Familiarity is restored as English domestic action returns to our televisions this weekend, but with a questionable start to the season for some top teams, who will have benefited from the two-week international break the most? Let us look first look at the return to football action and who needs to regroup heading into matchday 5 of the 2020/2021 EPL season.
5th place, 9 points, three wins & 1 loss
Where better to start than discussing last season’s champions? Jurgen Klopp and his Liverpool squad were meeting expectations perfectly well, until a complete breakdown at Villa Park before the international break.
Three games played; three games won – all seemed dashingly fine for the scouse crowd up until they were matched with Aston Villa. A 7-2 hammering left pundits in shock and awe while the absence of key players Sadio Mane, Thiago Alcantara and Alisson Becker seemed an evident problem. The humiliation, however, should not have come with such a high scoring defeat, with or without a handful of key players, the defending EPL champions should not be conceding seven goals to any team.
Both Mane & Alcantara were spotted on the Liverpool training field this week, a huge sign the two Liverpool first team members will return to action and hopefully resume normality around Merseyside. It won’t be an easy task for Liverpool as they’ll face an ever-growing Everton side in a local derby clash, ‘The Toffee’s’ have an unblemished record through four EPL games and are first in the league – a win over Liverpool would be a huge statement. Still, I have no doubt Klopp and his men will be ready to put on a brave performance.
Bovada is one of the top sports betting shops, and they have their odds set in favour of Liverpool at 1.87.
Prediction: Liverpool 1 Everton 1
16th place, 3 points, one win & 2 loss
Liverpool was not the only top-four club to have a breakdown on matchday 4; Ole Gunnar Solskjaer lost complete composure when Tottenham put six past the Manchester side. A promising start for United put them in the lead, but a 28th-minute red card for Marcus Rashford seemed to be the downfall.
And Unlike Liverpool, United have not had a promising start to the season. Currently sat near the relegation zone in 16th position, Solskjaer will welcome the international break as he attempts to restore their past season form.
United return to action this week away from home against Newcastle, their last visit to St. James Park resulted in a loss and ‘The Magpies’ are looking as polished as ever. Until United show us a promising performance, it’s hard to ignore the great odds available on Newcastle.
Bovada is one of the top sports betting shops, and they have their odds set in favour of Liverpool at 1.68. Newcastle in the ‘draw no bet’ market hold significant value at 2.80.
Prediction: Newcastle 2 Manchester United 1
14th place, 4 points, one win, one draw & 1 loss
A joyous victory over Wolverhampton put City on the right track in their opening EPL fixture, but this plan of action was soon derailed by ‘The Foxes’ in Leicester.
Like their top four counterparts (Liverpool & Manchester United), City has also received an unfamiliar defeat with a high scoring goal line. Leicester handed City a humbling 5-2 loss, which seemed to dent their confidence with a follow-up result against Leeds United ending in a draw.
I understand that Pep Guardiola held Marcelo Bielsa in high regard. Still, his respect resulted in fear, and a drawn result against a team just promoted from the Championship in Leeds United. City will need to shake this off heading into their return fixture against Arsenal, Mikel Arteta will not hold prisoners against his Premier League rival.
Bovada is one of the top sports betting shops, and they have their odds set in favour of Liverpool at 1.45. The betting value lies in the drawn fixture market, at 5.25 4/1 It’s crazy not to think Arsenal could not hold a wobbly City to a draw.
Prediction: Manchester City 2 Arsenal 2