We sat down with LV BET’s UK and Ireland brand ambassador, Jason McAteer, to get his take on some of the best upcoming Premier League fixtures.
We named four clubs at the beginning of the season to be in the top spots. We felt Manchester United were going to be up there. I can’t say I’m not pleased. I’ve just had my smile surgically removed from my face after the 5-0 thumping that we gave them. That was really nice.
They’ve fallen away. They’re in sort of trouble. I’ve always said football kind of runs a script from time to time, and you just feel – even with his friends in the media who are helping him stay in a job – that the inevitable is going to happen.
As far as Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City are concerned…
Always a slow start for City. We’ve seen it with a couple of results. The Crystal Palace result sticks out. A defeat for them. They always stick around. Towards the end of November and beginning of December, they always find their form and click into place. They’ve been fantastic the last couple of weeks in the Champions League and Premier League. You’ll have to keep your eye on them.
Chelsea sitting top. A little slip up from them at the weekend against Burnley. On the whole, they’re showing their quality. All three clubs have got massive strength in depth, which helps with the League Cup, FA Cup and Champions League. That helps them all rotate, and this time in the season, it’s good to have those options.
Dean Smith is gone from Aston Villa. I thought that was a big surprise, but it’s been five or six defeats in a row. There was a project there. I know they spent a lot of money and brought players in, but there’s the quality to turn it around. I thought he should be given a little more time, but there are a few managers out there looking for jobs.
None more so than Antonio Conte. Nuno Espírito Santo lost his job at Tottenham. Daniel Levy pulled the plug on that one because Conte was heavily linked to Manchester United. I think Levy wanted to bring him into Tottenham before he got to speak to the guys at Old Trafford.
Antonio Conte has been brought into by the glamour of the capital, and I think Daniel will have offered him some money to spend in the transfer market in the winter. We’ll have to see how that pans out at Tottenham, but I personally think he would have been more suited to Manchester United. All the tools are there. They just need the right man at the help to push them in the right direction – for me, that was Conte.
We’ll have to see how those two clubs turn out.
Liverpool vs Arsenal
I’m really looking forward to this week’s round of Premier League games. I think it’s fair to say that the big one will be Liverpool vs Arsenal. It’s always thrown up some really good competitive games.
Arsenal – from the last time we’ve spoken about them – have seen a massive turnaround of fortunes. Mikel Arteta has had faith in the kids and has found a way of playing. Odegaard is in there, Aubamayang seems to be happy, and everyone seems to be singing off the same song sheet. As always, results determine competence, and 10 games unbeaten has really helped them progress.
I’m quietly happy that Arteta stayed in the job. I like it when managers are having a tough time, and they’re given the opportunity to turn things around. Fair play to the Arsenal board. A bit like the Manchester United scenario – it would have been easy to pull the trigger, but they’ve decided to stick with Arteta and have faith in him – and he’s repaying that with some solid performances and moving up the table. Fifth in the table now.
They’re going to pose a big challenge to Liverpool – more so now than earlier on in the season. I would have liked to play them when they were having a tough time, but the fixtures didn’t play out that way. For Liverpool, they want to bounce back. Getting players back fit from international duty is always a massive thing for every top club, so we’ll have to see who is fit and available for the weekend fixtures.
Liverpool were on a fantastic run before they got beaten before the international break by West Ham. They’re still very, very good at home—Lot’s of quality, goals and chances. The conversion rate is very, very good, and the crowd is always up for it. We know that after Brentford and West Ham, there’s no more room for error, so I’m going to go for a sneaky Liverpool win. I’m going to go Liverpool 2-1.
- Liverpool to win 2-1 is available at 7/1 (8.00).
Leicester City vs Chelsea
Chelsea sit top of the table. They had a big slip up against Burnley – I don’t think it’s ever a good thing that a team loses from a winning position with 10 minutes to go. It would have dented their confidence. These top managers look for bounce-back straight away, and usually, their players respond.
Brendan Rodgers hasn’t reached the heights with Leicester that he did last season. It was a slow start; injuries played their part. Really poor results and performances. They’re starting to get their players back now. Johnny Evans and Caglar Soyuncu are playing centre-half; Jamie Vardy has got seven goals this season; we look at them, and you know, they’re a threat.
They drew before the international break. But they are a real threat with good players that can hit you at any moment. Brendan is a top coach; he’ll relish the chance to go up against Chelsea. An old club he’s worked at before – and one that he’s been heavily linked with in the past.
It will be a tough challenge for Chelsea, but I do think they’ll come back after that disappointing draw against Burnley. I do think there will be a response. In that respect, I’m going to go for a Chelsea 3-1 win.
- Chelsea to win 3-1 is available at 14/1 (15.00).
Manchester City vs Everton
Another big game, Manchester City vs Everton.
It’s turned for Rafa, hasn’t it? He stopped the rot just before the international break with a draw, but those three defeats before that has really put the pressure on them. I think it’s one win in 10 for Rafa after a fantastic start and calming everything down over at Goodison. Everyone sort of believed they were moving in the right direction with those good results.
Now, they’re looking at it in a different light. He needs something, but unfortunately, he’s coming up against Manchester City. He’s got the derby around the corner against Liverpool. Precarious times for Rafa. We’ve mentioned its sacking season. Rafa needs a result, and he needs a big one.
Is it a good thing he’s playing against Manchester City? Well, it might be. Have they got the quality to beat Manchester City? That remains to be seen. He’ll be hoping Calvert-Lewin is back after this international break because he was bringing in goals for the team.
For Manchester City, I always feel like they click around this time of the season. Pep starts the season slow with his team, and there are a couple of adverse results, which we’ve seen again. Then, all of a sudden, they click into gear.
They were phenomenal against Manchester United. I know it was only 2-0, but they could have scored five or six like Liverpool, but they’ll happily take three points at Old Trafford with the 2-0 win.
They’ve got so much quality and strength in depth – and they’re at home. Can I see anything other than a city win? I cant. I think the pressure is going to be heavy on Rafa once more. I know it’s easy to go with this weekend with Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool, but I can’t see these teams slipping up after the results before the international break.
- Manchester City to win is available at 1/8 (1.13).
Jason McAteer special
Chelsea, Liverpool and Man City all to win is available at 12/5 (3.40).
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*Odds subject to change. Odds correct at time of publishing.