Michael Owen, England football legend, gives his Premier League forecasts to take down the £10 MILLION COLOSSUS - the world’s biggest football jackpot...
The boys at Colossus Bets have set us a real poser this week by including seven devilishly difficult-to-call Premier League matches.
But these tricky games could maybe work in our favour by giving us an opportunity to narrow down our perms to mainly include draws and one-goal winning margins, and ignoring the tempting “Any Other” options for once.
Well, that’s my theory anyway, and I am putting it into practice!
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First up is Crystal Palace v West Ham, and I have gone for a 1-0 home win as my main fancy, with 0-0 and 1-1 score lines as back-ups.
Palace deserved to get something out of their 2-1 loss at Arsenal on Saturday, when an injury-time goal denied them a point. But at least that showed their morale is intact after losing their manager days before the start of the season.
They won both of their matches against West Ham 1-0 last season, and the pressure will be mounting on Big Sam after his side conceded a late goal of their own at home to Tottenham on Saturday, made worse by the fact that they played against 10 men for a fair chunk of the match.
Sam would probably settle for a 0-0 right now, and he may set up that way, whether the Board want attacking football or not. Points are more important just now.
Swansea caused the first shock of the new season by winning 2-1 at Man United, and they are one side this weekend who I fancy to win by two clear goals.
Burnley got an eye-opening introduction to the Premier League when beaten 3-1 at home by Chelsea on Monday night, and they could be in for another painful examination here.
I go 2-0, with 1-0 and 2-1 as my other options.
Everton beat Arsenal 3-0 in this fixture last season and are very hard to beat at home, but the news that Ross Barkley is probably out for several months due to an injury picked up in training before their opening 2-2 draw at Leicester is a hammer blow to their Champions League hopes.
Now, Everton are no one-man band but I can’t think of many other players that are more pivotal to their team’s chances of consistent success than rising star Barkley. Maybe Sturridge’s importance to Liverpool now that Suarez gone, and Rooney to Man Utd.
But Martinez still has plenty of talent at his disposal and I see this game against Arsenal as very difficult to call. So I am hedging my bets and going 1-1, with 2-1 and 1-2, as well. Sometimes it pays to have no firm opinion on a game, and stake and perm accordingly.
Hull’s weakness last season was their away form so Steve Bruce must have been delighted by their 1-0 win at QPR.
Conversely Stoke, who only lost three times at the Britannia last season, opened up with a 1-0 loss at home to Villa last week.
These two sides were involved in a 0-0 draw here last season, with Stoke winning the reverse fixture 1-0, so it could be another low scoring encounter. But I take Hull to win 2-1, with 1-1 as my other selection.
Tottenham did well to win 1-0 at West Ham considering they had a man sent off in the first half – though the numbers were evened up in the second – and they will fancy building on that win against QPR.
I take 2-1 to Tottenham here, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it was a touch more comfortable, so I will add in 2-0.
What to make of Man Utd? Certainly, a home loss to Swansea was not the dream start Louis Van Gaal was hoping for and it is worrying that the new manager was talking about them not playing as a team after that defeat.
And they clearly need more signings in the transfer window if they are to mount a serious title challenge.
Kneejerk reactions after the first match of the season are rarely wise, though – we saw that with Arsenal last season after their home defeat by Villa – and I take United to bounce back with a 2-1 win, the scoreline in this fixture last season.
Sunderland did beat United twice last season too, though, including 1-0 at Old Trafford, so they are clearly going to be no pushovers, and they did well to draw 2-2 at West Brom on Saturday. So I am again including a 1-1 draw.
Talking of 1-1 draws, that is exactly what I am banking on in the final leg of the Colossus. And what a final leg it is as Man City host Liverpool.
Neither side were that convincing in their opening victories last Sunday, and there wasn’t much between the teams last season in all respects, with City winning this fixture 2-1 and losing 3-2 at Anfield.
City won 17 of their 19 home games last season in the Premier League, but I think Liverpool could nick a point.
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Posted on 20 August 2014, 10:55 GMT