Another international break has ended, and not a second too soon if you support the United States Men’s National Team (or bet on them at PA online sportsbooks). In two friendlies, the Yanks managed to lose — AT HOME — 3-0 to archrival Mexico, and score exactly one goal in 180 minutes plus stoppage time over two home friendlies. And what a beauty it was:
It took a horribly blown clearance from the Uruguay side that was playing over 5,000 miles from home on a converted baseball field in St. Louis to put the Americans in position to score, and even then, it had to fall to Morris on the goal line to give him a reasonable chance to put it away. Every time we think the USMNT has hit bottom, we find out that the real depths are still far below.
Speaking of depths, it was two losses and a no bet last time out for us here. There is no better time than now to get back to winning ways. Here are your value plays for Week 5 in the Premier League this weekend. All odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook PA.
WATFORD (+250) v. ARSENAL (+100) — DRAW (+260)
OFFICIAL: Watford have confirmed they have parted company with manager Javi Gracia. pic.twitter.com/ATkpVtJy0w
— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) September 7, 2019
Watford clipped Javi Gracia four matches into the Premier League season. Granted, Watford lost three in a row to begin the season, and the blanking by Brighton and Hove Albion in the season opener at Vicarage Road set a fairly awful tone. But Watford was solidly mid-table last season, and the club thought enough of Gracia to give him a four-and-a-half-year contract just 10 months ago.
So this is a panic move. There is no other way to put it. Watford’s new manager, Quique Sanchez Flores, returns to Watford after having been sacked by them just three years ago. That’s not a great look either way.
Conversely, Arsenal manager Unai Emery can feel good about his club’s early performance this season. Two opening victories were followed by an acceptable loss to league juggernaut Liverpool at Anfield and a courageous draw at the Emirates against Tottenham Hotspur after going down 2-0 through 40 minutes. Keep it simple: You get the vastly superior side at even money. Arsenal is a very good value to win at +100.
MANCHESTER UNITED (+100) v. LEICESTER CITY (+240) — DRAW (+280)
BREAKING: Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial and Luke Shaw have been ruled out of Manchester United's clash with Leicester this weekend with injury.
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) September 13, 2019
Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has watched the promise of United 4-0 Chelsea from the season’s opening weekend burst into flames with road draws at Wolverhampton Wanderers and Southampton sandwiching an unsightly home loss to Crystal Palace. Now, Solskjaer has to welcome an unbeaten Leicester City side which is coming off consecutive wins and remains unbeaten in the league through four matches this season. The Foxes are presently third in the league table.
Granted, a win here would draw United level on points with Leicester. Such are the vagaries of the early season table. With all of those injuries, though, and a Europa League trip to Kazakhstan(!) coming mid-week, it’s almost certainly too big an ask for United to win this match without Pogba and Martial. The loss of Shaw might be addition by subtraction, but it won’t add enough.
It’s very tempting to take Leicester outright, but the Foxes have a fairly terrible history against United in recent years. Leicester’s last win against United in the Premier League came nearly five years ago and it happened at the King Power. In Leicester’s five trips to the Theatre of Dreams since rejoining the Premier League, they’ve lost four times and drawn once. The double chance on Leicester is a smart, fairly safe value proposition at -135.
LIVERPOOL (-750) v. NEWCASTLE (+1700) — DRAW (+750)
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (-280) v. CRYSTAL PALACE (+750) — DRAW (+450)
NORWICH CITY (+1700) v. MANCHESTER CITY (-900) — DRAW (+800)
"The unfortunate thing for Wilf is that offer did not come his way from the sort of club that he would want."
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) September 13, 2019
“Wait a minute,” I hear you saying. “Didn’t you suggest this bet three weeks ago and lose with it?” You bet I did, and we’re running it back.
Liverpool is not dropping points at Anfield against Newcastle. If you think they will, please, put a unit on Newcastle to draw and another on Newcastle to win, and spend the big winnings wisely if either ticket hits. Manchester City might be a bigger cinch, as Norwich will be without as many as 11 first-team players for their match with the two-time defending league champions this weekend. The Norwich reserves are in for it.
So, once again into the breach, trusting Spurs not to blow up a -142 parlay by dropping points at home to a Crystal Palace side that continues to deal with the fallout from Wilfried Zaha’s petulance over not leaving the club this summer. Perhaps more to the point, Spurs has won eight straight league matches against the Eagles. If the fear of Spurs again deflating this parlay by giving points away to a lesser side at home can dissuade you from this parlay, maybe consider doing something else in your spare time.
Good luck this weekend.