Local bragging rights can go to the Gunners

ARSENAL vs TOTTENHAM

TOMORROW, 12.45PM, SKY SPORTS

EVERYONE was writing off Arsenal’s title credentials when they lost at home against Newcastle a fortnight ago, but two consecutive away wins and some dropped points by their rivals have seen them close the gap on Chelsea to just two points. They are normally very strong at the Emirates, but they’ve already lost to newly promoted West Brom and Newcastle here this season.

The north London derby is often a full-blooded encounter and tomorrow’s game promises to be exactly the same. Tottenham are in seventh place in the league, but they have lost their last two away games and you have to go back to 1993 for the last time they won at Arsenal. In fact, astonishingly they have now failed to win at a Big Four side in the league in their last 68 attempts.

Arsene Wenger will have been pleased with his side’s response following the Newcastle defeat and he’ll be keen to make sure they continue their momentum. His side have won 19 of their 25 home games since the start of last season and 15 of those victories have come by at least two goals. They have also won by two or more in five of their last eight league games hosting top-half, non-Big Four opposition.

Arsenal’s relatively young team have showed strong battling qualities in the past two games and they should have too much for a Spurs side that have struggled away from White Hart Lane in recent weeks. The Gunners can be backed at 4/6 with Paddy Power and that is a decent price – especially as they have won nine of their past 11 home meetings against Spurs.

This will always be a big game for both teams and their supporters, but Spurs followers would have to be concerned that their team have lost by the HT / FT double result in three of their past four away games. They have also gone down by two clear goals in all of their last five visits to Big Four opposition.

Arsenal always have plenty of chances at the Emirates, but they’ll need to get on the scoresheet relatively early if they’re to avoid making the crowd anxious. I fancy them to do that and to hold on for a win in the second half, so back the Arsenal HT / FT double result at 7/4 on Betdaq.

We’ve already seen how poor Harry Redknapp’s side are on the road at the top teams, so buying Arsenal supremacy at 1.1 with Sporting Index looks the right option.

POINTERS...

Arsenal at 4/6 with Paddy Power
Arsenal HT / FT at 7/4 on Betdaq
Buy Arsenal supremacy at 1.1 with Sporting Index

LIVERPOOL vs WEST HAM

TOMORROW, 5.30PM, ESPN

THINGS had been looking up for Liverpool following three straight wins, but a point from their last two away games against Wigan and Stoke isn’t inspiring form. However, they are a different side at Anfield and a win against bottom-side West Ham really should be a formality.

Avram Grant had a tough season at Portsmouth last year, and this one looks as though it’s going to be every bit as difficult. Although the Hammers have lost just two of their last eight league games, they’ve drawn five of them, all against relatively week sides. It also has to be a worry that they’ve lost 15 of their past 25 away games and have lost by a minimum of two goals in five of their six trips to Big Four outfits, scoring just once in the process.

Roy Hodgson is still under pressure, but he knows that another run of good results could lift his team pretty close to the top four. That would have seemed highly unlikely a month ago and a home game against an out of form West Ham side is exactly what his team need. Liverpool have won five of their last seven games at Anfield against bottom-six sides, with four victories coming by at least two goals.

The Reds are also good at bouncing back from a defeat – they have won eight and drawn two of their last 10 home games when they have lost their previous league match, with five wins by two or more goals. They are as short as 2/5 with Paddy Power in the outright market, but the Irish firm offer 5/4 about a Liverpool win to nil and that looks appealing with the Hammers only finding the next once in their last six games at Big Four opposition.

Punters can also have a go at the HT / FT home win at 11/10 on Betdaq, while spread bettors are advised to buy Liverpool supremacy at 1.25 with Sporting Index.

POINTERS...

Liverpool to win to nil at 5/4 with Paddy Power
Liverpool HT / FT at 11/10 on Betdaq
Buy Liverpool supremacy at 1.25 with Sporting Index