After a stunning week for English clubs in the Champions League, the cream of the Premier League return home looking to impose their continental class on some domestic dust-ups. The Manchester clubs remain as market principles for the title, with City 2/5 favourites and United second best at 4/1. The pair have what look like straightforward assignments this weekend, as they face Burnley at home and Huddersfield away respectively. The meatier matchups this weekend, though, see North London go toe to toe with Merseyside.
Football betting expert Dan Roebuck consults his crystal ball…
Deficient Defences To Be Breached At Goodison
After failing to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in 20 years, there was much talk about how Arsenal would adapt to playing in the Europa League. Well, it’s been a case of so far so good for Arsene Wenger, as he has rotated his squad well. Off the back of both European games this campaign, the Gunners have managed positive results – 2-0 at home to Brighton and 0-0 away to Chelsea. For Everton, it’s been very different, and the curse of the continent’s secondary competition has struck the Goodison Park club, with defeats after both of their group stage outings.
In some ways it is no surprise to see Arsenal chalked up as even money jollies for their second trip to Merseyside this term – the capital club have won 11 times in front of the Gwladys Street end in Premier League history. However, Arsenal’s away performances in the league have been poor this term, with three defeats suggesting they are as soft as Troy Deeney made out after last week’s 2-1 loss at Watford.
Everton’s price of 14/5 is justifiable given their awful start to the season – they are still 25/1 to be relegated though. Wayne Rooney’s late penalty at Brighton might have saved Ronald Koeman his job but another setback could see the Dutchman’s position untenable. With home and away defences suspect – Everton haven’t managed a top-flight clean sheet this term while only Crystal Palace have conceded more away Premier League goals in the current calendar year than the Gunners – both teams to score at 4/6 seems a sensible call, with over 2.5 goals at 5/6 another fair bet.
Spurs Wembley Wobbles Compounded By Coutinho
Liverpool might have equalled the record away margin of victory in a Champions League game thanks to their 7-0 hammering of Maribor, but there was no doubt that it was Tottenham’s 1-1 draw at Real Madrid that was the better result. The pair will take plenty of confidence from their midweek European sorties into their Wembley meeting on Sunday, in which Spurs are 11/10 favourites, with Liverpool 12/5 and the draw 5/2.
Mauricio Pochettino’s team finally won in the league at home last time out, beating Bournemouth 1-0 after dominating throughout. Eddie Howe’s side attempted to do what Chelsea, Burnley and Swansea had done before them, which was to sit deep and soak up Spurs pressure (Tottenham have averaged over 70% possession at Wembley in the league this term, even managing 68% versus Chelsea). This tactic could play straight into Liverpool’s hands though, who looked uncomfortable attempting to take the game to defensive-minded Manchester United team at Anfield last weekend.
It’s also worth pointing out that Spurs are winless in nine league games against The Reds, with six defeats in that sequence. Jurgen Klopp’s team are hugely inconsistent but might be worth a flutter getting half a goal start at 3/4. Both teams have started strongly more often than not in games immediately after group stage fixtures in Europe, with three of the four matches so far featuring a goal inside the opening half an hour. With that in mind, it could be worth investing in the 29/10 that both teams score in the first period. Tottenham are 11/25 to finish in the top four, but it’s Liverpool’s odds of 5/4 that could be slashed after the 90 minutes is up at Wembley.
Finally, I’ve been hugely impressed with Phillipe Coutinho’s attitude and form since his on-off transfer to Barcelona broke down. The Brazilian has netted twice before against Tottenham, can boast three goals in his last four games and is a value play at 8/1 to hit the opener and 14/5 to score at anytime.