Leeds in Line for a City Thriller

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There are another four intriguing battles coming up on Saturday in the Premier League with the inconsistent Chelsea kicking things off.

Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa

Saturday’s Premier League offering sees four games spread out across the day – as is now the set-up – with an enticing battle between Marcelo Bielsa and one of his disciples, Pep Guardiola, amongst the highlights.

The early-kick off is a London derby between an unpredictable Chelsea outfit and a Crystal Palace side that has generally impressed in the early weeks of the new campaign.

Palace Can Sting Unpredictable Blues

The 12:30 Stamford Bridge meeting pits 5/12 favourites Chelsea up against Roy Hodgson’s dogged Eagles and it’s a clash in which the double chance on the visitors, on offer at 37/20, might be worth taking.

Palace won brilliantly at Old Trafford (3-1) after turning over Southampton at home in their opener before being unluckily beaten by Everton last weekend.

Hodgson’s side are ideally positioned to take advantage of the Blues’ clear defensive weaknesses on the break, highlighted perfectly by West Brom racing into a shock 3-0 lead against them last time out before Frank Lampard’s men responded in the second half.

Wilfried Zaha, Andros Townsend and Jordan Ayew can cause the home side plenty of problems and another eye-catching result for Palace could well be on the cards.

Are Toffees the Real Deal?

At 3pm, there’s another chance to see if Everton’s start to the season is a genuine reawakening of a sleeping giant under the astute leadership of Carlo Ancelotti.

The Toffees have another very winnable game on paper as they host Brighton and it would be no surprise to see them sitting pretty with a maximum 12 points from 12 on the board come 5pm.

In Dominic Calvert-Lewin they have arguably the in-form Premier League player, who has struck five league goals in his first three games and has two hat-tricks to his name already this term, including a treble in the EFL Cup win over West Ham on Wednesday.

An inevitable England call-up brightened his week further on Thursday and he has to be backed at 13/10 to score anytime on Saturday. Brighton will be no pushovers and should probably have got more than gutsy defeats against Chelsea and Manchester United so far, while they brushed Newcastle aside 3-0 at St James’ Park.

With the Seagulls netting in all three of their league games to date, expect them to register at Goodison Park too, where both teams to score in an Everton win seems a wise bet at 23/10.

Bielsa Showdown to Pep up City?

Leeds hosting Manchester City is probably the must-watch match of the day at 5:30pm. Guardiola will demand a response from his players after the 5-2 home humiliation against Leicester and they must start proving they are the genuine title contenders this season that everyone was suggesting barely a couple of weeks ago.

Pep Guardiola faces one of his mentors in Marcelo Bielsa
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola instructs his players during the UEFA Champions League, round of 16, second leg match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester.

Guardiola’s side were wretched at the back when shipping chances and goals to the Foxes and, while there’s not too many problems at the other end of the pitch, despite the fact Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus are out injured, they can clearly be got at defensively.

Leeds have looked good upon their long-awaited return to the top flight and showcased an ability to grind out a result last weekend at Sheffield United, when winning 1-0 late on, after thrilling 4-3s against Liverpool (lost) and Fulham (won) in their first two memorable games.

Pep regularly hails Bielsa’s coaching methods as an inspiration and it will be interesting to see how both managers set their teams and tactics up. Expect fireworks and plenty of goals with over 3.5 at Elland Road a good option at 10/11.

And After the Lord Mayor’s Show….

The 8pm kick-off between Newcastle and Burnley at St James’ Park rounds things off and this may be a more dour affair than the earlier games.

Newcastle have been decent on the road so far (beating West Ham and drawing with Tottenham) but their only home league encounter resulted in that 3-0 shocker against Brighton.

Burnley need new players, according to their somewhat disgruntled boss Sean Dyche, but they should have enough to at least hold the Magpies as they make a concerted effort of getting their first point on the board this term in what’s been a difficult start.

The draw, available at 43/20, therefore appeals.

*All odds correct at time of writing

A sports journalist for over 15 years, Aidan has been part of written and audio coverage on a wide-ranging number of events. Having played and coached at amateur level, he offers in-depth insight and opinion into the world of football in particular.

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