Premier League Weekend Preview: Why Anything Is Possible At Anfield


It’s a day for derbies this weekend and it all kicks off on Merseyside at lunchtime when Everton stroll across Stanley Park to try and win their first game at Anfield since 1999. Steven Gerrard was sent off that day, along with Sander Westerveld and Franny Jeffers, while Steve Staunton ended up in goal for the last 16 minutes. A repeat performance would certainly be entertaining for the neutral, but given the defences on display, there should be more goals than cards here. Everton have shipped a staggering 13 already this season, enough to make Liverpool’s eight concessions look comparatively respectable. Goalkeepers are a touchy subject right now. Tim Howard had a stinker against Crystal Palace, while Liverpool fans are beginning to suspect that Simon Mignolet might not be the second coming of Ray Clemence after all. Ordinarily, you’d suspect a cagey encounter with both managers keeping it tight, but Roberto Martinez and Brendan Rodgers couldn’t keep anything tight if they were handed a roll of cling film and shown an instructional video. This should be fun, if nothing else. 

It's 4.40 for there to be at least five goals at Anfield

The second big derby of the day is in North London where Arsenal, whose steady accumulation of points looks rather better than many of the performances that secured them, meet Tottenham Hotspur, whose players seem to understand Maurico Pochettino’s tactical instructions as well as Joey Essex understands hieroglyphics. It’s another derby where defeat is unthinkable, even by the ferocious standards of this fixture. Tottenham haven’t kept a clean sheet since they walloped Queens Park Rangers in August, and what does that count for these days? Arsenal only kept their first clean sheet of the season last weekend at Villa Park. This isn’t a top level football match, this isn’t the cream of the Premier League, this is a chalk circle in a car park at 11pm and the only rule is, “No-one saw nuffink, awight?” 

five or more strikes at The Emirates Too? That'll be 5.30

Chelsea bumped into their ex last weekend. He looked great, it upset them and it cost them two crucial points. Watch them try and shrug it off with a mumbled, “bovvered,” at Stamford Bridge on Saturday against an Aston Villa team who have spent far too much time in the bathroom of late. A vicious stomach bug decimated Paul Lambert’s team last week, but they should be over it now. Villa were very unlucky not to take anything from last year’s visit to the Bridge when they were denied what appeared to be a clear penalty. The year before that, however, they were beaten senseless, obliterated by eight clear goals. That probably won’t happen this year. Prior to Arsenal’s romp, Villa had only conceded one goal in four games, probably through fear of being shouted at by the assistant manager. And yet Chelsea have started the season so well, it’s hard to see anything other than a home win. 

Said Home Win is 1.57 with Villa getting a one goal headstart

Manchester United would rather like a home win, but then any kind of win would do these days. And they *should* get one. After all, it’s been more than six years since West Ham even scored at Old Trafford. But we know better than to trust historical precedence now, don’t we? These are no longer the Red Devils we’d come to adore/despise* (* - delete according to preference). With his defence depleted by injury, Louis van Gaal will look to Mal Donaghy to protect David de Gea from harm, and it has to be hoped that the 57-year-old Northern Irishman has kept himself in shape over the years. West Ham are quite good this season and there was nothing fortunate about their victory over Liverpool last weekend. They’re dynamic, aggressive and actually quite entertaining. Yes, I’m as disturbed as you about the whole thing. 

West Ham are 8.00 to win. They couldn't, could they?

Champions Manchester City haven’t won in four games and they won’t have it easy away at a Hull City side that have scored in every game they’ve played. Quite out of character, Nikica Jelavic has hit three in five and is 4.20 to score again.

Crystal Palace, still unbeaten under Neil Warnock, will hope to ruin Leicester City’s unexpected charge up the table in a game that couldn’t be more nil-nil (9.50) if they bricked up the goals.

Southampton are merrily poppycocking their critics this season, but let’s see what they’re like when they’re favourites. They are 2.75 to score at least three as they host QPR, a team with a defence as strong as DLT’s assertion that he, “thought her chest was on fire and was only trying to pat out the flames.” 

Sunderland are yet to win a game this season, but they might fancy their chances against Major Dick Winters’ ‘Band of Jacks’. Swansea started so well, but reality has bitten them in the bottom. They’ve lost two on the bounce and it's 2.75 to become three.. 

Sunday’s odd choice for a live game sees West Bromwich Albion (three entire goals this season), against newly promoted Burnley (just the one please, Vicar). Expect a net frenzy. It's 76.00 for 3-3.

 

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