Arsenal’s 2-1 win at Bournemouth last weekend kept them firmly in the chasing pack and ensured they kept within touching distance of their north London rivals, Tottenham. This weekend’s clash at the Emirates offers them the chance to leapfrog them.
As north London derbies go, this one will be right up there as the two old rivals lock horns while both still in sight of leaders Man City, who despite their best efforts, are not yet the “runaway” leaders that many predicted. Add into the mix that both teams are in fine fettle and it really does promise to be a Sunday corker.
For the Gunners, the win at Bournemouth ended a run of three consecutive draws, and it’s still incredible to think the only two league games they have lost all season are their first two – against Man City and Chelsea. Since then the Gooners have watched a gradual transformation into the team that Unai Emery wants.
With his eighth goal of the season at the Vitality Stadium, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang went joint-top of the Premier League Golden Boot table, and in doing so proved he is now filling one of the voids that so haunted the latter stages of the Arsene Wenger era – a prolific goalscorer.
TOP TIP! – Arsenal & Spurs to draw 1-1 @ +660 / Son Heung-Min first goalscorer @ +240
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The progress made under Emery is clear but, after those opening two games, they still need to prove they’re ready to go toe-to-toe with their rivals in the top six. Sunday will be such a test.
Tottenham meanwhile have had an odd campaign, punctuated by the will they/won’t they saga of moving into the new White Hart Lane. As things stand it will be early 2019 at the earliest, but conveniently Wembley has turned into something of a fortress of late, with only Liverpool and Man City winning there.
Statistically it has been Spurs’ second best start to a Premier League campaign and despite, by Pochettino’s admission, not being at their best they are slap bang in the middle of the pack of title contenders. Their 3-1 win over Chelsea last weekend was a real shot across the bows of the others and a strong signal of intent.
Sunday though will be tough, and in front of a for-once lively Emirates we can see Arsenal causing problems to a Tottenham back-four that does have the odd mistake in it. The Gunners’ defence will need to step to the plate though and much will come down to how they contain Kane, Alli, Eriksen and co.
If they can execute Emery’s defensive plan, we can see them earning themselves a point, and on the basis both teams have goals in them, we’re tempted by the 1-1 on offer with 188bet at +660 . Also, given his midweek Champions League heroics, we fancy Son Heung-Min as anytime goalscorer at +240 with BetVictor.
TOP TIP! – Newcastle to win 3-2 @ +4000 / Rondon as first goalscorer @ +500
After an indifferent start to the season, from seemingly nowhere, the Toon are on a roll. Monday night’s 2-1 win at Burnley made it three wins on the bounce, they are now on a four-game unbeaten run and the discontent with Mike Ashley’s ownership has, for the time being at least, subsided a little. A home game against West Ham will be perceived on Tyneside as a very good opportunity to extend the fun and add to the fans’ feelgood factor.
West Ham’s season has – a bit like the Toon’s – been notable for its inconsistency, and some good results and performances have been balanced off with some rotten ones. Their recent form, however, has not been at the same level as Newcastle’s, whose win at Turf Moor saw them leapfrog the Hammers in the league table, albeit the two sides are only separated by goal difference.
Both have won three and drawn three of their 13 games so far and are 13th and 14th respectively in the table, so there is no underestimating the importance of Saturday’s game, especially as they are just four points from the drop zone.
It’s worth noting that the last three games between these two sides have resulted in Newcastle wins, including a 3-0 win for the Toon in this equivalent fixture last season which was followed by another 3-2 win for the Magpies at the London Stadium.
Of less relevance, but still interesting, is that Newcastle lead the way in head-to-heads too with 54 wins from their 131 contests; the Hammers winning 40 times.
We can see this trend continuing, and strongly fancy the Toon to make it four wins on the spin. They have goals coming from across the team and with a raucous home crowd behind them, we can see them exposing West Ham’s fragility.
We can also see goals – games between these two are traditionally high-scorers – and so we are going out on limb here and saying 3-2 to Newcastle, well worth a speculative one at +4000 with Bet365. Rather less speculative is Salomon Rondon as first goalscorer at +500 with 188bet.
TOP TIP! – Liverpool to win 1-0 @ +750 / Under 1.5 goals @ +425
In Sunday’s 283rd Merseyside derby, Liverpool are unsurprisingly very short-price favourites, but much will depend on how they react to their midweek Champions League disappointment away at PSG.
With some big games straddling the derby, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has a balancing act to perform in trying to keep his squad fresh but will be reluctant to rest any of his star players for the weekend.
Everton though, despite a really poor record in this fixture, have become very solid defensively under Marco Silva and have had clean sheets in their last two games – one of which was an away game at Chelsea. Only the top four have conceded less goals.
So, we can’t see this being a goal-fest although we can see Liverpool squeezing home by the odd goal. We recommend the 1-0 to the Reds on offer with Bet365 at +750 , and also, on a similar theme, under 1.5 goals at +425 with 888sport.
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