Harry Kane will look to carry his goal-scoring form with the England team into league play. Photo Credit: Tim Groothuis, USA TODAY

Thanksgiving has come and gone, but there is still time for me to note the thing I am most thankful for right now, which is that there are no more international breaks until March 2019. With the United States Men’s National Team in a perpetually sorry state, the return of club football couldn’t come fast enough. Plus, the annually exciting packed festive period is right around the corner. Sure, playing three matches in eight days might be tough on the players, but it’s a feast for the eyes and potentially for your wallet.

When last we were together, I was on my way to a dreadful weekend of picks. After Leicester City and Chelsea both not only failed to win but also failed to score, it was left to Manchester City to bring me back to (just about) even for the weekend. Thankfully, my faith in Pep Guardiola’s men was rewarded, the win clinched with one of the greatest team goals you will ever see:

The City win (which included a United goal) pulled enough capital back onto the happy side of the ledger that we can now allocate some of that recovered capital and try to make this a profitable weekend. Here are your Week 13 winners.


This is certainly the most anticipated match of the weekend. Chelsea leads Spurs by a point in the table, with both clubs feverishly (fecklessly?) chasing Liverpool and the league leaders, Manchester City. It’s a London derby, which always adds a little something extra to the atmosphere — even at the cavernous Wembley Stadium.

Form is not an issue for either club. Tottenham has won four of their last five, the only loss coming to City on a pitch that probably cheapened the inherent value of the result. Their two early losses to Watford and to Liverpool are for the most part forgotten now. Chelsea is unbeaten through 12 matches; it’s the four draws they’ve mixed in that have them chasing the leaders.

Chelsea has been fairly prolific with goal-scoring this season, but they haven’t played a quality side away from Stamford Bridge yet (five matches, none against any club better than 13th in the table) and they’ve benefitted from playing seven of their first 12 league matches at home. This will be Chelsea’s first test in the league away from home this season; as such, I expect Chelsea to play a defensive game and try to keep Spurs from creating their preferred open-field attacks.

Spurs has an in-form Harry Kane, but I don’t particularly trust Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris to keep a clean sheet. The more I looked at this match, the more I realized that the only thing I was sure about is that neither of these teams can be counted on to shut the other out. This isn’t a high-profit play, but it feels really safe: Take both teams to score at 8/15. If I had to take a side, I’d take Spurs, but the strong possibility that Chelsea plays for a draw makes getting greedy here inadvisable.


It’s a mini-reunion of sorts for City at London Stadium this weekend. City face their old boss, Manuel Pellegrini, and former club stalwart Pablo Zabaleta. Pellegrini is also in the midst of trying to undertake a reclamation project in former City bust Samir Nasri, who will be eligible to join the Hammers in 2019 after serving an 18-month doping ban. As crooked as international soccer is, you know you messed up if they kick you out for a year and a half.

Pellegrini surely wishes he had Nasri available for this one, because City has been a wrecking crew of late and it’s all hands on deck for West Ham. It’s not panic stations, though. West Ham is unbeaten in their last three league matches. Moreover, in their two home fixtures against top-five clubs (Chelsea and Tottenham), they defended doggedly, holding Chelsea to a scoreless draw and losing a 0-1 result to Spurs that could as easily have been a draw. The question for West Ham in this match is how are they going to score when they rarely have the ball.

City’s possession stats in their last four league matches look like this: 65%, 68%, 52% (at Tottenham), 70%. Simply put, City don’t let lesser sides have enough of the ball to allow many quality chances against Ederson. Because of West Ham’s ability to keep superior sides from running them over at home, and because some rust after the international break is to be expected, this is another match where the pick needs to be conservative.

City is such a huge favorite to win (1/4) that including them in the wager makes little sense. This pick needs to reflect City’s relatively unspectacular road league form thus far; City has only scored more than twice on the road in league play once this season. Take under 3.5 goals at 8/11. 


It’s been a heady run for Bournemouth in the league thus far, but after briefly flirting with making a run at the top 4, the wheels are starting to come off for the Cherries. A home loss to moribund Manchester United followed by an unsightly road loss to a Newcastle United side that is one point above the relegation places have Bournemouth thinking less about European football and more about survival.

Contrast that with Arsenal, which is quietly putting together a calmer, more professional and more reliable product on a weekly basis. Manager Unai Emery’s recent quote was candid but surely accurate: “The Arsenal was in decline. We had to stop it and start climbing.”

The climb is well underway. Arsenal is unbeaten in 10 league matches after beginning the season with losses to Manchester City and Chelsea. Past Arsenal iterations would have struggled to bounce back from an 0-2 start. Emery’s side has flourished since the early struggles, and this match presents Arsenal with a chance to push Bournemouth even further down the table behind them. Take Arsenal to win at 21/20.


Leicester to win at 1/2: LOSS

Chelsea to win AND over 2.5 goals at 19/20: LOSS

Manchester City to win AND both teams to score at 17/10: WIN