Man City will expect more than a point this week against Norwich.
Crystal Palace v Man Utd
Palace are suffering their first dip in form under Alan Pardew as while Leicester and West Ham might both be in the top five Palace will have expected to do better than back-to-back defeats. More worryingly they’ve scored just four times in their last six games, with the last nine all being level at half-time. United showed a lack of ambition against their injury weakened city neighbours last week and remain a tough team to assess following another 0-0 in midweek. They are certainly still unconvincing and all three results look plausible – United have a W9-D8-L7 record on the road since the start of last season – which makes Palace look value at 3/1. Alternatively backing exactly 2-3 goals looks to have a great chance having landed in 13 of United’s last 19 away games and in 10 of Palace’s last 15 at home.
Man City v Norwich
Without David Silva and Sergio Aguero City seemed quite happy with a point from last week’s derby but against struggling Norwich they will expect much more. They’ve won 11 of their last 12 home matches with 10 victories by more than one goal. Since 2013/14 10 of their 15 home games against bottom-six teams have had at least four goals with six wins by at least three clear goals. Norwich have lost their last three matches but they have scored in eight of 10 matches this season and with City having one eye on a key Champions League trip to Sevilla next week they’ll hope to take advantage of any mistakes.
Newcastle v Stoke
Steve McClaren is the favourite to be the next manager out of a job after another derby defeat last weekend. However, they did win impressively in their last home game and Stoke’s mini-revival after their own tough start to the season was firmly derailed by a home defeat against Watford. Newcastle have scored in all but three of their last 23 home games, with Man Utd and Arsenal two of the teams to stop them, and since 2013/14 they’ve won half their 20 home games against teams placed 10th-14th with just five defeats. Stoke have conceded first in 14 of their last 21 away matches but they have lost only half the last 10 such games where this has happened and with Newcastle’s fragile confidence the Newcastle/Draw HT/FT double has some appeal at 16/1.
Swansea v Arsenal
Swansea did the double over Arsenal last season and have already beaten Man Utd here this season so 17/4 looks a big price on the home win. However, Arsenal’s form is currently excellent and they’ve scored 13 goals in their last four league games as well as brushing aside the might of Bayern Munich. However, they face a crucial return trip to Germany next week and Swansea will look to exploit any loss of focus. The Swans have had at least three goals in 11 of 14 home matches against top-six teams since 2013/14 while 10 of the Gunner’s last 11 trips to middle-third teams have also landed the ‘overs’, with both teams scoring in eight.
Watford v West Ham
Both these teams are enjoying excellent seasons so confidence should be high. Watford have lost only three matches – two of which were against the current top two – but they have scored only one home goal so far. Four of their five matches at Vicarage Road have had fewer than two goals as aside from Arsenal scoring three times Crystal Palace are the only side to net here and all five matches have been goalless at half-time. However, with West Ham’s away record this season, and now that Andy Carroll and Enner Valencia are returning to fitness to add options to an attack that has scored at least twice in eight consecutive matches, they surely deserve to be favourites. Since 2010/11 top-half teams have won 42% of 121 trips to bottom-half promoted sides and with all three of Watford’s defeats coming to nil that looks a decent long shot at 22/5.
West Brom v Leicester
West Brom may be the lowest scorers in the top flight but they know their strengths and weaknesses and Tony Pulis has led them to four 1-0 wins in the last seven games. Leicester have lost only one of their last 14 matches (and that was against Arsenal) but nevertheless covering the 1-0 home win at 9/1 looks a simple decision. The Baggies have conceded three times against each of Man City, Chelsea and Everton this season but those are the best teams they’ve faced and in their other seven games they’ve kept six clean sheets with a total of just six goals from either side. That is in stark contrast to the open nature of Leicester’s matches but after a tough League Cup game in midweek they may struggle to mount their now customary second-half fight-back.