It’s a rare occurrence that there’s no Premier League match on a Saturday lunchtime.
This is one such weekend (partly because of European action) so we have paired up the Friday night game with the Saturday evening match for our weekly televised double.
Brighton & Hove Albion vs WEST HAM UNITED
It has been a difficult start to the season for Brighton, who have won just once in seven league matches.
Chris Hughton’s side have had a tough run of fixtures, and the performances have been okay, but they are under a bit of pressure now. Home form was so key for Brighton last season, and it will be again this time around.
West Ham are flying high. It’s not often we’ve been able to say that in recent seasons. Two victories in their last three sandwiched a draw at home to Chelsea to pull Manuel Pellegrini’s side away from a dire start to the season.
The former Manchester City manager has struck a balance with his team that was lacking in the first few matches.
The front three has been the key for the Hammers. Marko Arnautovic was at his best against Manchester United weekend, while Felipe Anderson and Andriy Yarmolenko are showing their class.
Arnautovic is the focal point, and the Austrian, despite his accomplices playing well, is the man to stop. He’s 2/1 to score anytime.
Marko Arnautovic has either scored or assisted 11 of West Ham's last 15 league goals ⚽— 888sport (@888sport) September 16, 2018
Class act ?? pic.twitter.com/L9pMkhrYsU
Brighton’s are a hard side to beat at the Amex. Hughton’s team are resilient defensively and have attacking threat through the intelligent movement of Glenn Murray.
West Ham are one of the league’s form teams, though, and are worth backing to get a result.
TIP: West Ham to win or draw @ 13/25
PREDICTED SCORE: Brighton 1-1 West Ham (Priced at 5/1 with 888sport)
MANCHESTER UNITED vs NEWCASTLE UNITED
Jose Mourinho and Rafa Benitez meet at Old Trafford on Saturday evening, and both are in desperate need of a result.
Mourinho’s side have not won in four matches, while Newcastle remain in the bottom three after a poor performance and defeat at home to Leicester last weekend.
Manchester United’s form carried over into the Champions League. Another drab performance at home to Valencia was met with boos from the home crowd.
Former players are being increasingly vocal in the media. It’s a matter of when, not if, Mourinho loses his job. Failure to win here might be the final straw for the club hierarchy.
Benitez did well to guide Newcastle to safety last season. A difficult fixture list and indifferent summer window, though, have left the Magpies in trouble already.
The Spaniard is short of quality attacking options, which has seen Newcastle score just four goals in seven league matches. Even against a poor defence, the evens price on the visitors to fail to score is solid.
Newcastle, unlike Mourinho’s men, look like a team with a plan. Execution is more of an issue, and Benitez is bound by a distinct lack of quality.
Manchester United, however, are playing like a team without direction, much like a team who do not discuss how they will attack, like they are just sent out there and told to win.
It is dysfunctional, and the players are unhappy. The issues are not getting resolved. It’s hard to see how they get a positive result.
This match might just be a case of who is least bad on the day. Plenty will be made of the rivalry in the dugout, but this is really about two teams in a mess.
It is likely, similar to many of Mourinho and Benitez’s previous encounters, to be a turgid affair. There’s so much on the line, this will be tense, even if it’s not a thriller.
TIP: Under 2.5 goals @ 23/25
PREDICTED SCORE: Man United 1-1 Newcastle (Priced at 7/1 with 888sport)
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*