All eyes will be at the Emirates on Saturday lunchtime when Arsenal host Tottenham in the first North London derby of the 2017-18 Premier League season.
After a seemingly endless international break, we’re thrown back into Premier League action with the mouthwatering North London Derby on Saturday afternoon, with Tottenham aiming to close the gap on runaway leaders Manchester City and Arsenal looking to break into the top four.
Last time out Arsenal came up against Manchester City, losing 3-1 against the rampant side to make it four wins, one draw, and one defeat from their last six outings in all competitions. In the Premier League, they have won six of their 11 games, without dismal defeats to Stoke, Liverpool, Watford, and Manchester City marring their record.
Arsenal hasn’t won any of their last six Premier League meetings with Spurs (D4 L2) – their longest ever winless run against their rivals in league competition.
Tottenham have won only two of their last 32 away league visits to face Arsenal (W2 D13 L17), winning 3-1 at Highbury in May 1993 and 3-2 at the Emirates in November 2010.
Meetings between these sides in the Premier League have seen both teams score on 34 occasions – more than any other fixture in the competition.
Prediction: 12 & Over 1.5
Leicester City vs Manchester City
Claude Puel seems to have turned Leicester’s fortunes around since taking over from the sacked Craig Shakespeare. Before the international break they played out a 2-2 draw at Stoke to make it six games unbeaten in all competitions, but this is by far their biggest test so far.
In the Premier League, they have won two and drawn three of their last five outings, with that haul taking them up to 12th in the table and just two off entering the top half of the table. If things continue in this vein they are in for a very promising season, but their chances on Saturday are looking slim.
Manchester City are steaming towards the Premier League title at the moment. They have dropped just two points in the league this season, winning ten of their 11 matches so far and doing so in style. The 38 goals they have scored is a huge 15 goals more than the second highest scorers, Manchester United, and only their cross-city rivals have a better defensive record than them.
The Citizens are in a similar mood in Europe too, winning all four of their Champions League group games so far and scoring 12 goals in the process. Their last competitive defeat came all the way back in April in the FA Cup, so it’s anybody’s guess if they can be stopped this season
The Foxes have lost their last eight Premier League games against sides who started the day top of the table, conceding at least two goals each time. Their last win against the league leaders came in January 1998 versus Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Man City’s haul of 31 points with a goal difference of +31 is the best ever start after 11 games to a Premier League season. The Citizens themselves are the only side in Premier League history to have recorded 34 points from 12 games, doing so in 2011-12.
Prediction: Under 4.5
Manchester United vs Newcastle
Manchester United fell further behind their cross-city rivals before the international break as they lost 1-0 at Stamford Bridge, resigning them to their second defeat of the season and leaving them eight points adrift of the noisy neighbors, who are growing increasingly loud with every week that passes.
This won’t come as good news for Newcastle, who fell to a 1-0 loss at home to Bournemouth last time around and have only won one of their last six league games, despite a brief resurgence back in September.
The Magpies are still in a respectable 11th position in the league table, but with only six points between them and the drop spots, they will know that things can change fast. Rafa Benitez’ side has struggled on their travels too, losing three of their five league games and only managing a win over the torrid Swansea back in September.
Manchester United have won 22 and lost just one of their last 32 league games against Newcastle United at Old Trafford (W22 D9 L1) – 0-1 in December 2013 courtesy of a Yohan Cabaye goal.
Newcastle United have lost 25 times against Manchester United in the Premier League; only versus Arsenal have they lost as many games in the competition.
Indeed, the Magpies have lost 84 matches in all competitions against the Red Devils, more than any other side in their history.
Prediction: Man Utd Wins
Liverpool vs Southampton
Liverpool has already had to endure a difficult period of form this season, but after winning just two in a run of ten games in all competitions, it looks like Jurgen Klopp has made it through to the other side relatively unscathed.
Southampton’s last outing was a 1-0 home loss to Burnley, which sends them down to 13th in the league table with only a four-point gap between them and the drop zone. They have managed just nine goals in the league this season, and three of those came in a single match, further highlighting their issues up front.
Southampton has won the same number of points after 11 games this season as they did under Claude Puel in 2016-17 (13).
Liverpool have lost only twice in their last 32 Premier League matches at Anfield (W19 D11 L2)
Prediction: Liverpool Wins
Ross County vs Celtic
Celtic return to domestic action as they look to extend their lead at the top of the Premiership. They travel to Ross County on Saturday afternoon, with a three-point lead over Aberdeen to protect. That’s not a huge advantage given how the Bhoys tend to race ahead in Scotland. Despite continuing their brilliant unbeaten run, Aberdeen has managed to keep the pace.
However, Ross County has seen over 2.5 goals in 71% of their home league games, while that has landed in all but two of their last 18 matches at home in the league. The Bhoys have scored three goals on their own in six of their last nine away league trips, while their last four trips to Ross County have seen over 2.5 goals scored. That has us backing a Celtic win and over 2.5 goals here, which looks like a solid bet.
Celtic have been winning at the end of each half in eight of their last nine away league games. The Bhoys have won by at least two goals in seven of their nine victories this term.
Prediction: Celtic Wins
Leganes vs Barcelona
The statistics say Barcelona have made their best ever start to a season in Spain’s top flight. In truth, they’ve rarely played brilliantly but they have been solid at the back and consistent and we should see another business-like performance from them here.
Certainly, there’s reason to think this won’t be a high-scoring game. Leganes have defended really well this term and they have the 3rd best defensive record in the division, with just 0.73 goals per game conceded and just 0.4 at home
Leganes don’t offer a great deal of threat going forward though and their home games average just 1 goal per game in total this term. Barcelona, therefore, may have to play a patient game but they should ultimately have enough quality to find a breakthrough. With Leo Messi in the park, a moment of brilliance is never far away but too often he has been their only real attacking spark this term.
Barcelona’s win at Butarque last season by 5-1 is the biggest defeat suffered by Leganes in La Liga so far.
Leganes have conceded more goals in their last two league games (5) than they had in their previous nine this season (3).
Barcelona has just conceded four goals in La Liga this season, their best start in terms of goals conceded after the first 11 games ever. Only one team conceded fewer in the first 12 games of a La Liga season (three, Atletico in 1995/96).
Prediction: Barcelona Wins & Over 1.5
Atletico vs Real Madrid
80% of Real Madrid away games this season in La Liga have produced goals at both ends. They’ve conceded 5 times in their last 2 competitive away matches, losing them both at Girona and Spurs so unquestionably they are vulnerable right now and Atleti will be keen to take advantage of that.
However some of Real Madrid’s best-attacking displays this season have come away, and they average 2.2 goals per game on their travels in the league. It’s also well worth noting Zidane’s men have only failed to score in 1 of their 20 competitive games this season, having netted in every single match last term.
This will be the first derby between Atletico and Real Madrid at Wanda Metropolitano. Atletico failed to win their first league derby at both Vicente Calderon (2-2 in 1967) and at Metropolitano (0-3 in 1929).
Atletico could equal their best start without a defeat in La Liga history (W6 D5), recorded in their famous season of 1995/96 when they won the double of La Liga and Copa del Rey (unbeaten in the first 12 games). The Red-And-Whites could also set their longest unbeaten run in La Liga under Diego Simeone (16, currently W9 D6).
Prediction: Madrid Wins
Bayern Munich vs Augsburg
A trip to face Bayern Munich can be daunting at the best of times, so spare a thought for Augsburg this Saturday. It’s difficult for any team to prepare to face forward Robert Lewandowski at the Allianz Arena, but Augsburg, in particular, know what the Polish international is capable of.
In 12 Bundesliga meetings against FC Augsburg, Lewandowski has found the back of the net a whopping 16 times – nine for Bayern and seven for Borussia Dortmund, including two hat-tricks and three braces, so expecting more than one goal from him this weekend isn’t a bad shout.
Bayern Munich has kept a clean sheet in 60% of their home matches. Over 2.5 goals have been scored in 80% of Bayern Munich’s home and 60% of Augsburg’s away matches this season. Bayern Munich has scored 3 goals or more in 5 of their last 7 home matches.
Prediction: Bayern Wins & Over 1.5
PSG vs Nantes
Ligue 1 leaders PSG will be hoping to continue their excellent form and maintain their lead at the top of the division when they welcome Nantes to Parc des Princes this coming Saturday. Unai Emery’s team are four points above second-placed Monaco after the first 12 games of the campaign, with bookmakers putting them odds-on to win the championship come May.
Nantes meanwhile, under the management of experienced Italian coach Claudio Ranier, sit 5th in the table having won seven times in their first 12 games. Despite having a limited squad to call upon, the team have been disciplined and conceded just nine times, although they have scored on just 11 occasions.
Whether Nantes will be 5th going into the festive period remains to be seen, however, with Saturday’s tough away trip followed by games against Rennes, Monaco and St Etienne in the next three weeks. Nantes’ limited squad is sure to be tested over that difficult run and if they are still in the top seven they will have done well.
In 31 previous games between the sides, PSG has won 21, Nantes have won four and the other six games were drawn.
Paris has won their last 11 Ligue 1 games against Nantes, their longest winning streak against a current opponent in the top-flight. PSG have won their last nine home Ligue 1 games against Nantes, their best run at home against this opponent in the top-flight.
Prediction: PSG Wins & Over 2.5
Roma vs Lazio
Both teams have won nine of their 11 league matches so far – putting them in the frame for a title challenge. They each have games in hand, which would put them in touching distance of top spot, in what is expected to be a tight title battle. With so many big sides in contention for the title, it’s believed that this season may just come down to who thrives in the mini-league between the top five or six.
Lazio come into this game having won their last nine matches in all competitions, while they have nine wins from their last 10 in Serie A. Their only defeat came at home to Napoli when the Aquile had an injury crisis at centre-half and fell apart defensively. Given that Roma have already lost at home to two of the top three in the league this season, we think in form Lazio can pull off a result here. We’re siding with the Aquile on the draw no bet market, as we think they’re far too big a price given the recent form of the two teams.
Lazio won their last league clash against AS Roma, after an eight-game winless streak (five wins for the Giallorossi, three draws).
Lazio have picked-up 28 points, their best ever tally after the first 11 games played in a Serie A campaign.
Lazio (76 mins) and AS Roma (83 mins) are two of the three sides who have been trailing for the fewest minutes in Serie A this season – the other is Napoli (77 mins).