Arsenal v Burnley
Premier League – 12.30 pm
The Premier League action on Saturday starts at the Emirates. Arsenal picked up a win on the opening weekend of the new top-flight season, a narrow 1-0 success at Newcastle. It wasn’t the greatest of performances, but it was a welcome three points away from home and something to build on. Naturally, they will expect to be just that little bit sharper back on home soil.
The top bookmakers have the Gunners as short as 11/10 odds to win to nil in this fixture. Will punters see that as one of the best bets of the day though, considering how badly criticized the defence of Arsenal has been over the last twelve months? Or will they be trusted to get back to back clean sheets? Arsenal are taking on a Burnley side who also won their opening game of the new campaign.
The Clarets came bolting out of the gates at Turf Moor, pasting Southampton 3-0. North London hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for the Clarets who have lost each of their five previous EPL away games at Arsenal. Home and away Burnley are on a nine-match losing streak against the Gunners in league meetings. They are 17/2 with top bookmakers to pull off an upset.
Sunderland v Portsmouth
League One – 12.30 pm
The Mackems couldn’t haul themselves out of League One last season and so are having to start a promotion push all over again. It hasn’t been the most convincing of starts from them though as Sunderland have only drawn their two league games this season. Both of them were 1-1 scorelines against Oxford and Ipswich. Will they be able to turn up the heat a little bit back at the Stadium of Light on Saturday lunchtime as they welcome Portsmouth?
Portsmouth, like Sunderland, fell in the League One playoffs last season. But they have already had a taste of success this season. They opened with an away loss out at Shrewsbury, but then comfortably beat Tranmere last weekend in what was their first home game of the new campaign. Two of the last three between Sunderland and Pompey up in the northeast have ended in a 1-1 draw which is a 5/1 correct score option. Considering the way things have gone for Sunderland early this season, that may not sound like an unreasonable outcome.
Manchester City v Tottenham
Premier League – 5.30 pm
It is a Saturday evening kick-off from the Etihad Stadium to look forward to. EPL reigning champions Man City made a pretty big statement last weekend. After seeing title-rivals Liverpool open their new account with a 4-1 home win over the newly-promoted Norwich, was it any surprise that the Citizens went out and did even better? Pep Guardiola’s men posted a 5-0 thumping success over West Ham. Away from home.
They will get their first taste of Premier League home action this season and this is a cracker. The Citizens step out against Tottenham, the team who are, once again, expected to push City and Liverpool the hardest in the title race. City have won their last three home games against the Lilywhites and are unbeaten in four on home soil against them in all competitions. Last season Man City took back to back 1-0 league wins over Spurs and big bookmakers have them at 1/3 to win outright on the weekend.
But Spurs did have their success over Man City last season. That was in that epic Champions League tussle, with Spurs winning on away goals in the quarterfinals after a 4-4 aggregate tie. Spurs are on a four-match losing streak in the Premier League against them though. But new summer signing Tanguy Ndombele looks a great addition and main-man Harry Kane netted a brace in a 3-1 come-from-behind win against Aston Villa last weekend. Spurs are 7/1 for the win in the match outright.
Wales v England
Rugby International – 2.15 pm
England head coach Eddie Jones named his World Cup squad earlier this week, a good four weeks before the start of the tournament. So he knows exactly what he is working with or at least, barring injuries, what he wants to work with. Will that offer the English the stability that they need as they head off to Japan in early September? Last weekend they took a convincing home win over Wales at Twickenham and Jones did some experimenting with his line up.
Had Wales won that game, they would have moved to the top of the World Rankings above New Zealand. Despite sending out a strong starting fifteen, they found England in a bullish mood. But things could be different back on home soil where Wales are 21/20 to win in their backyard. Earlier this season in the Six Nations meeting in Cardiff the Welsh collected a win over England. At the end of the day, this is friendly, but the Welsh pride may have been wounded a little bit last week. Can they get some revenge over England who are 5/6 favourites?