Chelsea v Leicester
Premier League – 4.30 pm
It is hard to know what new Chelsea boss Frank Lampard will have taken away from their opening 4-0 defeat at Old Trafford against Manchester United. The Blues were the ones controlling more of the game in the first half of the contest and were a little unfortunate not have taken the lead. But then it was just a second-half collapse which they suffered. A very poor-looking Chelsea defence kept getting caught out on the counter-attack.
What next in the top flight for the Blues? Does Lampard stick to his plans of implementing his open style of play? Does he try and be a little more conservative in the face of harsh reality? Regardless of what he does on the day, Chelsea are 3/4 favourites with big bookmakers to win this one against Leicester. Chelsea lost their corresponding fixture last season 1-0 against the Foxes, going winless in two EPL fixtures at the Bridge against them.
Leicester played out a 0-0 draw against Wolves on the opening weekend the new season. It wasn’t a great game at the King Power. All the talk of the exciting Leicester never really materialized at home in that one. It could have been a different story too if Wolves hadn’t have had a goal wiped out by VAR. On paper, Leicester do look as if they can challenge in this one and given what happened to Chelsea last weekend, the 10/3 odds on a Leicester away win may well be taken on by punters as one of the best bets of the day.
Reading v Cardiff
Championship – 12.00 noon
There should be an intriguing game from the Madejski Stadium on Sunday. The Royals haven’t gotten themselves going yet this season, suffering back-to-back defeats against Sheffield Wednesday and Hull to start with. They will be highly concerned by the fact that they have given up five goals across the two games. That is not an ideal start by any stretch of the imagination.
Last season Reading finished just two places clear of the drop zone in the table, so won’t want to get sucked down into long early struggles this season. Can they get their first win on the board? Would they be happy with at least avoiding defeat? Well, the leading bookmakers have Reading as the 11/4 underdogs for this one on home soil.
It is Cardiff who are coming for a visit. The Bluebirds were relegated from the Premier League last season and they didn’t get off to a flying start in this season’s Championship, losing against Wigan in their opener. But they got three points last week in their first home game, a 2-1 success over Luton. The Welsh club have had their defensive problems too. That’s four goals in two games that the Bluebirds have given up. They are 11/10 to deliver the away win.
Sheffield United v Crystal Palace
Premier League – 2.00 pm
Sheffield United will have been delighted with their work on the opening weekend of the Premier League season. The newly-promoted Blades collected a point in a 1-1 draw out at Bournemouth. Now they have their first home game of the season to come and no doubt Bramall Lane is going to be rocking in this one. They are one of the favourites to get relegated this season, but there is something about Chris Wilder’s Sheffield United at home.
We saw last season in the Championship how they made the Lane an intimidating place for visitors. The Blades are 6/4 favourites to win on Sunday. The big bookmakers are not quite seeing enough in Palace to drag them into favouritism against a newly promoted side. The Eagles are at 2/1. They also got themselves a point on the opening weekend of the season, playing out a 0-0 draw with Everton.
Even though they have managed to keep a hold of Wilfried Zaha, there wasn’t much of an attacking show put on by the Eagles at Selhurst Park. Is that a sign of more struggles to come for them this season? As a positive, they did win more away games than home fixtures last season in the top flight and Roy Hodgson will have been happy with his first clean sheet of the campaign.