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Best bets for the weekend from football's most knowledgeable tipster

Premier League, EFL and much more

Manchester City's star Bernardo Silva
1 of 1

Tottenham v Man City

Sky Sports Premier League, 8pm Monday

Liverpool and Barcelona have already won against Tottenham at Wembley this season and Manchester City are at least as good, so Pep Guardiola's magnificent champions should fancy their chances of toppling Tottenham.

City, who broke records galore on their way to hitting 100 Premier League points last season, look no worse this time around after maintaining the standards which made them so brilliant in 2017-18.

Guardiola's outfit have dropped points in draws at Wolves and Liverpool, but a handball goal denied them victory at Molineux and a missed Riyad Mahrez penalty forced them to settle for a point at Anfield.

With a bit more good fortune we could have been looking at a side with a perfect record, but City will have to make do with being top of the Premier League, having conceded only three goals. They go into this Wembley showdown on a run of six clean sheets in their last seven outings in all competitions.

City made a decent Shakhtar side looks second rate in Tuesday's Champions League romp in Ukraine. That match saw Kevin De Bruyne make his long-awaited return from injury as a starter, and it was done with Bernardo Silva, Sergio Aguero, Kyle Walker, Vincent Kompany and Leroy Sane on the bench.

Guardiola played down City's hopes of winning the Champions League this week, but they have a legitimate claim to be the strongest side in Europe.

Tottenham are almost out of the Champions League following their draw at PSV on Wednesday as Hugo Lloris's red card cost them dear in a 2-2 draw in Eindhoven.

It has been Tottenham's best start to a Premier League campaign, even though they appear way off in terms of performances.

Barcelona battered Spurs 4-2 at Wembley and Liverpool's 2-1 success was not a fair reflection of the gulf in ability either.

Mauricio Pochettino looks to engage the opposition no matter their strengths and it makes Spurs vulnerable, with City finding space in behind time and time again in last season's two meetings, which were won 4-1 and 3-1 by the Manchester men.

Recommendation
Manchester City
2pts 4-5 Betway

Swansea v Reading

3pm Saturday

Paul Clement takes his Reading side to the Liberty Stadium to face his former club but it could be a unhappy return to Swansea.

Goals are the issue for Swansea - they have scored only 15 in 14 Sky Bet Championship contests - although the Welsh outfit often dominate matches and should eventually make the chances count.

In many ways Graham Potter must have been delighted with a change in fortune on Tuesday as his side managed only two shots on target but still beat Blackburn 3-2.

Reading have lost three of their last four matches and the other was something of a fluke as they beat Millwall 3-1 despite losing the shot count 27-10 and it was 12-4 to the Lions in shots on target.

Recommendation
Swansea
1pt 5-6 general

Port Vale v Bury

It's worth taking on board what Newport manager Michael Flynn had to say about their opponents Bury after Tuesday's 1-1 draw at Gigg Lane, a match that was dominated by the Shakers for large spells.

"Bury are a very good team," Flynn told the South Wales Argus. "They move the ball well and Danny Mayor was outstanding – probably the best I’ve seen in the league so far this season.

"I thought they played some very good football and they’ve got strength in depth as well so I think they’ve got a good chance of promotion, but you expect that from a team who have just come down from League One."

It's one defeat in ten for Bury and Flynn is right in singling out Mayor for particular attention. He possesses wonderful skills for this level, while Nicky Maynard has scored five goals in six starts since arriving in late September.

In the last three matches Bury have out-shot their opposition 57-17 and 20-4 in shots on target to illustrate Flynn's point.

As former Crewe men, boss Ryan Lowe and striker Maynard will be in for a rough afternoon at Port Vale but they are more than capable of silencing the boo boys.

Recommendation
Bury
1pt 5-4 general

Plays of the weekend

Banker
Manchester City 4-5
The classy champions scored seven goals against Tottenham last season and fully deserve their odds-on status with Spurs struggling to find their best form.

Blowout
Exeter 5-4
The Grecians are riding high in third spot but they have won only two of their last five and draw-specialist opponents Forest Green have lost just one League Two match this season.

Accumulator
Bayern Munich 2-7, Arsenal 17-20, Sevilla 1-4, Man City 
4-5 Betway

Thought for the week

Julen Lopetegui is going to be the fall guy for Real Madrid's poor start to the season - it is almost impossible to see him lasting much longer - but the former Spanish national team boss is a minor problem among much bigger concerns for Real Madrid.

Their summer transfer window was a shambles and, for all that selling Cristiano Ronaldo may have made financial sense, when have the Bernabeu giants put money before goals?

A rebuilding job was always going to be needed to replace an icon such as Ronaldo but Madrid still made a real mess of the situation, buying a goalkeeper they did not really need in Thibaut Courtois, a right-back they did not need in Alvaro Odriozola and a striker in Mariano who was shipped out to Lyon a year earlier because it was assumed he was not good enough.

It seems almost ridiculous to say this about a side who have won four of the past five Champions Leagues and each of the last three, but Madrid have been getting away with a lack of proper planning for a long time.

They have won La Liga just twice in the last ten years which is arguably a greater indicator of success than a knockout competition and all the big names who turned down the chance to replace Zinedine Zidane will feel vindicated by events since the summer.

Lopetegui must be wishing he had done the same.


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It has been Tottenham's best start to a Premier League campaign, even though they appear way off in terms of performances
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