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Arsenal head to Old Trafford on Wednesday, cock-a-hoop after their adrenalin-pumping win over Tottenham in Sunday’s North London Derby. The win stretched their unbeaten run to 12 and was further evidence of Unai Emery’s Arsenal being a significant upgrade on the Arsene Wenger version of the last five or six seasons.
We wrote ahead of the weekend that the one thing Emery had so far failed to establish was his side’s credentials against the big six – having lost to Man City and Chelsea in their opening two games of the season – but in 90+ minutes, against their biggest and fiercest rivals, they dispelled any concerns.
Spurs may not have been at their scintillating best, after a draining week in which they had conquered Chelsea and Inter Milan at Wembley, but still Arsenal were good value and they head to Manchester absolutely bursting full of confidence.
Jose Mourinho’s men, by contrast, are still struggling to find the consistency that one associates with Manchester Utd sides and, more importantly, are playing a brand of football far removed from the swashbuckling style the Old Trafford faithful demands. It remains an unsettled and unhappy ship.
TOP TIP! – Man Utd & Arsenal to draw 2-2 @ 23/2 12.50 +1150 11.50 11.50 -0.09 / Aubameyang first goalscorer @ 5/1 6.00 +500 5.00 5.00 -0.20
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Another defeat would mean United have won just twice in their last seven Premier League matches and, crucially, would leave them at least nine points adrift of the top four. The pressure on Mourinho would be cranked up a further couple of notches.
One plus for United is that after nearly 1000 minutes without a goal, Romelu Lukaku finally found the net again in their draw at Southampton, and they’ll desperately be hoping this is the start of an upturn in form for the Belgian striker.
Arsenal, for their part, will simply be hoping for more of the same and will be looking, in particular, to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Lucas Torreira to carry on where they left off against Tottenham.
In terms of team news, Mesut Ozil may be back on the Arsenal bench after missing the Spurs game with a back spasm, but they will be without Granit Xhaka, who is serving a one-match ban. Aaron Ramsey and Alexandre Lacazette are also pushing for starts after impressing after coming off the bench against Spurs.
For Mourinho, Ashley Young is suspended, but Chris Smalling and Eric Bailly may be available after missing the trip to Southampton.
We can see Arsenal’s momentum ensuring they depart Manchester with at least something – and maintain their unbeaten run – but United, for all their recent struggles, are resilient. On that basis, we are going for a draw, with the 2-2 on offer with 188bet at 23/2 12.50 +1150 11.50 11.50 -0.09 being well worth a shot. Consider also the prolific Aubameyang as first goalscorer at 5/1 6.00 +500 5.00 5.00 -0.20 with BetVictor.
TOP TIP! – Everton to win 2-1 @ 8/1 9.00 +800 8.00 8.00 -0.13 / Richarlison as last goalscorer @ 4/1 5.00 +400 4.00 4.00 -0.25
Both sides will still be clearing their heads after disastrous defeats at the weekend. The Toffees, in particular, will be reeling after conspiring to lose the Merseyside Derby in the dying seconds, having arguably been the better side for 95 minutes.
That they came away with precisely nothing at all boiled down to a horrendous individual error of judgement from England number one, Jordan Pickford. With the clock having ticked past the scheduled injury time, one final ‘hail Mary’ into the Everton box looked to have fizzled out when Virgil van Dyck skied an attempted volley, but as it gently dropped goalward, a mixture of crossbar and Pickford somehow managed to tee up the simplest of headers for Divock Origi.
The rest is history – a place in annals of the Merseyside Derby assured.
All of which made for a deflated blue half – and Marco Silva will be hoping for a reaction against Newcastle – but the disappointment shouldn’t disguise an excellent Everton performance in a game they really should have won. And it’s not for the first time this season that the Toffees have gone away to a top six side and ended up disappointed that they haven’t won the game.
Ultimately it was just a failure to take chances that cost them, one of which fell to on-loan Portuguese midfielder Andre Gomes, the game’s outstanding player. They’ll be hoping to rectify this wrong against the Toon.
Newcastle’s 3-0 home defeat by West Ham sounds horrendous but was, in fact, one of those bizarre games where the scoreline did nothing to reflect the evenness of the game and the home side’s contribution to it. The Toon had plenty of the ball and played with confidence – reflecting their two consecutive wins prior to the game – but were continually picked off by the Hammers who were lethal on the counter-attack.
Rafa Benitez will, like Silva, be hoping for a reaction but we can see Everton’s home advantage being decisive in this one. The Toffees are starting to look a solid outfit, and while we envisage it being tight, the fact they are going-toe-to-toe with the big boys stands them in good stead when the likes of Newcastle come to town. We’re going for a gritty 2-1 with 188bet.
TOP TIP! – Spurs to win 3-0 @ 17/2 9.50 +850 8.50 8.50 -0.12 / Dele Alli as anytime goalscorer @ 21/10 3.10 +210 2.10 2.10 -0.48
It was a weekend to forget for both sides, with Tottenham painfully losing in the North London Derby and Southampton squandering a two-goal lead against Manchester Utd and drawing 2-2. The latter was enough for the Saints’ board who, on Sunday, called time on Mark Hughes tenure as manager.
So it will be a manager-less Southampton who head to Wembley and, in the circumstances, we can find few logical reasons for anything other than a comfortable Tottenham win.
Spurs will be smarting from Sunday’s defeat, as will their fans, and we can see a tricky night ahead for Saints as Harry Kane and co look to put right some of Sunday’s wrongs. We’re going 3-0 to Spurs 17/2 9.50 +850 8.50 8.50 -0.12 with BetVictor, with Dele Alli’s 21/10 3.10 +210 2.10 2.10 -0.48 as anytime goalscorer with Bet365 looking decent value.
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