Raul Jiminez 6/5 to score anytime against West Ham in Sunday’s Premier League showdown

Competition: Premier League

Market: Raul Jiminez to score anytime

Odds: 6/5 @ 888sport

Looking to make a return to winning ways in the capital this weekend, Wolves will make the trip to what appears to be a downbeat London Stadium on Sunday night.

Starting with the hosts, although West Ham might have managed to extend on their EFL Cup adventure after putting five past League One outfit Hull in midweek, it has been a worrying start to the New Year for the Hammers. Dealing with a string of off-field issues and a real feeling of animosity around the Lond Stadium, David Moyes’ men have been hit with back-to-back Premier League defeats and many have them tipped to be at the heart of another relegation scrap this time around. Only continuing to show the same defensive issues that haunted them for large spells either side of the enforced break, West Ham also hold a hugely worrying record against Sunday’s guests. Including back-to-back 2-0 defeats when they faced off against Wolves during the extended 2019/2020 campaign, the Hammers have now lost each of their last four straight meetings against the European chasers.

As for the visitors, while Wolves might not have been able to pull off another famous turnaround against Manchester City on Monday night, the Oranges will take plenty of positives away from their second-half charge. Opening up the New Year with a 2-0 win away at Bramall Lane a fortnight ago, Head Coach Nuno Espírito Santo will be hugely excited by attacking talismans Raul Jiminez and his flurry at the start of the new campaign. Along with scoring a sublime strike against Sheffield United on their travels earlier in the month, the Mexican ace made it two in two as he bagged what turned out to be a consolation strike against the Sky Blues at Molineux. Opening the scoring as Wolves picked up a 2-0 win when they traveled to the London Stadium back in June, we’re backing another fruitful afternoon for the 29-year-old.

Bet: Raul Jiminez 6/5 to score anytime against West Ham in Sunday’s Premier League showdown @ 888sport

Zidane celebrates LaLiga century with Madrid

Zinedine Zidane claimed his 100th LaLiga victory as Real Madrid head coach on Saturday.

Zidane reached the century milestone in Madrid’s thrilling 3-2 win over 10-man Real Betis.

The French great, who celebrated his second LaLiga title in charge of Madrid last season, achieved the feat in 147 games.

Zidane has the second-most league victories in Madrid’s history, behind Miguel Munoz (257).

In his second stint at the Santiago Bernabeu, Zidane – whose first win came in January 2016 – has seen his Madrid team score 342 goals while only conceding 142.

Madrid earned their first win of the 2020-21 season, following last week’s stalemate against Real Sociedad.

After Federico Valverde’s 14th-minute opener for Madrid, Betis turned the match on its head with two goals in three minutes via Aissa Mandi and William Carvalho prior to half-time.

Barcelona-owned Emerson scored an own goal three minutes into the second half before being sent off with 23 minutes remaining, and Madrid made the most of their numerical advantage when captain Sergio Ramos converted an 82nd-minute penalty.

Montpellier 5/6 to score over 1.5 goals against Dijon in Sunday’s Ligue 1 showdown

Competition: Ligue 1

Market: Montpellier to score over 1.5 goals

Odds: 5/6 @ 888sport

With a golden chance to lay down another marker this weekend, a high-flying Montpellier will make the trip what is a downbeat Stade Gaston Gérard on Sunday afternoon.

Starting with the hosts, enduring what was an extended blip before last year’s Ligue 1 campaign was brought to an early halt, Dijon have only continued to show the same glaring issues. Already tipped by many as an early-season relegation contender as we inch closer to October, Stéphane Jobard’s men were hit with a deserved 1-0 loss away at Strasbourg last weekend and really have the feel of a club in the midst of a crisis. Losing each of their opening four top-flight appearances this season and the only side who are yet to rack up a single point, Dijon could be in for another long afternoon at the Stade Gaston Gérard on Sunday. Suffering back-to-back home victories against Angers and a returning Brest, it should also be noted that the Reds were hit with a 2-1 defeat when they faced off against this weekend’s guests back in January.

As for the visitors, while Dijon might be enduring what has been a hugely concerning run of form, Montpellier have gained a long list of admirers after what has been an eye-catching start to proceedings. Last seen putting in what was another thumping display at the Stade de la Mosson seven days ago, La Paillade picked up a 4-1 victory at home against Angers and the mood in Michel Der Zakarian’s camp appears to be at a red-hot high. Now winning each of their last three Ligue 1 appearances on the spin and with a reputation for their clinical displays in front of goal, Andy Delort bagged a brace last weekend and it is certainly worth keeping an eye out for the 28-year-old. Unbeaten in their last three straight meetings against Dijon and now dreaming of a European return this season, we’re backing another fruitful afternoon for a free-scoring Montpellier.

Bet: Montpellier 5/6 to score over 1.5 goals against Dijon in Sunday’s Ligue 1 showdown @ 888sport

Zidane happy with squad as Madrid boss dismisses transfer talk after Betis win

Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane has no plans to sign new players before the transfer window shuts following his team’s thrilling 3-2 win over Real Betis.

Sergio Ramos scored a late penalty as LaLiga champions Madrid claimed their first win of the 2020-21 season at 10-man Betis on Saturday.

After Federico Valverde’s 14th-minute opener, Betis turned the match on its head with two goals in three minutes via Aissa Mandi and William Carvalho prior to half-time.

Barcelona-owned Emerson scored an own goal three minutes into the second half before being sent off with 23 minutes remaining, and Madrid made the most of their numerical advantage when Ramos converted an 82nd-minute penalty.

Zidane was asked about Madrid’s transfer activity pre-game, with the Spanish giants quiet since the market re-opened, having allowed the likes of Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez and Brahim Diaz to leave.

Quizzed again on possible new signings post-match, Zidane told reporters: “No. We spoke about this before. I’m happy with the squad that I’ve got.

“We are what we are and we’re going to try to have a successful season.”

Reflecting on the match itself following Madrid’s goalless draw against Real Sociedad in their season opener, Zidane said: “When you’re behind it’s difficult to change the dynamics of the game but we managed it today. It’s crucial to do that every once in a while.

“We had a lot of chances, and people we talk about how we don’t score enough but today we hit three and could have had more. I’m very proud of all the players, they’re working brilliantly. We have to keep it up.”

“The referee is there to review the action,” added Zidane after Betis defender Marc Bartra was penalised for handball. “I think that in the end it’s just what happened. He’s in charge. I never get involved with the referees and I’m not going to get involved today. The most important thing for us is the game we played at a difficult ground.

“We can be happy with the work done, we had to work hard for it and we managed to take all three points, which is the most important thing.”

“In the end it was a very complicated, difficult game,” he said. “The players have given their all. It’s three very important points for us at a complicated ground and against a team who have just won their first two games. We are happy. We know there is a long way to go and that we can and will improve.”

Zidane also handed a rare start to out-of-favour forward Luka Jovic, who continues to be linked with a loan move away from the Santiago Bernabeu.

Jovic – playing alongside Karim Benzema – was tripped when through on goal as Emerson was shown a red card past the hour-mark, and Zidane said: “What I was looking for was to play in the opposition’s half with a different formation.

“We can play in different ways and one of them is with the two forwards. We can be happy with the game because in the end we got all three points.”

Premier League data dive: Abraham rescues fragile Chelsea, ice-cool Fernandes snatches Man Utd win

It was another day of drama as Chelsea became the first team for nine years to avoid a Premier League defeat after being three goals down at half-time and Manchester United rocked Brighton and Hove Albion.

West Brom led Frank Lampard’s side 3-0 after only 27 minutes, but Tammy Abraham’s stoppage-time goal rescued a 3-3 draw at The Hawthorns.

A Bruno Fernandes penalty 10 minutes into stoppage time snatched a 3-2 victory for United at Brighton following a VAR check, which took place after the final whistle had blown, for handball against Neal Maupay.

Everton have made their best start to a season for 27 years after a controversial 2-1 win at Crystal Palace, while Southampton striker Danny Ings scored the only goal of the game at his former club Burnley.

With help from Opta data, here is a recap of the four fixtures to take place on a pulsating Saturday.

 

Brighton and Hove Albion 2-3 Manchester United: Fernandes stuns luckless Seagulls

To say it was one of those days for Brighton would be a massive understatement, with Fernandes snatching all three points from the penalty spot right at the death.

The midfielder, who has now been involved in 17 goals in 16 Premier League games (9 goals, 8 assists), slotted in the latest goal in the top flight since Juan Mata’s strike for Chelsea against Norwich City after 100 minutes and three seconds nine years ago.

Brighton hit the woodwork five times, more than any team since Opta started recording the data in 2003-04, and were left to rule their luck after it seemed Solly March had secured a draw five minutes into time added on.

Leandro Trossard was particularly unfortunate, becoming the first player to hit the woodwork in a Premier League match three times since Cristiano Ronaldo versus Newcastle United in 2006.

Lewis Dunk will also want to forget the five-goal thriller in a hurry, having scored his fifth own goal in the competition – two more than any other player since his Premier League debut in August 2017.

 

Crystal Palace 1-2 Everton: Richarlison keeps Toffees perfect

Everton have won their first three games of a Premier League season for the first time since the 1993-94 campaign but they were fortunate to beat Palace.

All the goals came in the first half at Selhurst Park, the in-form Dominic Calvert-Lewin putting Carlo Ancelotti’s side in front to become the first player to score in each of Everton’s opening three games of a season since Steven Naismith six years ago.

Cheikhou Kouyate brought Palace level but Richarlison won it with a penalty after a hugely contentious decision saw Joel Ward adjudged to have handled.

Brazil striker Richarlison has scored 31 of his 32 Premier League goals from inside the penalty area and the winner was his first from the spot in the competition. One concern for Everton is that they have shipped more goals (18) from set-pieces than any other side since the start of last season.

 

West Brom 3-3 Chelsea: Abraham completes comeback after Blues’ defensive horror show

Chelsea looked to be heading for back-to-back defeats when a Callum Robinson double and Kyle Bartley put Albion three up.

Marcos Alonso and Premier League debutant Thiago Silva gave the Baggies a big helping hand with errors that took Chelsea’s number of mistakes directly leading to goals this season to three, as many as they made in the entire 2019-20 campaign.

The Blues have only kept one clean sheet in 21 Premier League away games under Frank Lampard, while they have conceded more goals (42) on their travels than any other side since the start of last season.

They were able to salvage a point, though, courtesy of second-half goals from Mason Mount, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Abraham.

Slaven Bilic’s side are the first team to ship 11 goals in the opening three games in the top flight since Arsenal in 1963-64 (12).

 

Burnley 0-1 Southampton: Ings returns to haunt toothless Clarets

Prolific striker Ings was on target early on to give Southampton their first Premier League points of the season.

It was Saints’ first win at Turf Moor in the league since back in 1971, ending a six-match winless run.

Burnley fans will not want to know that the last time they lost their opening two matches of a Premier League season was in a 2014-15 campaign that saw them relegated.

The 400th match of Sean Dyche’s managerial career proved to be one to forget, with Ings netting his 10th goal in 12 Premier League appearances since the resumption in June following a hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Lampard refuses to play blame game with Thiago Silva

Frank Lampard was in no mood to play the blame game after an error from Thiago Silva on his Premier League debut and says the Brazil centre-back will become crucial for Chelsea.

Silva was at fault for the second of West Brom’s three first-half goals at The Hawthorns, as the Blues had to fight back from an error-strewn opening 45 minutes to draw 3-3 thanks to Mason Mount, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Tammy Abraham.

It was the veteran defender’s first action in the Premier League at the age of 36 and it was an unfortunate slip in an otherwise steady top-flight bow.

Chelsea boss Lampard said Silva is experienced enough to own up to his mistakes without the need for him to pile in too.

“Listen Thiago Silva is going to be fantastic for us, he’s been incredible in his career,” Lampard told a post-match news conference. 

“I will not look at him, I can talk about the mistakes – they’re clear and we have to be open and honest about that, but I’ll not put any blame on him. We’re a team that has to react around that and to be fair the team did in the second half. 

“It’s nothing on Thiago, I’m sure he’ll stand up and say it was a mistake, other than that I thought he was faultless in the game.

“That’s his first Premier League game done and in the bank, we’ll get more from him as he gets fitter and the team gets fitter.” 

Chelsea’s equaliser had a hint of fortune, with Kai Havertz potentially handballing in the area in the build-up.

West Brom boss Slaven Bilic, who also felt there a was a foul prior to Hudson-Odoi bringing it back to 3-2, had no doubts the gal should have been chalked off.

“The third goal is very difficult to accept,” Bilic said. “For me that is so clear that I don’t even want to talk about it, it is obvious. 

“It’s not maybe, it’s not possibly handball, it is handball that’s end of story, full stop. How someone can say that’s not a handball is beyond me.”

Lampard rues errors but says Chelsea are a work in progress

Frank Lampard warned his Chelsea side they must quickly cut out basic mistakes but insists the Blues remain a work in progress after fighting back for a 3-3 draw at West Brom.

Chelsea were staring down the barrel of an unexpected defeat at The Hawthorns after an inept display of defending saw them 3-0 down inside 27 minutes.

Errors from Marcos Alonso and Premier League debutant Thiago Silva saw Callum Robinson score twice before Kyle Bartley benefitted from more poor defending at a corner.

But Mason Mount and substitute Callum Hudson-Odoi brought Chelsea back into the game before a third academy graduate in the form of Tammy Abraham rescued a point in injury time.

“It’s two points dropped and that’s no disrespect to West Brom,” Chelsea boss Lampard told Sky Sports. 

“But to come here and sort of understand the game and know that transition and mistakes is something they’d try to jump on, counter-attack against us and [use] set-pieces – we spoke about it before the game and you can’t legislate for pure mistakes, which they were today. 

“Then it gives you a really difficult game to get back in to. I can laud character because we showed character and persistence but we didn’t need to if we did things properly in the game.

“They were clear mistakes, the first one Marcos heads it into the middle of the pitch for them to make the transition. The Thiago one is a mistake, he’s been around long enough to know that and we’ll certainly give him that one in his first game. Then Marcos loses his man for the third goal from the corner. 

“You can do as many meetings as you want, if you make those mistakes you’re going to give yourself a mountain to climb.”

Lampard felt the introductions of Cesar Azpilicueta and Hudson-Odoi at half-time brought a different dimension to Chelsea.

“It brought a bit of urgency, a bit of speed of pass to move it,” he added. 

“Azpi brings personality straight into the team even at left-back. Callum one-v-one brought something different, he got at people. Those are things Callum can and needs to do, he made a big difference.”

Lampard said the fact Chelsea created going forward meant it was an easy message to try and lift his team at the break and is convinced a new-look squad will come good.

“We created two or three really great chances in first half and i thought we’d create more,” he said. 

“The only problem when you’re 3-0 down is West Brom are going to seriously protect the lead which means dropping back, frustrating moments and it was about staying patient. We did that to a big degree. 

“But it’s a lesson for us in the detail of a game, it doesn’t how much you create, and we will create a lot, we will get better.

“We’re definitely finding our way with new players in the team and a lack of pre-season. 

“Part of the process of getting better is accepting things that aren’t right in our game today because we lost two points.”

Abraham reveals Lampard´s words of wisdom after Chelsea comeback

Tammy Abraham revealed the words of wisdom from Frank Lampard that provided the catalyst for Chelsea’s comeback in an entertaining 3-3 draw at West Brom.

The Blues were sloppy in defence as the Baggies went 3-0 up inside 27 minutes at The Hawthorns, where Thiago Silva endured a rude awakening on his Premier League debut.

But the visitors were able to breathe a sigh of relief after a second-half revival in which Mason Mount and Callum Hudson-Odoi scored before Abraham netted a stoppage-time leveller.

And the England forward praised the impact his manager made at half-time in picking his side up off the floor.

“We all went in and our heads were down and he had to lift us up,” Abraham told Sky Sports.

“He said we didn’t look like a team ready to go out and win and we needed to pick each other up in the second half.

“Thankfully Mason got the goal which meant we could believe. I knew we’d get chances but to come back from 3-0 is never easy. The boys deserve credit, they kept going.”

The opening 45 minutes was a strange spectacle indeed, with Slaven Bilic’s men finding themselves three goals to the good despite having very little of the game.

And Abraham conceded Chelsea had made life hard for themselves, while lamenting a missed opportunity of his own.

“In the first half we made it difficult for ourselves. I had a chance I should have put away and one I should be taking at this level,” he said.

“They scored from every shot. We knew we had to come out in the second half and not drop our heads – and that’s what we did.

“We need to cut out the mistakes as a team so we don’t concede. We need to be strong together and keep encouraging one another.”

West Brom 3-3 Chelsea: Abraham completes Blues´ second-half rescue mission

Tammy Abraham’s last-gasp goal completed Chelsea’s rescue mission following a shambolic first half in a breathless 3-3 draw at West Brom.

The Baggies were gifted three goals inside 27 minutes at The Hawthorns with Callum Robinson scoring twice after shoddy defending from Marcos Alonso and 36-year-old Premier League debutant Thiago Silva.

Kyle Bartley made it 3-0 after more poor work at a corner but Mason Mount’s well-struck 55th-minute effort was backed up by substitute Callum Hudson-Odoi putting the finishing touch on a great Chelsea move.

West Brom then buckled under the sheer weight of pressure in five additional minutes as Abraham tapped in from close range after Sam Johnstone saved Mount’s shot.

Shambolic Chelsea equal 2019-20 error tally in just third Premier League game

Chelsea endured a nightmare opening 45 minutes against West Brom and in the process equalled an unwanted stat across the whole of last season in just their third Premier League game.

The Blues were 3-0 down at half-time at The Hawthorns, the first coming after Marcos Alonso’s poor header allowed Matheus Pereira to pick out Callum Robinson to provide a fine finish across Willy Caballero.

Premier League debutant Thiago Silva, at the ripe old age of 36, was then comically caught napping and slipped before Robinson raced clear to put West Brom into a two-goal lead.

A third arrived via Kyle Bartley following more suspect defending at a corner and Chelsea have now made three errors directly leading to goal in just three top-flight matches this term.

That represents as many as the Blues made in the entirety of the disrupted 2019-20 campaign, which was Lampard’s first in charge of the club.

Additionally, at three minutes and 20 seconds, Robinson’s was the earliest goal Chelsea have conceded since May 2017, while Silva is the first outfield player to make an error leading to a goal on debut in the Premier League since Issa Diop for West Ham against Arsenal in August 2018.