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We return from the international break with some tantalizing fixtures in week five of the Premier League as Brighton travel to Old Trafford to take on Man United and Newcastle host Brentford, who are the hottest offense in the Premier League.

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BJ Cunningham and Anthony Dabbundo are here to guide you through the upcoming matches and offer you their best bets on the slate.

Cunningham and Dabbundo, who are part of the Wondergoal podcast team, will guide you through the weekend’s Premier League matches, giving you their favorite picks along the way.

If you want to see Cunningham and Dabbundo’s picks throughout the season for all the action from the UCL and all five European leagues, follow them on the Action Network app.

Here are our Premier League odds and picks for the weekend.

Premier League Odds and Picks

Cunningham: This is as terrible a matchup as the one Manchester United faces. What they have struggled with under Ten Hag is the pressure of the men’s brand. They have tried to build against them and it hasn’t worked. As good as Casemiro is, he is not someone who can receive the ball with his back to the defense and guide Manchester United out of a high press, as he has lost the ball 20 times inside United’s final third.

The Seagulls are averaging 2.04 npxG in four games, which is very close to what they averaged under De Zerbi last season. They will have some injury concerns in their attack with Julio Encisco out and Evan Ferguson and Danny Welbeck being questionable. However, Brighton have so much depth that they can put Joao Pedro up top and not miss a beat.

Brighton have been electric offensively, but have been hit pretty hard in transition this season. The Seagulls have conceded a whopping eight big scoring chances in four games.

I know it’s early, but at the moment Brighton and Manchester United games are averaging over 3.5 xG, so I’m expecting absolute chaos here with plenty of chances at both ends.

Pick: Over 3.5 (+120 via BetRivers)

Cunningham: Fulham are the most talented team here and they play at home, but this figure is crazy.

Luton Town have had to face three really tough opponents to start the season, having to travel to Brighton and Chelsea, as well as hosting West Ham, who are in incredible form. Now they face a team close to their level and the market has severely discounted them.

This is a game where Fulham will have to be the ones to control possession and play with pressure, which is not something they are good at. Basically, the only thing Fulham have done positively so far this season is be efficient from set pieces, having scored against both City and Arsenal that way. In four games they are second in the Premier League in xG per set piece. Luton Town are currently third with three games in xG allowed per set piece and are in the top eight for aerial double win percentage.

The problem that has existed for a long time with Fulham defensively is that they have really struggled to defend in wide areas. They have done a good job closing down the midfield this season, but they have allowed 82 crosses and seven of them were completed in their penalty area, both bottom five in the Premier League.

Fulham also have no consistent goal threat at the top since Mitrovic left. In four games, Raúl Jiménez leads them with seven shots, but only has 0.4 xG to show for it.

Pick: Luton Town +1 (-134 via BetRivers)

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Dabundo: No Premier League team has had a tougher schedule to start the season than Newcastle. The Magpies beat Aston Villa at home and then lost three consecutive games to Manchester City, Liverpool and Brighton. Newcastle will face a different challenge on Saturday against a very possession-averse Brentford. The biggest question at the start of the new year for Newcastle was whether or not they could replicate their attacking performance if teams forced them to have more ball possession and break down lower blocks with no space behind to exploit.

Through four games, that ability hasn’t really been tested because Newcastle have played against teams that want to have the ball and play on the front foot. That’s not Brentford. The Bees will cede most of the possession to Newcastle and challenge Eddie Howe’s side to break them down and create margin.

There is a lot of air in the early season numbers due to atypical opponent minutes and red cards, but Brentford have created the most xG and non-penalty xG in the entire league. They have done it without Ivan Toney and without an overwhelming volume of shots (10th in shots per 90) and with high quality and effective chances from set pieces. The Bees have the highest xG per shot in the entire league and are once again defying the market that continues to expect them to be a bottom half of the table team.

Newcastle won both meetings between these two teams last year, but they were tied on expected goals. The Magpies’ conservative nature in possession will make it difficult for them to break away.

Pick: Brentford +1 (+100 via bet365)

Cunningham: Arsenal have been good, but not great, to start the season. They got caught on the wrong end of some variation in the game against Fulham, creating over 3 xG and Fulham scored both their goals with 0.6 xG.

United will have Casemiro for this match, but they have plenty of other injuries to deal with. Luke Shaw, Raphael Varane, Tyrell Malacia and Mason Mount are confirmed for this match and Rasmus Hojland is questionable. So, that means Viktor Lindelof will be on the backline.

Varane is a big loss for Manchester United because he is an elite defender at stopping transition opportunities and is good in one-on-one situations. Malacia is normally Shaw’s back-up at left back, so Diogo Dalot now has to play out of position.

Manchester United are playing an incredibly risky high-pressing style this season, trying to become an elite pressing team. They have forced 41 turnovers in three games, which is the most in the Premier League, and have the second-highest direct speed in the Premier League.

United were quite good in the first 45 minutes against Tottenham, another hard-pressing team, but Spurs eventually broke through and dominated the second half. Burnley are another pressure-setting team, beating Manchester United 3-0 in a behind-closed-doors friendly less than two weeks ago. Arsenal will put pressure on them and Manchester United will have to play very direct or they will have difficulties in the preparation phase.

I have Arsenal projected at -117, but with all of United’s injuries, I think Arsenal are much more prepared to exploit many of their weaknesses.

Pick: Arsenal ML (-125 via Caesars)

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#Premier #League #Odds #Picks #bets #Man #United #Brighton

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