The Premier League is back after a long international break which saw England earn 0-0 draws against Germany and Brazil. As good as those results may be for the Three Lions, let’s hope we see a bit more goal-mouth action in the Premier League this weekend!
Top of the bill is the North London derby at Saturday lunchtime, when Spurs travel the short distance to play Arsenal at the Emirates. It is one of the most hotly contested derbies in England and this one promises to be just as fiery. Plenty of punters will be rushing in to back Spurs on the basis that they appear to be a better side than their local rivals these days, but their record on the Gunners’ ground is rather poor, with just one win since 1998. Moreover, current form tends to go out of the window when it comes to derby games, so we would advise a note of caution for anyone keen to back Spurs at relatively short odds.
We’ve been sweet on Burnley for most of this season and the Clarets have rarely let us down. Once again the bookies appear to have underestimated Sean Dyche’s team and they are a good price to beat a lacklustre Swansea side at Turf Moor. the Swans are still in the relegation zone and have lost four games in a row. By contrast, Burnley are in 7th place – level on points with Arsenal.
Slaven Bilic was sacked as West Ham manager shortly after the 4-1 home defeat to Liverpool, and David Moyes was appointed very quickly to take up the reins. The Hammers travel to Watford for the former Everton and Manchester United manager’s first game, and there could be a spot of value about ‘new manager syndrome’ kicking in against a side which has lost the last three games.
Arsenal v Spurs
First up the smart money is on a stalemate at the Emirates at +260 with BetVictor.
Spurs trio of Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Harry Winks all sat out the England internationals, but have recovered sufficiently to be able to feature in this game. Alexandre Lacazette is likely to earn a recall to the Arsenal line-up after scoring twice for France against Germany in midweek, but Olivier Giroud is definitely out and Danny Welbeck is set for a late fitness test. Arsenal (6th) trail Spurs (3rd) by four points in the Premier League table, so as well as local bragging rights, this game takes on plenty of importance in the race for Europe.
The Gunners have a strong record at home against their neighbours, winning four and drawing three of the last seven at the Emirates, but those three stalemates came in the last three meetings here. In terms of recent form, Arsene Wenger’s side have won all five top-flight fixtures on home soil this season, but this will be by far their toughest test to date.
Spurs have won four of their five fixtures on the road this term, the only defeat coming away at Manchester United last time out. It’s very tempting to conclude that they are the better side on paper, but at the odds, the draw has to be the call in what is always a tight game.
Burnley v Swansea
Odds of +120 with BetVictor about Burnley claiming another home victory should be snapped up ahead of Saturday afternoon’s match against the Swans.
The Clarets have gathered 1-0 wins against Newcastle and Southampton in the last two to maintain their excellent start to the season, while Swansea are on a run of four straight defeats. Burnley may not have been at their impressive best at home this term – W2 D2 L1 – but they are traditionally strong in front of their raucous fans and are worth backing at odds-against.
Swansea are second-bottom of the table with 8 points so far and defeats to Leicester, Manchester United, Arsenal and Brighton in the last four have seen them find the net just twice. One of the only bright spots this season has been the form of on-loan Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham, who made his England debut in the international break, but he will be scrapping for chances against a well-drilled Burnley defence.
Watford v West Ham
West Ham have been consistently bottom of the Premier League charts for distance covered and number of sprints per game so far this season – a sure sign that either players aren’t putting in the work or training regimes aren’t what they should be. David Moyes said in his pre-match press conference that he expects his players to ‘pull their fingers out’, and he is clearly expecting a reaction. ‘New manager syndrome’ has been known to have an effect on many a team in the past and if the players rise to the occasion Moyes is in with a chance of claiming his first win from his first game.
Watford have impressed this season but they are on a run of three straight losses to Everton, Stoke and Chelsea, and have been much better on their travels than at home. The Hornets have gathered 10 points on their travels but only five at home – their only victory on home turf this season was the late win they snatched against Arsenal after coming from a goal down.
There’s no doubt this is a ‘long shot’ but at the odds, it is worth a chance that a change in manager will galvanise West Ham into producing a good performance.
Arsenal and Spurs to Draw
Saturday 18th November, 12:30 GMT
Burnley to beat Swansea
Saturday 18th November, 15:00 GMT
West Ham to beat Watford
Sunday 19th November, 16:00 GMT