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).
3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big Elsewhere
The English Premier League has welcomed some of the best players in the history of football. Players from different continents have made a huge impact on the league with impressive performances. There are others who failed to impress and can be termed as flops.
The League is quite unique from other European leagues. It is more competitive, fierce, physically challenging in nature. Needless to say, a player who isn’t mentally and physically geared up for this will stumble under the pressure.
Established stars can fall by the wayside with their former successes and triumphs becoming nothing more than a footnote in the EPL. Impressively, some of these players put in impressive performances when they moved to other leagues.
3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big In Other Leagues
Following the impending sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid, Tottenham bought several players, one of the players they bought was Paulinho.
Paulinho was signed from Corinthians in Brazil where he helped them win the Copa Libertadores, Brasileirao, and the FIFA Club World Cup.
They defeated Chelsea in the latter to lift the trophy. Importantly, he had just won the FIFA Confederations Cup with Brazil and was voted as the third-best player at the tournament.
He joined Tottenham as the club’s record signing in 2013, so a lot was expected of him. However, his performance was not as impressive as the club had envisaged. He was later sold to Guangzhou Evergrande in China at a loss.
The Brazilian’s transfer to the Chinese league resulted in a change of fortunes, as helped the club claim the Chinese league and the AFC Champions League title in his first season.
In the second, he was voted into the Chinese League team of the year in recognition of his performance. Also, he won the league, FA Cup, and Super Cup.
Although critics downplayed his performance, citing the standard of the Chinese league compared to the English league, Paulinho impressed in Spain too following a €40 million move to Barcelona.
Paulinho helped the club claim the league and the Copa del Rey trophy. His performance in his only season with Barcelona impressed Ronaldinho who said: “He really stood out.”
- Iago Aspas
Most Premier League fan remembers Aspas only as a Liverpool flop with the number 9 jersey. Aspas moved from boyhood club Celta Vigo to Liverpool for a deal estimated to be around £7.7 m, with Liverpool hoping to have unearthed a gem. However, that gem turns dregs, failing to score in any of his 14 league appearances.
After just one season, Liverpool decided that they have seen enough so they sent him on a season-long loan to Sevilla with an obligation to buy. In his season-long loan at the club, he was the joint top scorer in the Copa del Rey alongside Neymar with 7 goals and won the UEFA Europa League.
At the end of his season-long loan at Sevilla, the club signed him from Liverpool but sold him to Celta Vigo in the same transfer window. In every of his first 5 seasons at Celta Vigo, he scored in double digits.
In fact, in three of the 5 seasons, he won the Zarra Trophy awarded to the Spanish player with the most league goals in a season. As of December 2020, Aspas had won La Liga player of the month four times.
- Diego Forlan
Perhaps, the most notable and interesting English Premier League flop who became a star in another League. He was not just impressive in another league; he was extraordinary with his National team Uruguay.
Sir Alex Ferguson signed Forlan in 2001 following the attacker’s impressive form at Independiente in Argentina. In his first season in England, Forlan made 18 appearances but failed to score a single goal. The two seasons after were not impressive either, hence his transfer to Villarreal.
Impressively, Forlan scored 25 league goals in his first season with Villarreal and won the league’s top scorers award (2004/05). Also, he was awarded the European Golden Shoe award alongside Thierry Henry the same year. He left the club two seasons later for Atletico with 59 goals scored in 128 matches.
In his second season with Atletico Madrid (2008/09), Forlan beat Samuel Eto’o to the Spanish league’s top scorer’s award. He scored 32 league goals in 33 league appearances that season which earned him the Pichichi trophy. Again, he won the European Golden Shoe but this time it was not shared with anyone.
The next season (2009/10), Forlan played a key role as Atletico won the Europa League. He scored six times in the tournament, including two in the 2-1 win over Fulham in the final. He was voted as the man of the match in the final.
With his national team, he was just as impressive; he scored the most goals at the 2010 FIFA World Cup alongside Thomas Muller, Wesley Sneijder, and David Villa.
Furthermore, he was voted into the FIFA World Cup dream team and won the Golden Ball and goal of the tournament title. By the time he retired, he was Uruguay’s highest goal scorer in history, a record which has since been broken by Luis Suarez.
Forlan eventually became so good that some Football fans think he is the caliber of player that could have won the Ballon d’Or.
There are several reasons why players struggle when they change clubs, especially to other countries. Culture, language, teammates, family are some factors that can affect their performances.
These 3 cases show that a player may fail to perform in one league but go on to become a star in another league.
Top 15 Highest Paid Players In Ligue 1
Ligue 1 no doubt harbors quite a number of talented players, as such it’s quite understandable for those considered to be world-class players among them to cash out hugely on what they earn at the end of the month.
As of late, the players’ salaries have given indications of solid development, on account of the tremendous income pouring into the game. The fierce rivalry between the country’s top football clubs has brought the nature of the competition higher than ever. The league has more than its own fair share of highly paid players.
Here is a rundown of the top 15 highest-paid players in the Ligue 1
- Neymar Jr – (Paris Saint Germain, – €3.06 Per Month )
Behind Ronaldo and Messi, the Brazilian forward is regarded as the third-best player in world football since moving from Santos to Barcelona in 2013 for a deal reported worth €86.2million.
After apparently growing and widening his status as a footballer with his achievement on and off the pitch, it was evident that the former Puskas Award winner would go on to attract top elite clubs.
With the Parisian club brimming with a lot of cash to flex muscles with high spending clubs, it was just a matter of time before Neymar would join them. Fast forward to 2017, the Selecao captain signed for PSG for a world record transfer fee worth €222million, and since then he’s been an important figure of both the club and their project.
Amidst transfer rumors of him returning to his old home Barcelona, plus the fact that the Parisian are also ready to offer him a new deal that would tie him down with the French side for at least another three seasons.
- Kylian Mbappe – (Paris Saint Germain, € 1.91m Per Month)
As a World Cup winner and one of the best prospects in world football, it’s quite understandable for Mbappe to be among the highest-paid players in Ligue 1 and Paris Saint Germain. The 2018 World Cup winner burst into the scene as a young player for Monaco, making his professional debut in 2015 at the age of 15.
The Frenchman signed for the Parisian club in 2017 on loan, which was later made permanent in 2018. He has shown to be a great prospect for both the club and their project in dominating the Ligue 1 and also flex muscles with the top clubs in Europe.
His permanent transfer to Paris Saint Germain is reported to be worth €180million, making him both the second most expensive player and most expensive teenager. Since joining the Ligue 1 Champions permanently, the 22-year-old has scored over 120 goals for the Parisian club.
However, amidst the rumor of Real Madrid prepping up to break the bank in their quest to bring him down to the Bernabeu, the World Cup winner is still actively the second biggest earner in the league and of course Paris Saint Germain.
- Correa Marquinhos & Marco Verratti – (Paris Saint Germain, €1.2m Per Month)
Since the departure of top players such as Edinson Cavani, Zlatan, and recently Thiago Silva, Marquinhos’s status has risen from being a mere squad player in the dressing room into a leader, captain, and one of the best gladiator of the club.
As a 19-year-old teenager, the Brazilian was signed in 2013 on a five-year deal by Paris Saint Germain from AS Roma for a fee of around €31.4million. And as reported by BBC Sport, the deal was said to be the highest transfer fee for a teenager then, while Sky also reports it to be the then fifth highest transfer.
The current form of the Brazilian makes him rank as one of Europe’s most valuable players, most especially as a player who is currently plying his trade with the best team in France.
According to the transfer market rating, Marquinhos market value currently stands at €70million, as such with his years of experience and playing over 313 matches for the Parisian, it’s no surprise that the club captain takes home €1.2m per month tied with the Italian on the same amount.
As for the Italian, he’s also been a very instrumental player for the team since joining the club nine years ago. There have always been rumors concerning his future, either joining Barcelona or go back to Italy, but as it stands his current contract with Paris Saint Germain would expire in 2024.
- Angel Di Maria – (Paris Saint Germain, €1.1m Per Month)
Since joining the Parisian for €63million after a disappointing stint with Manchester United in 2015, the Argentine winger has continued to prove to the world that he’s still one of the best players in football since leaving Real Madrid.
Di Maria isn’t just rank among the highest earner for doing nothing, he earns his pay through his brilliant performances over the years since joining them, accumulating a total of 251 appearances scoring over 88 goals and 104 assists.
The former Real Madrid winger may not stay in the Ligue 1 with Paris Saint Germain for three years or more, as he’s already moving close to the end of his career. However, with his deal still running that makes him the fourth-highest earner in the league.
- Keylor Navas – (Paris Saint Germain, €1m Per Month)
When Navas joined Madrid from Levante in the summer of 2014, no one ever thought he’s going to achieve quite a number of success with Los Blancos based on where he was coming from and his antecedent as a goalkeeper.
After a successful stint with Los Merengues, the imminent arrival of Thibaut Courtois means the Costa Rican goalkeeper days at Real Madrid are numbered.
With his achievement at Real Madrid, it was evident that the Costa Rican won’t find it hard to get good European suitor to come by, as such Paris Saint Germain came calling for his services in 2019 having been told he won’t be Real Madrid number one going forward into the new season.
Following Navas’s move to the French capital, it means his salary would be on the high side based on his achievement and reputation as a Champions League winner with arguably the biggest club in Europe.
As a Paris Saint Germain player, he earns €1m per month, making the Costa Rican one of the highest-paid players in Ligue 1
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- Mauro Icardi – (Paris Saint Germain, €800,000 Per Month)
The imminent departure of El Matador when Icardi joined Paris Saint Germain on loan means the responsibility of goalscoring would be on the shoulder of the Argentine. The former Inter Milan forward made his loan permanent with the PSG following a strong start in Paris.
The Argentine and controversy certainly go hand in hand based on his antecedent with his previous clubs. Everywhere he goes he has always shown he could lead the line perfectly, and since he joined the Parisian permanently no report of controversy has been recorded concerning the former Nerazzurri captain.
Icardi may not be the poster boy of PSG just like his days at Inter, that doesn’t make him less of a player in the dressing room among other star players like Neymar and Mbappe who are no doubt the face of the club.
- Leandro Paredes – (Paris Saint Germain, €750,000 Per Month)
Juan Bernat – (Paris Saint Germain, €700,000 Per Month)
Presnel Kimpembe – (Paris Saint Germain, €670,000 Per Month)
Ander Herrera – (Paris Saint Germain, €650,000 Per Month)
Wissam Ben Yedder – (Monaco, €650,000 Per Month)
Cesc Fabregas – (Monaco, €600,000 Per Month)
Julian Draxler – (Paris Saint Germain, €600,000 Per Month)
Idrissa Guaye – (Paris Saint Germain, €500,000 Per Month)