Pivotal Day of Premier League Action

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A look ahead to a busy day of action from the Premier League.

Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool head to Brentford.

It looks like being a pivotal day in the Premier League with all of the big four in action and title challengers Chelsea hosting champions Chelsea in the highest-profile clash of the season so far. Manchester United welcome Aston Villa to Old Trafford and Liverpool are away to surprise package Brentford.

Reds to be made to work hard for win

Liverpool’s four wins and a draw from their five matches shows they are behind last season’s wobbles which is understandable given so many of their key men are now back from injury.

Their only dropped points came in a 1-1 draw with ten-men Chelsea and the Kai Havertz goal conceded in that contest is the only one against Alisson in the Premier League.

Liverpool, with clean sheets against Crystal Palace, Leeds, Burnley and Norwich, are defending better with Virgil van Dijk back in the side which points to a Reds win in a match featuring under 3.5 goals at 5/4.

All four of Liverpool’s league wins so far have been achieved without going over three goals and the likes of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane will have to work hard for opportunities against such a well-drilled Brentford outfit.

This is Brentford’s first season in the Premier League, but they have made the step up with the minimum of fuss, beating Arsenal and Wolves, drawing with Aston Villa and Crystal Palace, while the 1-0 loss to Brighton was unlucky.

Two goals conceded in five matches is a fantastic defensive start and they can at least stay competitive against the visiting Merseysiders. 

Go for goals at Watford

Newcastle manager Steve Bruce may not always have been known for his attack-minded approach to matches but that has certainly changed in recent months and the new-found tactics point to a punt on both teams to score at Watford at odds of 20/23.

There were 16 shots on target in Newcastle’s last Premier League match – a 1-1 draw at Leeds which really should have been more like 3-3 – and the Magpies have managed to find the net in 12 of their last 13 outings in the top flight.

However, Newcastle have kept just four clean sheets in 28 Premier League games in 2021 and an injury to Jamaal Lascelles is not going to help improve the record.

Hammers can hit Leeds where it hurts

Diego Llorente, Robin Koch and Pascal Struijk are definitely out for Leeds, leaving them missing three centre-backs, while Raphinha, Luke Ayling, Jack Harrison and Patrick Bamford are among those rated doubtful for the visit of West Ham.

Leeds don’t have the biggest of squads anyway and West Ham, buzzing from beating Manchester United in the League Cup on Wednesday, look overpriced at 13/10 to make it a miserable afternoon for Marcelo Bielsa at Elland Road.

Bridge battle will be close

There is unlikely to be much between Chelsea and Manchester City at Stamford Bridge and the draw looks the best value at 11/5.

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has won all three meetings with Pep Guardiola since he arrived at the Blues but every match was close, with little to separate them.

Both teams have conceded only once this season in the Premier League and the lunchtime start could be a slow burner.

*All odds correct at time of writing.

Mark is the Racing Post’s football betting expert and he is also a regular pundit on talkSPORT and the Guardian’s Football Weekly.

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