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Dublin: 4°C Wednesday 3 March 2021
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Goals at Old Trafford, Eden Hazard to shine and other Premier League weekend bets to consider

Elsewhere, we’re looking at Alvaro Negredo to keep impressing for Middlesbrough.

2-2 draw in Saturday’s Manchester derby (13/1)

IT’S PROBABLY FOOLISH to try and predict anything about tomorrow’s clash at Old Trafford.

The managers involved know everything about each other and the teams almost fade into the background somewhat.

At full-time, the narrative will be about either Pep Guardiola or Jose Mourinho and how they conjured a masterplan.

Unless, the shares are spoiled.

And that’s where the best value is, it seems.

United have only conceded one goal in three games while City have scored nine. And despite the league leaders missing Sergio Aguero, you get the impression that the likes of Kevin de Bruyne, the in-form Raheem Sterling and the consistently-troublesome David Silva can unlock a United defence that still looks a little unfinished.

Meanwhile, United’s aerial advantage has been talked about in advance and they will pose a different kind of threat.

With the big build-up and with it still being early in the season, there could be some goals at Old Trafford.

Middlesbrough’s Alvaro Negredo to be first goalscorer against Crystal Palace(5/1)

There’s a science to this. Aitor Karanka’s side have come out of traps fast in two of their three league games so far.

West Bromwich Albion v Middlesbrough - Premier League - The Hawthorns Source: PA WIRE

They scored after 11 minutes of their opener against Stoke and after 13 minutes away to Sunderland.

Things were a bit different in a dull affair against West Brom but back at the Riverside and after a nice break for their players, you can expect Boro to be sharper and look to cause problems early.

Negredo has been involved in all three of his side’s goals this term and there’s decent value in tipping him as the game’s first goalscorer.

Arsenal to beat Southampton 2-1 at the Emirates (7/1)

A new manager is taking time to properly implement his approach and there’s a frustration at St. Mary’s.

Still, Claude Puel’s side have shown some battling qualities in their three games so far, coming back to draw two of them.

Southampton v Espanyol - Pre-Season Friendly - St Mary's Stadium Source: PA ARCHIVE IMAGES

It’s hardly something to shout about but in the context of some bets, it makes things interesting.

The Saints’ preparations probably won’t have been ideal given so many of their squad were on international assignments but Arsenal’s main threat – Alexis Sanchez – was a late arrival back to London after appearing for Chile and he may be kept in reserve.

So, Arsenal may have just enough but Southampton are likely to make it hard.

Eden Hazard as first goalscorer for Chelsea v Swansea (6/1)

After a dismal 2015/2016 campaign, the Belgian has hit the ground running under Antonio Conte and already has two goals from Chelsea’s first three league games.

Britain Soccer Premier League Source: Frank Augstein

Both goals were the first ones in the respective fixtures too so this could be a decent bet to lay, especially given the Swans have struggled under new manager Francesco Guidolin, losing their last two league games after beating Burnley in their opener.

It’s also better value than Diego Costa at 4/1.

And the longshot…Leicester to come from behind at win at Anfield (20/1)

Right. The main stand at Anfield opens tomorrow. 8500 extra seats. Imagine the atmosphere. But…there continues to be some concerns about Liverpool, especially given the result against Tottenham.

Leicester City v Swansea City - Premier League - King Power Stadium Source: Nigel French

Jurgen Klopp is finding his way and with such an infectious personality on the touchline, the criticism looks a little over the top. But it continues nevertheless.

And so to this fixture.

There are so many elements playing in Liverpool’s favour (throw in Leicester’s European adventure beginning next week) but the likes of Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez can surely find space and exploit it. They’ll be buoyed by the four points they’ve managed from the last two games and they’ll bite your hand off for a point.

But maybe, just maybe, they can get something more.

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About the author:

Eoin O'Callaghan

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