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Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur will face each other today at Old Trafford in a key clash between the second and third-place teams in the Premier League, with only goal difference separating the sides in their immediate pursuit of EPL table-toppers Manchester City
Manchester United may have recorded a victory in midweek as they continue the defence of their League Cup trophy, but the ship is far from steady at Old Trafford at the moment. The Red Devils succumbed to their first defeat of the season last weekend as they were deservedly beaten against Huddersfield, and now they face one of the most in-form Premier League sides out there.
Tottenham’s heavily rotated squad suffered a shock in midweek though. They led 2-0 against West Ham at Wembley, but somehow let that lead slip and were eventually beaten 3-2 by the out of form Hammers. Mauricio Pochettino will place little emphasis on that competition though, especially with the Premier League and Champions League already in full flow.
Manchester United have won three, drawn one, and lost two of their last six meetings with Tottenham.
Tottenham Hotspur has lost 20 of their 25 Premier League away trips to Old Trafford (W2 D3 L20) – their biggest tally of defeats away at any club in the competition. Spurs – who beat Manchester United back in May 2017 – will be looking to record consecutive league victories against the Red Devils for the first time since April 1990.
In fact, Spurs won all three meetings against Manchester United in all competitions in 1989-90, with Gary Lineker scoring three of their four goals in those matches. This was only the second time Spurs have beaten the Red Devils three times in a single season (also 1981-82).
Prediction: Away Goal
Arsenal vs Swansea
In the Premier League, their last match was a 5-2 demolition of Everton last weekend, which culminated in Ronald Koeman parting ways with the struggling Toffees. The Gunners have now won five, drawn one, and lost three of their nine league outings this season.
Arsenal have won all four of their games, and haven’t dropped points in the Premier League since the start of April. This season they have scored 11 league goals at The Emirates, and four of those have come courtesy of big money striker Alexandre Lacazette. The Frenchman has notched in three of his four home appearances in the league this season, so odds of 4/6 for him to bag again look good value.
Swansea were tipped to struggle this season, and that’s exactly what looks to be happening to them. They were eliminated from the League Cup at the hands of holders Manchester United on Tuesday, a 2-0 loss that makes it four defeats in their last five games in all competitions.
Arsenal has won back to back league games against Swansea, they’ve only won three in a row versus the Swans once before, between November 1982 and September 2011. While, Swansea City have attempted just 18 shots on target and 72 shots overall this season in the Premier League – the fewest in the league. Spurs’ striker Harry Kane has attempted three more shots on target than Swansea on his own (21).
Alexandre Lacazette (five goals) is one of only five players to have scored 5+ goals in their opening nine Premier League appearances for Arsenal, after Alexis Sanchez (7), Andrey Arshavin (6), Ian Wright (6) and Davor Suker (5). The record by an Arsenal player in their first 10 PL apps for the club is held by teammate Sanchez (8).
Prediction: Arsenals Wins & Over 2.5
West Brom vs Manchester City
West Brom were one of a few Premier League teams to get a break from action in midweek, and that’s thanks to Manchester City. The visitors have already travelled to the Hawthorns this season, knocking their opponents out of the League Cup in mid-September.
West Brom’s demise has been coming through. They have won just two of their last 18 Premier League games since the 1st of April, losing ten times and collecting fewer points than any other side who have been present in the top flight in that period. They even have fewer than the newly promoted Newcastle have managed.
While the Citizens sit top of the Premier League table having only dropped two points so far this season. Their last seven league outings have resulted in seven wins and a huge 29 goals, including a 6-0 hammering of Watford away from home in September
West Bromwich Albion have lost 14 of their last 15 Premier League games against Manchester City (D1), including losing the last 11 in a row.
On only two previous occasions have WBA lost 12 consecutive league matches against a single opponent – versus Chelsea (1989- 2011) and versus Liverpool (1985-2010).
There have only been two long winning runs against a single opponent in Premier League history than Manchester City’s 11-game run versus West Brom: Man City vs Newcastle (12 wins ending in October 2015) and Man Utd vs Wigan (13 wins ending December 2011).
25 points is Manchester City’s joint-best points return after the first nine games of a Premier League season alongside (2011-12). The only team with more points at this stage of the season were Chelsea (27) in 2005-06.
Prediction: City Wins & Over 2.5
Liverpool vs Huddersfield
Last weekend was anything but appreciated though as they were battered 4-1 at Tottenham, bringing an abrupt end to the jubilation of their 7-0 thrashing of Maribor in the Champions League. They have now won two, drawn three, and lost two of their last seven in all competitions.
At home, they have won two and drawn two of their four games, with both of their failures coming against in-form sides in Burnley and Manchester United. They have only conceded a single goal in this period as well, so they will be expecting a clean sheet despite their shaky looking defence.
While, the newly promoted side find themselves 11th in the table, but most of that is thanks to a blistering run of form in the opening few weeks. Since things have settled down they’ve started to struggle a bit, and away from home especially it’s a real worry. Their only away win came against the awful Crystal Palace in game week one, with the subsequent three matches seeing them lose twice. This run of games included Crystal Palace, West Ham. Burnley, and Swansea, so it hasn’t been a particularly difficult run.
This will be the first league meeting between the two teams since a top-flight clash in February 1972 in which Liverpool ran out 1-0 winners, with Jack Whitham netting the winner. Huddersfield are winless in all competitions versus Liverpool in 10 matches (D3 L7), a run stretching back to 1960.
Liverpool has lost only one of their last 42 Premier League home games against newly-promoted sides, losing 1-2 vs Blackpool in October 2010 (W32 D9 L1) and are unbeaten in each of the last 19.
Prediction: Liverpool Wins & over 1.5
Bournemouth vs Chelsea
Bournemouth may have continued a promising run in the League Cup in midweek with a 3-1 win over Middlesbrough, but it’s impossible to deny the fact that they are underperforming in the Premier League so far.Bournemouth may have continued a promising run in the League Cup in midweek with a 3-1 win over Middlesbrough, but it’s impossible to deny the fact that they are underperforming in the Premier League so far.
The Cherries will know they have a chance of finding the net against Chelsea as well, because Antonio Conte’s team look uncharacteristically out of shape at the back. They shipped another at home to Everton in the League Cup in midweek to make it six games without a clean sheet in all competitions.
Chelsea has won four of their five previous away games against Bournemouth in all competitions, losing the other in September 1988.
Chelsea lost their last Premier League away game; 1-2 at Crystal Palace. They haven’t lost successive Premier League away games since November 2015 under Jose Mourinho. This is Bournemouth’s lowest points total (7) after nine games of a Premier League season. Last season they’d collected 12 points and in 2015-16 they had eight.
Prediction: Chelsea Wins & Over 1.5
Celtic vs Kilmarnock
Celtic are clear at the top once again, having taken three points away to their closest rivals Aberdeen in midweek. Their 3-0 victory over last season’s runners-up shows just how big the gap is between the champions and the rest of the Premiership. They’re likely to show that once again on Saturday when Kilmarnock face another trip to Glasgow.
While Kilmarnock has already lost twice against Celtic this season, after a 2-0 defeat at home in the league. They travelled here in the League Cup back in August, which saw Celtic run out 5-0 winners. The visitors have managed just two goals in their last six meetings with the Bhoys. We’re backing more troubles for Killie this weekend, given that they’ve lost 31 of their last 40 trips to Celtic Park. They’ve matched just 25 goals across those trips, compared to 109 for the hosts.
Celtic have been winning at the end of each half in five straight meetings with Killie. The Bhoys have won 38 of their last 43 matches in the top flight.
Prediction: Celtics Wins & Over 1.5
Athletic Bilbao vs FC Barcelona
Trips to San Mames are traditionally among the toughest the big sides face all season in La Liga and we have seen Athletic turn over the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona with home advantage in recent years. However, right now they don’t fully convince at all and you have to fancy the Catalans to deliver the goods here.
The absence of Muniain starves them of some much-needed creativity and it’s now just 1 win in 10 competitive matches for Jose Angel Ziganda’s men. Both their league and European campaigns are going badly and the visit of Barcelona is hardly what they need right now as they try to find a bit of form.
Barcelona side have been a bit more pragmatic than under Luis Enrique and have focused more on possession football in more of a throwback to the Guardiola years. It’s helped them protect their back four a bit more and the Catalans have the joint best defensive record in La Liga with only 0.33 goals per game conceded.
The sides have met regularly in recent years with 11 meetings since the start of 2015 alone in various competitions. Barca has won 8 of the last 9 clashes with their only defeat coming on their last visit to San Mames in the Copa del Rey earlier this year.
Athletic have lost their last seven La Liga games against Barcelona, the last four without scoring a single goal.
Athletic rank joint-third in terms of conceding opposition shots on target in La Liga this season (49, along with Espanyol) behind Las Palmas (61) and Málaga (58).
Lionel Messi has scored 11 goals in his last 13 La Liga games against Athletic, but only one has come in his three games at the new San Mamés.
Prediction: Barcelona Wins & Over 1.5
Atletico Madrid vs Villarreal
Villarreal are one of the few teams in La Liga in recent years that enjoyed visiting the Vicente Calderon and will be hoping their recent good record against Atleti can continue here at their new home. Villarreal have made a good start to life under their new boss and will fancy they can keep an Atleti attack that isn’t really quiet ticking here.
Atleti fans must be counting down the days until Diego Costa becomes available and their summer transfer ban looks like it could cost them the chance to seriously compete for this title. While they are yet to lose in La Liga this term, a lack of goals has seen them drawing too many games.
All of their league games at the Wanda so far have produced under 2.5 goals and their last 5 competitive fixtures have produced just 5 goals in total. With Antoine Griezmann not quite at his best, Atleti look a little short on ideas at times and Villarreal are well equipped to stifle them as they regularly have done in recent years.
Villarreal are a major bogey team for Atleti. The Yellow Submarine have won 4 of the last 6 meetings, losing just once. They haven’t conceded on any of their last 3 trips to play Diego Simeone’s side.
Atletico Madrid has not won in their last four La Liga games against Villarreal in La Liga (D1 L3), failing to score in those games.
As a player, Antoine Griezmann has played more La Liga games against Villarreal without scoring a goal (12) than against any other side.
Prediction: Atletico Wins
Bayern Munich vs RB Leipzig
After Carlo Ancelotti’s dismissal, Jupp Heynckes has stepped up to take over the reigns for the 4th time at Bayern Munich – and what an impact he has made! Heynckes won the treble with Bayern in 2013 (Bundesliga, DFB Pokal, and Champions League), and he seems to have brought that winning form straight back out of them – the Bavarians have scored ten goals and conceded one over four fixtures against Freiburg (5-0 win), Hamburg (1-0 win), Celtic (3-0 Champions League win) and RB Leipzig (on penalties in the DFB Pokal).
RB Leipzig marked their ground in the Bundesliga last season with a 2nd placed finish that even put the dominant champions through their paces. With RB Leipzig forcing a draw out of Bayern with a marginally weakened starting XI on Wednesday, we’d expect this to see some end to end football once again. However, with Bayern Munich so dominant at home too, we’re not convinced the Red Bulls have what it takes to beat Bayern at their best. Our prediction: a 3-2 Bayern Munich win.
Bayern Munich drew 1-1 in Leipzig (and won on penalties) when the two sides met in the DFB Pokal on Wednesday. Bayern won both of the other 2 prior meetings (5-4 in Leipzig and 3-0 at home last season).
They say form goes out the window in derbies, but Porto are on a great run of derby form ahead of Saturday night’s big clash in Portugal. The league leaders are on a six-game winning run against Boavista, scoring 16 goals in that time and conceding just one in return. Will that run continue in their trip to their rivals this weekend?
That Porto has won five of their last six trips to Boavista, conceding none across those games, tells you just how solid the Dragons are at this ground. They seem to have their rival’s number, and they can’t afford to let that change with Sporting breathing down their necks at the top of the Primeira Liga.
While Boavista have a solid record so far this season, we can’t see anything but an away win here. The visitors just have too good a record here to ignore, which has us backing a win to nil for Porto on Saturday. It’s been over 10 years since they last scored at home to their local rivals, while in-form Porto have kept a clean sheet in eight of the last nine meetings.
Porto has won their last six meetings with Boavista and has seen under 2.5 goals in 75% of their away games this season. Porto has been leading at half-time in 67% of their matches so far in the league.
Prediction: Porto Wins
Both Teams To Score
Reading vs Middlesbrough
Peterborough vs Shrewsbury
Walsall vs Southend
Wigan vs Blackburn
Bury vs Doncaster Rovers
Notts County vs Newport County