BEN CLEMINSON PREVIEWS THE WEEKEND’S BIG DERBY CLASHES AND BILL ESDAILE WITH HIS BEST BETS AT NEWMARKET
IT IS a great weekend for rivalries, with two of the biggest derbies in the country – those of Merseyside and North London – taking place tomorrow.
The capital’s most fiercely contested clash will play out in the late kick-off as Arsenal host Tottenham. The Gunners might have had the lions’ share of success over the last two decades, but it’s fair to say Spurs have significantly closed the gap within that time.
Arsenal are unbeaten in the league, but haven’t exactly shone, drawing three and suffering lacklustre defeats to Borussia Dortmund and Southampton in cup competitions. But there were signs their season was heading the right way with a 3-0 triumph away at Aston Villa last week, with the under-fire pair of Mesut Ozil and Danny Welbeck both finding the net.
Arsene Wenger won’t be too disappointed to have lost to Saints in midweek with an inexperienced team and his men are rightful favourites to claim glory at the Emirates. Arsenal have won five of the last six meetings, and have the bonus of home advantage.
After a bright start to life under Mauricio Pochettino, Spurs have stuttered and are without a win in the league in three. Nottingham Forest gave them a scare on Wednesday night and it’s been a story of their season so far that they look almost disinterested, with little urgency in their play.
Both clubs share similar problems at present in that they are top-heavy, with Arsenal in particular currently going through a defensive injury crisis. Add vulnerabilities at the back to the fact that this fixture has been notorious for near-rugby scorelines recently – there have been 35 goals in the last 10 meetings, a handful which saw five or more strikes – and total goals should be bought at 3 with Sporting Index.
Goals look set to feature, but I’m expecting the hosts to gain the upper hand here and buying their supremacy at 0.85 with Sporting Index is advised.
Liverpool and Everton take centre-stage at lunchtime with the pair in poor form. The Reds have lost their last two in the league and are clearly missing Luis Suarez up front. Mario Balotelli has never really convinced wherever he’s gone and, in the pressure cooker environment of a Merseyside derby, he could be a liability.
The Toffees have won just one league game so far and have conceded a league-high of 13 goals from those five games. The two league encounters between these opponents last season produced 10 goals and if you fancy another high-scoring one then total goals are available to buy at 3.25 with Sporting Index.
However, I’d rather trust Liverpool to raise their game and give the Kop another match to remember on the back of that incredible 14-13 penalty shoot-out win over Middlesbrough on Tuesday night.
Take Steven Gerrard and Co. to click into gear against rivals they have lost to just once in the last 15 matches, and who haven’t won at Anfield in the league in 14. Buy the host’s supremacy at 0.8 with Sporting Index.
Buy Arsenal supremacy at 0.85 with Sporting Index
Buy total goals at 3 with Sporting Index (Arsenal v Tottenham)
Buy Liverpool supremacy at 0.8 with Sporting Index