English Premier League
Liverpool vs. Manchester United (Monday 8pm)
Undoubtedly the biggest game of the weekend is the one we have to wait the longest to see, with Mourinho’s Man Utd visiting rivals Liverpool on Monday night. Klopp’s men are one of the form sides in the division at present, having taken 13 of the last 15 points available, though their 1-2 win at Swansea was not their most convincing. They are almost at full strength, but if Lallana is absent then he will be missed. His injury in Wales clearly affected the fluidity of Klopp’s attack, with the England man having been integral to their forward play this term.
Mourinho will have been preparing meticulously for this encounter and is boosted by having almost a full squad. Sloppy finishing cost his side dear against Stoke last time out, with a disappointing 1-1 draw largely coming because of Ibrahimovic and Pogba’s first half failings in front of goal. The visitors may play more direct than usual to beat the hosts’ high press, as Mourinho will know his pedestrian side are outmatched in terms of intensity here. Liverpool on the handicap and over 2.5 both look good to us, as we back this one to live up to the hype.
English Premier League
Chelsea vs. Leicester City (Saturday 12.30pm)
Despite the clash between Klopp and Mourinho taking centre stage, this could prove to be the most interesting game of the weekend, with a lot of questions to be answered. Last season’s big under-performers meet last season’s big over-performers, though crucially neither side have been too convincing in this campaign to date. Chelsea sit in seventh with Leicester down in twelfth, with both positions being justified because Conte’s men have shown a bit more than Ranieri’s overall.
Still, a -1 handicap on the hosts looks brash in the circumstances, with the 2.75 goal line also a bit on the punchy side. The market is obviously fearful after Leicester’s collapses against Liverpool and Man Utd, especially as there is no doubt that Chelsea have the firepower to inflict similar damage. The first goal will be paramount and we are going to gamble on the visitors getting it by backing them on the Asian Handicap, while also pushing an under 3 position at current odds. The Champions have burned us a few times already this year, though!
Italian Serie A
Napoli vs. Roma (Saturday 2pm)
This looks like a game that will have big implications for the runners-up spot, even so early in the season. Roma beat Inter in one of our highlighted games two weeks ago, but they have been so poor away from home this season and are hard to trust. If this was Napoli at full strength then the line of -0.5 would seem fair, but it’s tough to know just how much the hosts will miss Milik, who was injured on international duty with Poland.
That makes -0.25 seem more reasonable, but then Napoli have won 19/21 games in front of their own fans and have scored in 39/40. Roma have been giving up too many chances and with so many international players it is unlikely they will have been able to tighten up much during the break. This brings the over 2.75 into play, with an early Napoli goal desired.
German Bundesliga 1
Borussia Dortmund vs. Hertha BSC (Friday 7.30pm)
Third placed Dortmund host second placed Hertha on Friday night, with Tuchel’s side missing three starters and a handful of other squad players. This means that their -1.5 handicap looks big, though they have blown a few teams away already this season. They were unfortunate to lose 2-0 at Leverkusen last time out, with our Analyst Fair Score pitching that as a 1-1, but they might find it tough going against Hertha’s well-versed countering style. The visitors are relatively free of pressure and would be very happy to settle for a draw, given that they are missing a few starters themselves. The brave move is to oppose Dortmund on the handicap, with the really brave move being a combination with the under 3 goals line.
French Ligue 1
Nice vs. Olympique Lyonnais (Friday 7.45pm)
Friday evening brings another big game from the continent, with league leaders Nice welcoming the dangerous Lyon, who have top scorer Lacazette back after a month out. As expected, this game is now being pegged as a battle between Balotelli and Lacazette, and we do tend to agree that goals could be the market to operate in here. The DNB handicap line looks incredibly fair on form and team news, but given both sides are better at the front than the back then 2.75 does seem a bit short on the goals. You can even get 2.5 at decent odds.
Ones to Watch
Melbourne Victory vs. Melbourne City (Saturday 9.50am)
The two title favourites meet in the first Melbourne Derby of the season, with the market struggling to separate them.
Huddersfield Town vs. Sheffield Wednesday (Sunday 12pm)
The surprise leaders host genuine promotion contenders in a derby that’s their first big test at home this season.
German Bundesliga 2
Union Berlin vs. Hannover 96 (Sunday 12.30pm)
Two promotion contenders meet with the hosts sweating over the fitness of their star striker, making Hannover attractive at DNB.
Norrkoping vs. Malmo FF (Sunday 2pm)
Norrkoping’s wheels have fallen off recently, but they could make serious ground in the title race with a win here.
United States MLS
Montreal Impact vs. Toronto (Sunday 8pm)
Both Canadian teams are in questionable form, but Montreal look better placed to make up some ground in the East.