciting round of matchups and this week the games unusually begin on Friday – and it is Friday night where we begin.
Nottingham Forest vs. Fulham
Over 2.5 Goals -110
I have written in my first VSiN column that Nottingham Forest is going to take time to adjust to life in the Premier League and I still feel that way. Defense is a huge issue for them, and they have conceded an alarming 11 goals in their last three matches.
They did take an unlikely two-goal lead in their last game against Bournemouth, but their supporters will be concerned how easily they then lost that lead with some awful defending. Talking of supporters’ concerns, ahead of this fixture there is huge fear amongst the fans that popular manager Steve Cooper is being strongly linked in the media with the now-vacant Brighton job. It all adds to the tension around the place as they prepare for the visit of Fulham.
When last in Vegas at the Circa EPL forum, I said that Fulham could well be a team that surprised and could even finish in the top 10. They so far have repaid my faith and have begun the season in brilliant fashion. They boast a young hungry hard-working team alongside an accomplished manager in Marco Silva.
Some had doubts as to whether star striker Mitrovic would be effective in the Premier League, but he has silenced those doubters with 6 goals already and has had more shots than any player in the league. Fulham have scored in all but one of their fixtures so far and in five of those six matches would have cashed this Over 2.5 goals bet.
In the reverse fixture last year in the Championship Mitrovic was far too hot to handle for Forest, scoring twice in a 4-0 victory. He is certainly a tempting bet at + 123 to find the net on Friday. In summary, I see goals and the play has to be Over 2.5 Goals -110
Newcastle vs. Bournemouth
Newcastle manager Eddie Howe welcomes his former club where he was hero-worshipped for years.
Bournemouth’s journey on Saturday is the longest journey in terms of miles any team will make all season and sadly for them I fear it will be a difficult one that will see them face a long trip home with no points.
It is true Bournemouth arrives here following a morale-boosting come-from-behind 3-2 victory against fellow strugglers Nottingham Forest. They will find this Newcastle team unbeaten at home this season to be much more fearsome opposition. They have looked accomplished in all departments this year and their only defeat was 2-1 injury-time loss away at mighty Liverpool. That game may have ended in defeat but that night Newcastle looked like a club that had gone to a higher level and they will pose Bournemouth many problems defensively.
Newcastle’s exciting striking partnership of Isak and Wilson will be aware that Bournemouth have conceded no less than 15 goals in their last three away matches and I can only see that statistic worsening further on Saturday.
Eddie Howe knows he must put his feelings for his old club to one side for 90 minutes and this is a game he will be looking to win comfortably.
I like Newcastle on the Asian handicap -1 goal as I think it’s a much better way to get with the Magpies than the -250 just to win as I would expect Newcastle to score a few in front of their passionate home support.
Newcastle -1 -136
Everton vs. West Ham
Under 2.5 goals -125
My final play is a game I expect to be a far different contest to the other two that I have featured in this column, in that it could well be a rather boring dull game.
David Moyes brings his West Ham team to Everton, his former club, following a Thursday Europa Conference game in Denmark, and it is fair to say he will be disappointed by his team’s start to the season. Goals have been in short supply in a team that has lacked any real fluency or attacking threat. Five of their opening games have landed Under 2.5 goals with the only exception being their encounter with Chelsea and that took a stoppage time winner.
I see Moyes particularly after a midweek Euro fixture adopting a very defensive approach. This brings us to the home team Everton, which can hardly be described as goal machines themselves.
Their manager, former West Ham player Frank Lampard, has seen his side score one goal at their Goodison Park home all season. Goodison has only seen three goals scored in total in the three games staged this season. Five of Everton’s six games have seen the Under 2.5 cashed and then you add in West Ham’s low-scoring start to the season then there can only be one play here.
If you can only watch one Premier League game this season, I strongly recommend it is not this one! Under 2.5 goals -125