Saturday 27th September
Liverpool v Everton 12.45
What a match to start the weekend. Their two league meetings last season generated 10 goals, one of those a 4-0 win for Liverpool. However, that result belonged to a goal-crazy Liverpool, a side of them we haven’t seen much of this season. Everton, on the other hand, having shipped 13 goals in 5 league matches, are beginning to resemble manager Roberto Martinez’s previous club, Wigan, with regard to their defensive solidity.
It should be pointed out that Everton goalkeeper, Tim Howard, has endured a calamitous time between the sticks recently and can be directly blamed for some of those concessions. So, with uncertainty surrounding the form of both teams heading into this fixture, we must look to the market for some guidance. Not surprisingly, Liverpool are the favourites to take the win with Betvictor presently offering 10/11. I have a feeling that this may well end up a draw and with that in mind, Boylesports are swinging a tempting 29/10 out the window.
Manchester United v West Ham 15.00
With only a win and two draws to show for themselves after 5 matches, it already feels like it’s “squeaky bum time” for United. On the back of last week’s barely believable 5-3 loss to Leicester, they now find themselves in the midst of an all-out injury crisis in defense with new signing, Rojo, the only recognized senior centre back. It remains to be seen how Louis van Gaal will remedy this but word at the moment seems to suggest that he may well have to promote a youngster from the under-21 side.
It borders on the absurd that a team which spent so heavily on recruitment this summer could find themselves in such a position so early on and yet that is the grim reality that confronts them. And they are to face a buoyant West Ham team, fresh off the back of a very good win against Liverpool and hitting a decent seam of form recently. Given the often shambolic nature of United’s performances this season, coupled with the real attacking flair and aggression shown by West Ham of late, I think the price of 8/1 from Boylesports for a West Ham win is well worth a wager.
Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur 17.30
The first north London derby of the year offers a tantalizing glimpse into the netherworld of two expensively-assembled teams, both of whom already seem to be treading water. Their 3-0 win against Villa last week notwithstanding, Arsenal have been rather underwhelming and are again suffering from their never-ending affliction of injuries to players, most specifically in defence where Wenger once again displayed his soaring grasp of mathematics by letting three defenders go and replacing them with two during the recent transfer market. As it stands, were Arsenal to play a really good side at the moment, they might struggle.
Happily for them, they face a Spurs side that hasn’t won a league match in over a month as the wheels have come crashing off their decent early season form. Arsenal have won five of the last six derbies and there isn’t much to say that the outcome of this match will be any different. With that in mind, check out Totesport for their price of 4/5 for the Arsenal win.