THERE was plenty of drama in matchweek three of the English Premier League.
Bournemouth claimed their first ever win in the top flight with a remarkable 4-3 result at West Ham United, thanks to the exploits of hat-trick hero Callum Wilson.
Chelsea survived another red card to scrape past West Bromwich Albion for their first win of the season, while Manchester City retained their lead atop the table with a 2-0 victory at Everton.
To top it off, Arsenal and Liverpool finished the week with a riveting 0-0 draw as Petr Cech and Simon Mignolet put in two of the finest goalkeeping displays you’ll see all year.
So what does round four have in store? Here are our featured games for the upcoming weekend of EPL action, complete with match odds and value bets from our top-ranked football betting sites.
Newcastle United vs. Arsenal
12:45pm local time on Saturday, August 29 at St. James’ Park
Newcastle – $6.20 at www.CrownBet.com
Draw – $4.25 at William Hill
Arsenal – $1.58 at CrownBet
Saturday’s lunchtime opener on Tyneside sees winless Newcastle looking to upset an Arsenal outfit which needs to get its arse into gear if it plans to challenge for honours come May.
The Magpies haven’t been quite as awful thus far as one might have expected, having picked up handy draws against Southampton and Manchester United either side of a 2-0 loss to Swansea City.
Arsenal, meanwhile, are left with one win from three outings after being held goalless in a fascinating end-to-end struggle with Liverpool on Monday night.
Centre-backs Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny both missed that fixture, and they are still in doubt for the trip to the North East.
Both Calum Chambers and Gabriel were a little nervy at times against the Reds, so the question is whether the two youngsters can keep their heads in the hostile climes of St. James’ Park if called upon once more.
Gooners fans will also have nightmares about a repeat of their trip to Newcastle in 2011, where the visitors led 4-0 at half time before the hosts snatched an improbable point with four unanswered goals in the second half.
Nevertheless, it would be foolish to write off Arsene Wenger’s men on the basis of a four-year-old hiccough, and they should do the job against a Toon side which will probably be fighting for survival come season’s end.
Our top picks:
– Arsenal to lead at half time ($2.25 at William Hill)
– Alexis Sanchez to score first goal ($6 at Sportsbet)
Chelsea vs. Crystal Palace
3:00pm local time on Saturday, August 29 at Stamford Bridge
Chelsea – $1.37 at CrownBet.com
Draw – $5 at Luxbet
Crystal Palace – $9 at WilliamHill.com
It’s fair to say Chelsea’s title defence is not quite going to plan.
While they did notch their first win of the season last weekend, the Blues made awful hard work of a West Brom side which shouldn’t be troubling the top half this season.
The 3-2 thriller featured a penalty miss from Albion’s James Morrison just six minutes in, as well as a red card for Chelsea captain John Terry early in the second half.
In more uplifting news for the giants of west London, new signing Pedro made an instant impact on debut by putting the visitors ahead with a deflected first-half strike.
This week Jose Mourinho’s men will look to secure their first home victory of the campaign, having been kept to a 2-2 draw by Swansea on the opening day.
But they face a similarly dangerous opponent this time around, in the form of a Crystal Palace outfit that has its sights set on a top 10 finish (at the very least).
Alan Pardew’s men have started well, with two wins punctuated by a 2-1 home defeat to Arsenal, and star signing Yohan Cabaye looks to be settling in very nicely at Selhurst Park.
But it’s Chelsea, and it’s Stamford Bridge, and it would be quite remarkable if the reigning champions failed to register a W again – no matter how well or how poorly they might perform.
Our top picks:
– Chelsea to win + both teams to score ($3.10 at CrownBet)
– Eden Hazard to score first goal ($6 at Sportsbet)
Liverpool vs. West Ham United
3:00pm local time on Saturday, August 29 at Anfield
Liverpool – $1.38 at CrownBet
Draw – $5 at www.Luxbet.com
West Ham – $9 at William Hill
Liverpool are sitting pretty in third place, but not without a hefty slice of good fortune.
Bournemouth and Arsenal were both robbed of clear-cut goals against the Reds, while Christian Benteke’s winner against the Cherries came courtesy of a very lenient linesman.
Still, the ledger reads two wins and a draw for Brendan Rodgers and his charges, and it might have been even better but for a succession of world-class saves from Gunners ‘keeper Petr Cech on Monday night.
The likes of Benteke and Philippe Coutinho are looking sharper every week, while new boys Nathaniel Clyne, Joe Gomez and Roberto Firmino have shown plenty of quality already.
The absence of Jordan Henderson’s aggression and leadership was felt at times during the draw at the Emirates, however, and the Liverpool captain – along with attacking midfielder Adam Lallana – remains in doubt for West Ham’s visit on Saturday.
The Hammers have come crashing back to earth after their shock 2-0 win at Arsenal in the opening round, suffering back-to-back home defeats against Leicester City (2-1) and newly promoted Bournemouth (4-3).
The Reds must remain wary, however, as Slaven Bilic’s men showed against the Gunners that they can be lethal on the break when given the opportunity.
But West Ham’s record at Anfield is utterly dismal – they haven’t won there since 1963 – and Liverpool should have more than enough quality to keep that phenomenal head-to-head record intact.
Our top picks:
– Liverpool to win 3-0 ($9.50 at Bet365)
– Philippe Coutinho to score first goal ($7 at Bet365)
More 2015-16 Premier League match odds
All dates according to local UK time
Saturday, August 29
Aston Villa – $1.83 at William Hill
Draw – $3.60 at CrownBet
Sunderland – $4.75 at Sportsbet
Bournemouth – $2.20 at William Hill
Draw – $3.60 at Sportsbet
Leicester – $3.40 at Sportsbet
Man City – $1.20 at CrownBet
Draw – $7 at Luxbet
Watford – $13 at Sportsbet
Stoke City – $1.95 at William Hill
Draw – $3.40 at Sportsbet
West Brom – $4.33 at Bet365
Tottenham – $2 at William Hill
Draw – $3.50 at Sportsbet
Everton – $4 at Bet365
Sunday, August 30
Southampton – $1.93 at CrownBet
Draw – $3.50 at Sportsbet
Norwich – $.20 at Bet365
Swansea – $3.40 at CrownBet
Draw – $3.30 at Sportsbet
Man United – $2.25 at William Hill
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