The Premier League has saved the best until last on Sunday with two excellent fixtures for armchair fans to enjoy. Everton play host to Arsenal in the lunchtime game with both teams under different top-flight pressures, while Tottenham welcome Liverpool to Wembley in the pick of the weekend’s matches.
Spurs secured a very creditable 1-1 draw away at Real Madrid during the week in the Champions League, and despite riding their luck on occasions, they were good value for a point. Liverpool’s task in Europe was markedly different as they thumped Slovenian minnows Maribor 7-0 in a relatively ‘easy’ tie. Firminho, Coutinho and Salah were all on target in that emphatic win, but a group stage thrashing cannot paper over the cracks of Liverpool’s Premier League form. It’s just one win in five for the Reds and Jurgen Klopp has come under real scrutiny for the first time since taking charge at Anfield.
Mauricio Pochettino’s record is under no such examination and Spurs are third in the table behind the two Manchester clubs. The North London club had won five on the spin in all competitions prior to that draw in the Bernabeu, and they’ve kept clean sheets in the last three at home.
Everton are in trouble after the behaviour of a minority of fans in the Europa League clash with Lyon, and the team are also in trouble in the Premier League. The Toffees sit 16th in the table, just two points above the drop zone, after winning only two of eight fixtures so far. Ronald Koeman fans will defend his position by pointing to a tough opening run of games, but it doesn’t get any easier with the visit of Arsenal.
Optimistic Everton fans will point to Arsenal’s away record this season as a reason to believe the turnaround can start on Sunday. The Gunners have won away at BATE and Red Star Belgrade in the Europa League, but are yet to win on their travels domestically. Wenger has seen his side lose at Stoke, Watford and Liverpool, and they only have a point from a 0-0 draw at Chelsea to show for their away efforts.
Tottenham v Liverpool
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Tottenham are unbeaten in all competitions since the 2-1 defeat to Chelsea back in August, winning seven and drawing three of the last ten games. Critics may point to their Wembley record (Spurs are playing home matches at the national stadium this term) where they’ve been held to draws by Burnley and Swansea, but they’ve also beaten Dortmund and Bournemouth at the ground. Spurs had won five on the trot before the excellent draw in Madrid, including wins over local rivals West Ham, and a 4-0 away thumping of Huddersfield.
Liverpool smashed seven past Maribor but they only won one of the previous eight games. That was a 3-2 away win at bottom three Leicester, and they were held to draws by Newcastle and Burnley in that disappointing sequence. Jurgen Klopp was left frustrated by Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United tactics last week in a dour 0-0 draw, but one suspects this will be an entirely different game. Neither manager here adopts a pragmatic approach and this could be a very entertaining fixture for the neutral.
Liverpool have a good record against Spurs but on balance of recent form, it’s the home side that carry the cash. Harry Kane is in red hot form for Tottenham, while Liverpool’s star striker – Sadio Mane – is out injured.
Everton v Arsenal
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The 2-1 loss to Lyon in the Europa League was their third on home soil this season, after defeats to Spurs and Burnley in the Premier League. However, losing games at Goodison is not something that Everton make a habit of, and they have a good record against Arsenal. The Gunners have only won once here in five Premier League visits and Toffees players will raise their game as they try to ease the pressure on under-fire manager Koeman.
Arsenal have flattered to deceive again this season and Watford striker Troy Deeney questioned their character in the aftermath of the 2-1 defeat at the Hornets last week. Arsene Wenger said his team had once again proved their character in the 1-0 away win at Red Star Belgrade on Thursday night, but there are still question marks in the Premier League. It’s seven wins in nine across all competitions, but none of those have been on the road in the English top flight. Arsenal lost their first away game 1-0 at Stoke and were trounced 4-0 by Liverpool on their next road trip. A 0-0 draw at Chelsea was a much more respectable result but the good work was undone late on at Watford as they capitulated under the home side’s pressure.
Both managers rested players in midweek ahead of this fixture so Thursday’s matches shouldn’t be a huge factor. It’s an ultra-competitive game, as we have seen over many seasons, and Everton are a decent bet to come away with the minimum of a draw on home soil.
Spurs to beat Liverpool
Sunday 22nd October, 16:00 GMT
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Everton or Draw
Sunday 22nd October, 13:30 GMT
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