Premier League: Midfield Magicians

It’s derby day in the Premier League, with the Merseyside version serving as an aperitif for the Manchester main course.

The early game sees Everton travel across Stanley Park to take on Liverpool, seeking their first win at Anfield since September 1999.

This won’t be easy. Liverpool are playing well and are unbeaten in their last six league games, winning five and scoring 19 goals.

However, the appointment of Sam Allardyce as manager has steadied the ship, and Everton have won their last two matches.

That said, this game may prove too tricky for even Big Sam’s magic. We’ll look to Liverpool’s Brazilian star Philippe Coutinho to run the show. He has scored seven goals and assisted in the scoring of five in his last 10 Premier League games, and we expect him to be named man of the match.

Now we turn to the big game of the day – second in the league hosting the top team, Manchester United versus Manchester City, and Jose Mourinho against Pep Guardiola.

This game is tricky to call. United have been on a good run, and their victory at Arsenal last weekend showed a more attacking bent than has been the norm. However, they now miss influential midfielder Paul Pogba due to suspension. They will need to attack the City back line to win the game, but Pogba’s absence deprives the home team of much needed athleticism.

City lost midweek, their first defeat of the season, and have had to come from behind in a couple of recent games. Still eight points clear at the top of the table, there have been signs of fatigue.

However, their talented midfield may well dominate the ball today, given Pogba’s absence, and this will threaten United’s stingy defence. We’ll take a punt that City run the show, and Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne scores from outside the area.

Recommendations:

Coutinho to be man of the match, 1 pt, at 7/2, William Hill

De Bruyne scores from outside the area, 1 pt, at 10/1, Paddy Power 

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