Swansea v Arsenal
Premier League, Saturday, 3pm GMT
I was unlucky enough to watch the entire 90 minutes of Swansea’s last home match, a dour 1-0 defeat against Stoke, and Swansea looked a poor team that day. After an excellent start to the season Swansea have looked out of sorts since the defeat by Watford six weeks ago.
Last weekend’s comeback win against Aston Villa will have no doubt lifted the spirits at the Liberty but the Swans will need improvement on that performance to get anything from Arsenal on Saturday.
I think we can write-off the Gunners’ defeat to Sheffield Wednesday in midweek as somewhat irrelevant to their current form. It was mostly a back-up selection fielded by Arsene Wenger, although they did lose Theo Walcott to injury, who himself replaced the injured Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Walcott didn’t feature at all in last Saturday’s win over Everton and, with Olivier Giroud looking clinical in front of goal of late, I don’t think Arsenal will miss Theo too much here.
When I watch Arsenal this year I’m seeing an organised side with attacking players in form and defensive players who know their job well. They have quality throughout and if they continue at their current level I think they’ll be too good for the Swans.
The 3/4 for an away win is a solid investment against a Swansea team struggling to match their early-season form.
Southampton v Bournemouth
Premier League, Sunday, 4pm GMT
I backed Southampton not to lose against Liverpool last weekend and they duly delivered on their generous 10/11 price. They were good value for the draw in that match despite needing a late Sadio Mane equaliser to cancel out Christian Benteke’s stunning opener.
Mane was quiet in that match by his own standards but has now been involved in seven goals in his last seven appearances for the Saints, with three goals and four assists.
Bournemouth are having a torrid time with injuries of late with influential attacking players Callum Wilson and Max Gradel both facing long spells on the sidelines. They’re also without Tommy Elphick and Tyrone Mings for the short trip to St Mary’s.
The Cherries have suffered back-to-back 5-1 defeats in the Premier League and lost to Liverpool in their midweek Capital One Cup match. Put it this way: you wouldn’t want to be without Saints coverage in your FPL team this weekend as all the signs point towards a home win.
Southampton -1 is quite tempting at 13/10 but I’d rather be sensible and opt for the straight home win at 4/7.
Crewe V Sheffield United
League One, Saturday, 3pm GMT
This match could be a coupon-buster with preseason title favourites Sheffield United 1/2 to beat rock-bottom Crewe. You’d expect many a punter will opt for an away win in this one but to me the price represents poor value.
Tha Blades have had a stuttering start to the campaign and sit in seventh place after a disappointing home loss to Millwall last time out. They haven’t recorded an away win since the late August victory against Millwall and for a side tipped for the title, that is rather worrying form.
Crewe are not exactly setting the world alight themselves, of course, but there is enough to suggest there is value to be found somewhere if they are 13/2 to win the match. They contested close games against Burton and Gillingham recently before the away defeat to Blackpool last weekend.
I’m not adventurous enough to back the home win outright but I’m more than happy to take Crewe +2 in the handicap market at 4/7 with Bet365.
Weekend football value bets
Arsenal to beat Swansea – 3/4 with Bet365 (link)
Southampton to beat Bournemouth – 4/7 with WillHill (link)
Crewe +2 – 4/7 with Bet365 (link)
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