Sunday’s Premier League highlight comes from the Etihad, with Manchester City hosting Liverpool, the last two teams to claim the title.
The two teams renew their rivalry with both showing signs of returning to form after iffy starts to the season. Both have won their three games in Europe. City are unbeaten in eight since shipping five to Leicester, while Liverpool are haven’t lost in six since walking into a firestorm at Aston Villa.
That said, Liverpool are still seen as vulnerable defensively with the absence of lynch pin Virgil van Dijk, while City have not been as free scoring as usual, missing striker Sergio Aguero acutely.
City have won their last three home league games against the Reds by an aggregate score of 11-1, but know that defeat here would put them 8 points behind their main rivals, a big gap. They can’t avoid defeat. Liverpool would be happy to take a draw, reestablish themselves at top of the table and cross off one of their more tricky fixtures as they attempt to defend their title. Given both teams would accept the draw, we’ll take it.
The opening game of the day sees Tottenham travel to the West Midlands to take on West Brom.
The hosts enter the game in the bottom three, having lost 2-0 at Fulham last weekend. They are struggling to score goals, and are having difficulty keeping them out – a combination that spells relegation!
Spurs, by contrast, are beginning to show some form. They beat Brighton 2-0 last weekend without playing particularly well, surely a good sign. They are defending a lot better, having brought in a couple of new players, and in Harry Kane and Son Heung-min they have a couple of forwards playing with real confidence.
It’s difficult to choose which one of those two Spurs player to side with, but we’ve seen Kane drop deeper in a number of away games to provide ammunition for the Korean. Consequently, we’ll take Son to open the scoring.
The second match sees Leicester take on Wolves at the King Power Stadium, looking for a win to take them back to the top of the table.
This is a difficult game to call, with both teams playing very well. That said, Leicester have shown a clear preference for teams coming on to them, enabling the pace of Vardy and Barnes to counterattack. Yet they failed to score at home against West Ham and Aston Villa when they weren’t given that space.
Wolves are also a solid side defensively who like to counter. They have a penchant for keeping things tight in the first half, before going for the win in the second half when their opponents are more tired.
With all this in mind, we’re going to side with a goalless first half, and then look on and enjoy the second stanza.
The late games sees Arsenal host Aston Villa, with both sides looking at the top four if they can collect the three points.
The Gunners have won their last three league home games against tonight’s opponents by an aggregate score of 12-2. Although this Villa are playing much better than previous versions, it’s difficult to see much beyond a home win – something the bookies have fully priced in.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang opened the scoring for Arsenal last weekend against Manchester United, in what turned out to be the only goal. We’ll look for Gabon star to repeat the dose again.
West Brom/Tottenham: Son to score first at 4/1
Leicester/Wolves: Goalless first half at 6/4
Man City/Liverpool: A draw at 3/1
Arsenal/Aston Villa: Aubameyang to score first at 16/5
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