Premier League Picks – 26th October
It’s a return to Premier League action after a decent week in Europe for the British teams. Arsenal were the only Premiership side to lose midweek but they’ll be confident of keeping their domestic run going with their trip to managerless Palace.
There’s six games in total on Saturday before Sunday’s big matches at the Stadium of Light and Etihad. Here are a couple of selections I like the look of:
Manchester United V Stoke. Saturday 3PM
After a decent midweek Champions League victory over Real Sociedad, Manchester United aim to get their title-defence back on track with a rare Saturday 3PM kick-off against a Stoke side managed by former Red Devils idol Mark Hughes.
A late equaliser conceded last week against Southampton was just the latest setback in a turbulent start for new manager David Moyes and a return of just 4 points from their last 4 games is simply not good enough for a team of this magnitude. Manchester United are one of the biggest clubs in the world and 11 points from the first 8 games sees them in unfamiliar territory and things will need a drastic upturn if they are going to reignite their challenge to retain their title.
Fortunately, a home game against Stoke City gives Moyes the perfect chance to get his team back on the right path. If United’s form is poor, then the Potters is even worse. Sparky’s side have not won since August and that looks unlikely to change at Old Trafford.
So far this term, Stoke have struggled in front of goal even more than usual. With just 4 from 8 registered in the ‘goals for’ column, the league’s lowest scorers are now on a run of three and half games since their last strike. In the derby against West Brom, they look bereft of ideas in the final third and it is hard to see where the inspiration could come from during the visit to Old Trafford.
With Sunday’s huge encounter between rivals City and Chelsea, United will look to pile on the pressure by winning well here. I think that’s exactly what they’ll do.
Norwich V Cardiff. Saturday 3PM.
It might not be standout tie for the neutrals but for Norwich and Cardiff this game couldn’t be more important.
Both sides have shown the occasional glimpses of brilliance but the inconsistency surrounding both teams means Malky Mackay and Chris Hughton are already looking up at the table and fans will undoubtedly fear the worst.
As newcomers, Cardiff supporters will perhaps be a little more forgiving and ultimately if they were to finish the season in their current position of 17th then it will be a job well done for the Welsh outfit. For Nowrich though, it looks ominous as the Canaries are currently down the mine that is the relegation zone, already that bird is starting to cough.
The Canaries have only scored 6 all season, two of which came on the opening day, so goals are obviously a growing concern. Injury hindered Gary Hooper’s start to the season and City fans will be desperate to see the summer signing find his shooting boots soon; if the ex-Celtic man can discover the sort of form he showed north of the border then Norwich will almost certainly be safe, if he doesn’t it could be curtains for their Premier League stay.
Cardiff have already shown a tenacious streak and they will not be frightened of this trip to Carrow Road. Approaching the quarterway mark of the campaign, teams will now start to take notice of the league standings and the alarm bells will start ringing for those teams sat in the relegation zone. With this in mind, the pressure is firmly on Chris Hughton’s side and I think that may help the visitors.
Malky Mackay will have jotted this fixture down as a potential for points and if they play to their best then there is no reason that they can’t make the trip back to Wales with a full three points.
BET TIP: Cardiff DNB @11/4 with Coral