Another Saturday and another London derby as east meets west, with West Ham making the trip to Craven Cottage to face bottom-of-the-table Fulham.
For the Cottagers it’s nearing crisis time, and to be approaching Christmas and still be in single figures in terms of league points is not how owner, Shahid Khan, planned it in the summer when he splurged close to £100 million on new players. Only Liverpool and Chelsea spent more, but so far it has not proved to be money well spent, with only two wins and the sacking of manager Slavisa Jokanovic to show for it.
The Fulham reins are now with Claudio Ranieri, who made a good start with a 3-2 home win over Southampton, but the wheels fell off badly in the first-half at Old Trafford last weekend and they were hammered 4-1. The Italian though was impressed with his side’s second half effort and came out with this great quote post-match:
“I told my players the first half is to be relegated, the second half we can survive”.
TOP TIP! – Fulham & West Ham to draw 2-2 @ +1150 / Anderson anytime goalscorer @ +230
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In Ranieri’s favour this weekend is that his side is far more comfortable playing in the confines of Craven Cottage, and he will be hoping they gained confidence from that second-half in Manchester.
It will be tough though, with West Ham on a run that has seen them win three on the bounce and rise to a heady 11th in the table.
Unlike Fulham, the Hammers are starting to reap the rewards for their summer spending, with Felipe Anderson, in particular, starting to shine. The 25-year-old Brazilian took a few weeks to get into his Premier League stride, but is now excelling week in, week out and capped a fine display at the London Stadium last weekend with beautiful curling strike.
West Ham have an abundance of goalscoring options, aside from Anderson, but for Fulham the options are fewer and nearly half of their goals have been scored by Serbian striker Aleksandar Mitrovic. If the Hammers keep him quiet, then they have a very good chance of winning the game.
Fulham’s big problem has been their defending, and they have conceded an alarming 40 goals so far this season – more than any other club in the Premier League. For them to survive, and get a result against West Ham, this simply must improve.
West Ham, on the other hand, have scored nine goals in their last three games and so, with that in mind, this is a game that is not going to end goal-less.
We can see Fulham, backed by a noisy Craven Cottage, giving it a real go but we’re not sure they have enough in the tank to outscore the buoyant Hammers. They are capable of earning a point though, and so we’re going for an entertaining 2-2 +1150 with 188bet with Felipe Anderson continuing his good form and netting for the visitors +230 with 888sport.
TOP TIP! – Liverpool to win 2-0 @ +750 / Mo Salah first goalscorer @ +333
The big game of the weekend sees the two giants of the north-west clash at Anfield. For many years – especially during the Sir Alex Ferguson era – it was usually a case of the Merseysiders trying to put a spanner in the works of a United title charge, but after a few seasons of the two vying for spots on the top four, this season sees United in the chasing pack and the Reds as the title chasers.
While this won’t sit comfortably with the United fans, the Kop will take great delight in the opportunity to look down upon their greatest rivals from the vantage point of the top of the table!
For Jurgen Klopp’s men to be above a flying Man City speaks volumes for their season so far, when everyone expected Pep Guardiloa’s side to simply further strengthen their stranglehold on the Premier League title. But with 13 wins and 3 draws from their 16 games, Liverpool are now the side that everyone is chasing.
The key to this fine run of form has, surprisingly, less to do with the brilliance of Messrs Salah, Mane and Firminho – although all three are showing increasing signs of rediscovering their form of last season – but is instead based on a defence that has conceded just SIX league goals.
A back line comprising Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil Van Dyck, Joe Gomez, Andrew Robertson and Alisson in goal has been simply outstanding, and even with Gomez suffering a broken leg, Klopp now has Dejan Lovren or Joel Matip to call upon.
United meanwhile blunder from crisis to crisis, and they kick off on Sunday a whopping 16 points behind Liverpool. Jose Mourinho continues to cut a frustrated, dejected figure and despite having a squad of talented individuals, they are anything but a cohesive unit.
And for that reason we think Liverpool’s ‘heavy metal’ football will prevail on Sunday, with United struggling to penetrate the Reds’ defensive wall.
One goal may be enough for Klopp’s men, but we think they’ll secure it with a second and so 2-0 – again with Bet365 – is too juicy to ignore.
TOP TIP! – Arsenal to win 2-1 @ +800 / Xhaka to pick up a card @ +260
Ralph Hasenhuttl, the new Southampton manager, takes his St Mary’s bow this weekend as Arsenal visit the south coast looking to extend their incredible 14-game unbeaten run.
In his first game in charge, Hasenhuttl watched his new charges succumb to a late goal in a six-pointer in Cardiff and was left in no doubt as to the size of his task ahead of him. A culture change is needed at St Mary’s as the Austrian looks to implement his ‘Klopp-style’ high energy, high intensity football, and it’s hard to imagine seven days being enough to make a significant difference.
Therefore we expect the Gunners to have too much for the Saints – especially if an early Arsenal goal is forthcoming – and with them comfortably jogging along at more than two goals per game we’d expect them to add to that early goal. Saints may have enough to get on the scoresheet but we’re going for a 2-1 away win +800 with Bet365.
For a fun bet, we recommend you look no further than Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka adding to his collection of yellow cards +260 with Bet365.
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