Difficult to believe we are only seven games into the new Barclays Premier League season, right? It is, so far, shaping up to be a truly unpredictable and exciting 2015/2016 campaign- making the common weekly accumulator risky business for punters.
Everton V Liverpool
The drama won’t stop this weekend as Everton host Liverpool in the first Merseyside Derby of the season. With pressure mounting on the shoulders of Brendan Rodgers, could a loss spell the end to his job at Anfield? Sunday’s game marks crunch time for the under-fire coach.
An insight into how much a derby win means to the fans would have been a useful alternative to training ahead of this famous fixture. After two draws between the sides last season, fans will be eager to see big tackles, energy and plenty of attacking football.
It could be an all guns blazing attitude displayed by Liverpool on Sunday as the players fight for their manager, while Roberto Martinez’s improved Everton side arrive into the game full of confidence on the back of last week’s remarkable win against West Brom, in which they turned around a two goal deficit.
This weekend’s game is, perhaps, the toughest to call in a long time. Everton will feel this is their time to get one over on their old rivals, with Liverpool’s defence continuing to look unconvincing. Experience aside, this could be a game for young Jordan Rossiter who, more than any current Liverpool player, knows how much a win means in this fixture. His hunger and energy could make him an asset on this occasion given the importance of the Liverpool midfield dominating James McCarthy and Ross Barkley.
Strikers Daniel Sturridge and Romelu Lukaku come into the game having each scored two for their sides last week. Expect goals at Goodison Park.
Arsenal V Manchester United
Arsenal’s disappointing week in the Champions League means Sunday’s game against Manchester United is a must win for them. With so much expectation surrounding them at the beginning of the season, they have to prove they are strong contenders for a title charge.
As the season progresses, Louis Van Gaal’s Manchester United side are gradually becoming dark horses as they continue to improve. Chris Smalling has looked solid in defence and is on his way towards developing into a world class centre back. His pace and understanding of the game means Arsenal will need to be at their passing best to breach United’s back line, with the addition of the finishing touches needed in front of goal. The pace of Theo Walcott could well be Arsenal’s strongest ally in terms of getting the better of Daley Blind while Olivier Giroud’s overall creativity and hold up play requires the close attention of Chris Smalling, thereby freeing up the likes of Alex Oxlade Chamberlin and Alexis Sanchez to run beyond the away side’s back four. Options for Arsenal.
Like the Merseyside Derby, Arsenal V Manchester United is far from the great fixture it was a few years ago. No Keane, no Viera, no Henry, no Scholes. While both teams fight for a victory, they must also be responsible for living up to the huge rivalry in order to remind everyone of why the Premier League remains to be the best league in the world.
With the Emirates playing host on Sunday, United might opt to play an increasingly common counter attacking game away from home in response to Arsenal’s inevitable wish to dominate possession and dictate the tempo of the game. The pace of Anthony Martial and Memphis Depay could be complimented by the creativity of Wayne Rooney and Bastian Schweinsteiger, which could well hurt Arsenal as they commit men forward.
Sunday’s encounter has the makings to be an intriguing spectacle. An Arsenal win would reignite this title race while a loss would put pressure on Arsene Wenger. Despite Arsenal’s home advantage, United look the favourites. While they will be happy to slow down the game, they can’t afford not to pose some kind of attacking threat otherwise Arsenal will eventually find their way through.