ENGLISH Premier League 2016-17 is back this weekend after yet another unwanted interruption courtesy of FIFA’s fixture makers.
Week seven saw things tighten up at the top as Tottenham Hotspur narrowed Manchester City’s lead to a single point.
Should the Citizens stumble again this week, any of Spurs, Arsenal and Liverpool could finish the round at the summit.
At the foot of the table, the winless pair of Stoke City and Sunderland will lock horns in an inglorious tussle for early wooden spoon favouritism.
But the biggest clash of the round won’t happen until Monday night, when a strange bit of scheduling will see Manchester United travel to Anfield for a crucial North West derby.
Here are the best bets and soccer specials for EPL round eight, with top-price odds from our most trusted online bookmakers.
Premier League match betting
Markets provided by Sportsbet.com.au
Saturday, October 15
Chelsea $1.61 – Draw $4 – Leicester $5.50
Arsenal $1.25 – Draw $6 – Swansea $12
Bournemouth $1.83 – Draw $3.50 – Hull $4.50
Man City $1.45 – Draw $4.50 – Everton $7
Stoke $2.05 – Draw $3.40 – Sunderland $3.75
West Brom $4.80 – Draw $3.75 – Tottenham $1.75
Crystal Palace $2.15 – Draw $3.30 – West Ham $3.50
Sunday, October 16
Middlesbrough $2.25 – Draw $3.25 – Watford $3.40
Southampton $1.36 – Draw $4.60 – Burnley $10
Monday, October 17
Liverpool $2.05 – Draw $3.40 – Man United $3.75
Chelsea vs. Leicester City
12:30pm local (10:30pm AEDT) on Saturday, October 15, 2016 at Stamford Bridge
- Chelsea -1.0 handicap – $2.60 at Sportsbet
- Eden Hazard first goalscorer – $7
Chelsea stopped a three-game rot last time out with a serviceable, if unspectacular, 2-0 win over Hull City. Their defensive setup remains a big concern, with Branislav Ivanovic drawing particular criticism, but things could improve this weekend with the likely return of 35-year-old captain John Terry after a month out with an ankle problem. Like the Blues last season, Leicester are experiencing a rather bumpy title defence. Their slow back line has suffered since the departure of N’Golo Kante, who will line up for the opposition this week, while Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy have been nowhere near as potent in attack as they were last term. One suspects the likes of Eden Hazard and EPL top-scorer Diego Costa will fancy their chances against a Foxes side that has leaked goals against decent opposition.
Manchester City vs. Everton
3pm local on Saturday, October 15, 2016 (1am AEDT Sunday) at Etihad Stadium
- Man City win/both teams to score – $2.70 at William Hill
- Sergio Aguero first goalscorer – $4
Week seven saw Pep Guardiola suffer his first Premier League defeat as Man City went down 2-0 at Tottenham. Belgian gun Kevin de Bruyne could return after a few weeks out through injury, while both Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling are also tipped be fit, but French right-back Bacary Sagna will miss with a hamstring problem sustained during the international break. The task this week is an Everton side guided by Pep’s old Barcelona chum, Ronald Koeman, whose charges have faltered in the last two rounds after a strong start to the season. The Toffees are still sitting pretty in fifth, two points outside the top four, and they could have Leighton Baines, Romelu Lukaku and James McCarthy back this week, but they are untried against anything resembling a top team and could be without the calming influence of veteran centre-half Phil Jagielka (thigh).
Stoke City vs. Sunderland
3pm local on Saturday, October 15, 2016 (1am AEDT Sunday) at Bet365 Stadium
- 1-1 correct score – $7 at Bet365
- Marko Arnautovic first goalscorer – $7.50
It’s a relegation fight come early at the Potteries this weekend. Stoke, for all the obvious talent at their disposal, have registered a mere five goals in seven EPL games. Worse still, they have conceded 16. With that kind of record, it’s little wonder Man United fans were so upset with a 1-1 result against the Potters last time out. But Stoke boss Mark Hughes is not the only runner in the Premier League sack race, as David Moyes and Sunderland aren’t going any better. Despite some gutsy displays against the likes of Man City and Spurs, the Black Cats are rock bottom with only two points to their name. Yes, they have some injury troubles, but the biggest problem for the Tynesiders is that Jermain Defoe has scored four of their six goals this season. If he is shut down, or if he doesn’t play, there is no Plan B.
Liverpool vs. Manchester United
8pm local on Monday, October 17, 2016 (6am AEDT Tuesday) at Anfield
- Half-time draw/full-time Liverpool – $5.50 at William Hill
- Philippe Coutinho first goalscorer – $7.50 at Sportsbet
Liverpool are sweating on the fitness of midfield stars Adam Lallana (groin) and Georginio Wijnaldum (hamstring), both of whom have shown superb touch in the early stages of EPL 2016-17. That means Emre Can could make his first league start of the season, while both Dejan Lovren and Nathaniel Clyne should be available to boost the back line. There may also be a rare opportunity for Jurgen Klopp to start all four of Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Daniel Sturridge. While it may not quite be crisis time at Old Trafford, the natives are decidedly restless after a tame draw with struggling Stoke left United with one win from four league outings. The Wayne Rooney issue isn’t helping, and it will be interesting to see whether Jose Mourinho calls upon the man who bagged the winner at Anfield last season. As if there wasn’t pressure enough already, the Red Devils are looking to maintain a hot streak of seven wins from nine Premier League clashes with their North West rivals.
Back either Liverpool or Man United to win at WilliamHill.com and get up to $25 cash back if your team loses after leading at 80 minutes
Sportsbet EPL multi special
Punters at Sportsbet.com.au can score a money-back bonus on Premier League multi bets throughout the 2016-17 campaign.
If you pick a soccer multi of four or more wind-draw-win legs and it misses by one, the bookie will refund your stake with up to $50 in bonus bets.
For example, let’s we roll this week’s EPL feature matches into a four-legger paying $16.27 to the dollar:
- Chelsea to win ($1.61)
- Man City to win ($1.45)
- Stoke-Sunderland draw ($3.40)
- Liverpool to win ($2.05)
If we stake $20 on that and three out of four legs win, we’ll get our $20 bet back in bonus cash.
Tap this link to sign in at Sportsbet and check out the range of soccer betting specials and other promotions on offer this week.