Week five of the Premier League gets underway when Aston Villa travel to Norfolk for the Saturday lunch time game. The hosts, Norwich, spent well over the summer period most notably signing Ricky Van Wolfswinkel for a club record fee. But it's his opposite number that I am interested in from a goalscoring perspective.
Christian Benteke has been an absolute beast of a player for Villa this calender year. He has scored 18 Premier League goals in 2013, even more than Robin Van Persie and I like the odds of 2.75 with Tote Sport on the Villa front man to score anytime. Benteke found the net on 2 out of the 3 occasions he faced Norwich last season and he has started the season in great form.
Overall, I wouldn't like to call a winner in the game as any result seems plausible - instead, backing Benteke to score anytime looks the value call.
Liverpool host Southampton and the Anfield club are chalked up at a top price of 1.62 with BetVictor, although their price has been on the drift. Southampton were left frustrated by West Ham at St. Marys last weekend but, nevertheless, I expect the Saints to be picking up results sooner rather than later. But from a punting point of view this game is best left alone.
Elsewhere, on Saturday afternoon, West Ham host Everton, Hull travel to Newcastle, Sunderland make the trip to the Midlands to face West Brom and Chelsea host Fulham in the West London derby. A fairly uninspring bunch of fixtures with perhaps the exception of West Ham v Everton.
I was surprised to see The Hammers available at 3.40 with BetVictor to see off the Everton at Upton Park. The bookies could be reacting to Evertons fine over Chelsea (who lost again midweek in a shock home defeat to Basle) last weekend but I believe West Ham will be tough opposition for Everton. It's never a comfortable time for any side at Upton Park and, just to play it safe, the odds of 2.38 with BetVictor for West Ham to win draw no bet looks the call here.
Thankfully, on Sunday we have a pleathora of top quality action to sink our teeth into. And let's begin with the Manchester derby. Both sides head into the key game on a high after convincing wins in the Champions League, City ran out 3-0 winners over Viktoria Plzen and United cruised to a 4-2 win over German side Bayer Leverkusen, although there were some nervy moments at the back for United.
And I expect City, who like much more assured and solid with Vincent Kompany back from injury, to claim the three points and bragging rights over their neighbours. Odds of 2.20 with Bet 365 and Bet Fred on Manchester City to win are worth taking, man for man there is no doubt they have a superior squad than Utd and I remain unconvinced on the credentials of David Moyes in the United dugout. The champions disappointed against Liverpool in a limp 1-0 away defeat and I predict more away day misery for the red half of Manchester.
Arsenal welcome Stoke to the Emirates on Sunday after a tough away trip against Marseille. The Gunners won the match 2-1 but have several players missing and the 1.36 on offer for an Arsenal victory look very skinny. Instead, the odds of 1.87 with BetVictor on Stoke +1.5 goals on the Asian Handicap looks great value. Stoke showed great resillence in a 0-0 draw with Manchester City last time out and the cushion of 1.5 goals against Arsenal, regardless of their form they are in, looks like a great bet.
Finally, I think Palace could bring Swansea back down to earth with a bump on Sunday. The Welsh outfit pulled off a stunning 3-0 victory against Valencia in the Europa League this week but the early red card for the Spanish side no doubt helped their cause and juggling Europe and Premier League duties is never easy. BetVictor go a top price of 3.50 on a Crystal Palace win and it's worth a small interest at that kind of price.
Mark Smith's bets for this weekend: