European football takes a break and soon, football across Europe will take a break. However the Premier League continues to boldly stay where other leagues have long since left and as footballing families across Europe plan a period of rest and recuperation, English football prepares to soldier on in a gruelling mid-season schedule of back to back football.
And it’s bad enough that regardless of who wins the ‘big games’ this weekend (United-City and Everton-Tottenham look interesting, although in terms of league positions Arsenal-West Brom is good too), the points won here may be dropped by the end of December.
Let’s start with the big one first, the Manchester derby.
Manchester City v Manchester United Preview
The Manchester derby takes centre stage on Sunday (1.30pm KO, Live on Sky Sports 1), and United are fancied at 3.25 withBetfred
to beat City at the Etihad and pull six points clear of their arch rivals.
The Red Devils currently sit top of the table and come into the game on the back of three consecutive wins.
Although beaten 1-0 in their midweek Champions League
game, they had already qualified and it was clear that Sir Alex was more concerned about this clash.
Robin van Persie was given a rest, and the Dutchman is capable of causing the City defence nightmares.
He is priced up at 6.5 with bet365
net the opener, and can also be backed at 2.63 with Boylesports
to net anytime.
The former makes much more appeal from a betting
perspective, as history shows that this is a traditionally tight and hard fought game where one goal is enough to secure all three points.
Five of the last six Manchester league derbies at the Etihad have finished with a 1-0 scoreline – with United winning 3, City 2 and the other match resulting in a 0-0 draw.
That makes 1-0 the obvious bet in the correct score market, and that is a 13 chance with bet365
Under 2.5 goals also looks well worth a wager at 2.2 with bet365
Everton v Tottenham Preview
Spurs take on Everton at Goodison Park and loom good value at 3.8 with Boylesports
to come out on top in what promises to be a tight affair.
The Lilywhites have really found their form of late and come into the game in fourth place after three consecutive wins.
They are two places ahead of the Toffees, who have themselves looked pretty solid this season but have now drawn their last three games 1-1.
As far as the stats are concerned, Everton had only won two of their first 18 Premier League meetings with Spurs (W2 D9 L7) before winning in each of the last two seasons.
Jermain Defoe has scored three braces this season, and looks a decent punt in the first goalscorer market at 7.5 with bet365
and Paddy Po
In the correct score market I like the look of a 2-1 win for Spurs which is chalked up at 13 with Betfred
The other bet that makes plenty off appeal is Spurs to score first as they have conceded the least opening goals in the opening 15 minutes (0) and whereas David Moyes side have conceded the most (6).
Given that stat, the 2.38 on offer with bet365
about Spurs breaking the deadlock looks too big.
Sunderland v Chelsea Preview
Chelsea take on Sunderland at the Stadium of Light and at 1.8 Betfred
and Paddy Power
look worthy odds-on shots to secure a much needed three points.
The Blues have won only five of their last 19 Premier League away games and haven’t won in their in the last seven games in the top flight.
However the stats are good as far as this game is concerned as they have won won 14 and lost one of the last 15 league games against the Black Cats.
The home side have also won just two of their last 22 PL matches (W2 D12 L8) and have failed to score in two of their last three home games.
That suggest that Chelsea are worthy odds-on shots, and they come into the game on the back of a 6-1 win in the Champions League in midweek.
Although that win ultimately failed to save them exiting the competition, it did provide them with their first win under Rafa Benitez and saw Fernando Torres finally get back among the goals.
The Spaniard scored two against FC Nordsjaelland, and will hopefully of gained much needed confidence from doing so.
If that’s the case then he could be a bit of value in the first goalscorer market at 6.5 with Paddy Power
, who also go a tasty looking 2.7 about him netting anytime.
I fancy Chelsea to win this without reply, and they are a top priced 3 with Paddy Power
to win to nil.
In the correct score market 2-0 and 3-0 appeal at odds of 8 and 14 with Betfred
and Paddy Power
Arsenal v West Brom Preview
Arsenal are 1.5 with Betfred
and Paddy Power
to get back to winning ways against West Brom at the Emirates and are strongly fancied to do so.
The Gunners have won just three of their last 10 Premier League home games (W3 D4 L3), and have not won in their last four games in all competitions.
However they have had a busy campaign with Champions League and League Cup runs meaning they played virtually every midweek so far this season.
It was therefore not surprising that Arsene Wenger therefore opted to rest most of his first against Olympiakos in the week with the aim to focus on this game.
That could well have been a wise move, and West Brom look the ideal opponents to bounce back and secure a much needed three points if the stats are anything to go by.
The Baggies have never kept a clean sheet in their 12 Premier League games against Arsenal, conceding 28 goals in total.
In the last five league games between the pair at the Emirates, Arsenal have also lost just once (W3, D1) and have twice managed to put three past West Brom in that period.
Olivier Giroud looks the type of player who could cause all sorts of problems to the West Brom back-line and at 5.5 withPaddy Power
looks a worthy favourite in the first goalscorer market.
Over 2.5 goals also looks a solid bet at 1.62 with bet365
West Ham v Liverpool Preview
Liverpool travel to Upton Park to take on West Ham, and are 2.4 with Betfred
to come away with all three points.
The stats are certainly good as far as the Reds are concerned, as the home side have won just two and lost 13 of the last 18 Premier League games against them.
Brendan Rodgers’ men have also lost just on of their last 10 games in the top flight (W4 D5 L1), but it’s fair to say that they have not been at their best by a long chalk and have lacked the cutting edge to secure all three points in games they should be winning on paper.
Having said that they are more than capable on their day of beating anyone, and although West ham put in a cracking performance last weekend to beat Chelsea an on-song Liverpool should prove too strong in this.
Glen Johnson has scored in his last two appearances against his old club, and has had 10 more shots than any other defender in the PL this season (24).
That makes him looks a lively outsider in the first goalscorer market, and at odds of 23 with bet365
he looks well worth a small each-way wager.
Liverpool were beaten 3-1 the last time they met in this fixture back in the 2010/11 season, but prior to that had registered 3-0 and 3-2 victories.