United take on Liverpool with both teams having started the season identically – two wins, followed by a draw, and then a defeat before the international break. Both teams have frailties that were not entirely solved over the transfer window: Liverpool have lost Sterling and Suarez in recent seasons and have not managed to replace them with players of a similar quality, despite the large fees they received for both players; and United’s inadequacies in defence last season were covered up by the superb performances of David De Gea in goal. De Gea may well return in goal, but I still fancy both teams, with their top heavy squads in terms of having a greater range of attackers to choose from than defenders, to hit the net here – grab both teams to score at odds of 2.00 with Betfair.
Also in the Premier League, Spurs travel to a Sunderland side that have become early favourites for relegation after scraping together just 2 points from their opening 4 matches; Tottenham haven’t fared much better – they are yet to record a win, but at the same time, have only tasted defeat just once. With Harry Kane returning to form over the international break, Spurs will fancy their chances of picking up a win at lowly Sunderland, which you can get at best odds of 1.95 with SportingBet.
Over in La Liga, the last two title winners face-off as Atletico Madrid face Barcelona. Both teams have won their opening two matches, but the manner of Atletico’s 3-0 victory away to Sevilla really impressed me – they have a team capable of scoring goals with the likes of Martinez, Koke and Griezmann all capable of hitting the net on a regular basis. The attacking trio of Barcelona need no introduction, with Messi, Suarez and Neymar hitting an incredible 122 goals last season, making them the highest scoring front three in Spanish football history. It follows, then, that there are likely to be goals in this game and I’m backing Over 2.5 match goals at incredible odds of 28/13 with MarathonBet.
Bayern Munich, for whom it is now a question of when, rather than if, they will recapture their Bundesliga title, face Augsburg at home on Saturday afternoon. Bayern have led at half time in each of their last three home Bundesliga matches, and are looking irrepressible with the likes of Douglas Costa and Arturo Vidal fitting seamlessly into their team already abundant with attacking talent. With that in mind, I’m backing Bayern to lead at half time against Augsburg, at generous odds of 1.50 with Stan James.
Finally, over in the Scottish League One, Dunfermline, favourites for the title, take on Ayr United – Dunfermline have won both their home matches at a canter this season, hitting 10 goals and conceding just twice, whilst Ayr have only managed one away victory, away to Albion Rovers. Scoring an average of more than 4 goals per game, Dunfermline have justified their tag as pre-season favourites, and I expect them to sweep away Ayr United in similar fashion – back Dunfermline to win at best odds of 8/15 with William Hill.
Put Rory's five selections in an acca and it pays 17.65!