Manchester City thumped Liverpool 5-0 in the Premier League back in September and the Reds get their chance to gain revenge this Sunday at Anfield. It’s the pick of this week’s fixtures televised matches, with Manchester United and Arsenal also in action.
Liverpool striker Sadio Mane was sent off after 37 minutes in that game at the Etihad before Man City went on to trounce his teammates. He and they will be out to prove that the scoreline flattered the Citizens as they attempt to become the first team to beat Pep Guardiola’s side this season. Surprisingly, City have not won at Anfield since 2003 and this will be one of their toughest tests in the quest to complete the season unbeaten. It’s all set up for an excellent match for armchair viewers, and considering the attacking nature of both teams, is one not to be missed.
Also on Sunday, Arsenal travel to the South coast to take on Bournemouth with the former in need of points for a top-four challenge, and the latter embroiled in the relegation battle. The Gunners have fallen five points behind Liverpool in 4th place, and two points behind bitter rivals Spurs in 5th. The bookmakers have Arsenal as odds-on favourites to win but they’ve been inconsistent away and were held to a 3-3 here last season. The Cherries are only one point above the drop zone in 16th place but are unbeaten in the last three as they attempt to claw their way out of trouble.
Manchester United wait until Monday to complete the weekend’s Premier League fixtures with a home match against Stoke. The Potters parted company with manager Mark Hughes last week and, at the time of writing, former Watford boss Quique Sanchez Flores and Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill are in the frame.
Liverpool v Manchester City
The draw is quoted at +270 with BetVictor and that’s the call in the big match.
Manchester City are beating all before them at present but there have been signs that momentum is becoming more difficult to maintain. They were only a penalty miss away from losing this season’s unbeaten record against Crystal Palace, and have fallen behind in the last two games to Burnley and Bristol City. Those are minor chinks in the armour but their record at Anfield also tempers enthusiasm for another City win.
Liverpool have won the last two Premier League fixtures at Anfield against the Citizens without conceding, but that looks somewhat unlikely this time around. Jurgen Klopp’s side are not renowned for clean sheets but they are excelling in attack this term and can cause Pep Guardiola’s men problems. Philippe Coutinho’s high-profile transfer to Barcelona is a big blow for the Reds but the likes of Mane and Salah can step into the breach. Liverpool haven’t lost at home since a shock 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace last April and they will have extra motivation to avenge that 5-0 thumping earlier in the season.
Bournemouth v Arsenal
Bournemouth and Arsenal are backed to combine for over 3.5 goals at +138 with 888Sport.
the Gunners may well match the bookie’s expectations and win this one at a canter but many a punter has been burned backing Arsenal to win away. Wenger’s side has only won three of eleven road games in the Premier League this season and only one in the last six away in all competitions. Transfer rumours are circulating about Alexis Sanchez and the top four is tantalisingly out of reach. They’ve been held to draws recently by West Brom, West Ham and Southampton and always appear vulnerable on the road. However, goals have not been a problem – four of the Gunner’s last six games have featured four or more goals.
Bournemouth are also big on numbers. Five of their last seven games have exceeded the 3.5 goal line, and the other two matches both finished 2-1. The Cherries have only won once in the last twelve games prior to this, and sit 16th in the table. A run of three without defeat is a good marker but you have to go back to November for their last clean sheet.
Manchester United v Stoke
Stoke might have a manager in place before this one kicks off on Monday night but they will struggle to have enough of an impact to make a difference at Old Trafford. Manchester United are -143 with BetVictor to beat a -1.5 Asian Handicap and that could be a bet worth taking.
The Red Devils hit a bit of a slump after the defeat to Manchester City effectively ended the title race, but they’ve been back to form the last twice with 2-0 wins over Everton and Derby. They may have drawn the last three versus Stoke but they’ve won eight of the last nine at Old Trafford when the Potters have been the visitors. The last two Premier League home games have been disappointing as Jose Mourino has had to watch his side held to draws by Southampton and Burnley; Stoke might well face the backlash against those results in front of the TV cameras on Monday night.
Stoke parted company with Mark Hughes after finding themselves in the relegation zone, and the new manager’s remit will be survival in the Premier League. The decision came as little surprise after Hughes’ plan of playing a weakened team against Chelsea backfired with the subsequent home defeat to Newcastle. After going out of the FA Cup to Coventry the former United striker was shown the door. Perhaps one or two players will take some responsibility after a dismal season which has seen them win just five of 22 games. Their away record is the worst in the division after just one win from eleven and a league high 27 goals conceded.
Liverpool and Man City to Draw
Sunday 14th January, 16:00 GMT
Bournemouth v Arsenal – Over 3.5 goals
Sunday 14th January, 13:30 GMT
Manchester United -1.5 to beat Stoke (Asian Handicap)
Monday 15th January, 20:00 GMT
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