Arsenal turned on the style in midweek as an inspired second-half performance saw them thrash Huddersfield 5-0 at The Emirates, following on from their last-ditch victory away to Burnley last weekend.
There was still a tinge of disappointment about though because star striker Alexandre Lacazette was forced off injured against The Terriers and faces a few weeks on the sidelines now. He will be sorely missed, but in Olivier Giroud, they have a more than adequate replacement up front.
That thrashing of Huddersfield made it three league wins in a row for The Gunners, but it’s at home where they really come to life. They have won every single home league game this season and looking back into last season they have won 12 on the bounce now. This includes wins over Spurs and Manchester United as well, so Arsene Wenger will be feeling quietly confident about his chances on Saturday.
Manchester United did put in a stellar attacking performance in midweek as they beat Watford 4-2 away from home, but it did little to mask their emerging problems on the road. They conceded two silly goals and nearly let their 3-0 lead slip at Vicarage Road, and it was just last week that they lost 1-0 in Basel.
Arsenal have won three, drawn two, and lost one of their last six matches against rivals Manchester United.
The Gunner’s have lost just one of their last five Premier League home games against Manchester United (W2 D2), winning each of the last two without conceding a goal.
Arsenal have won their last four Saturday evening kick-offs at home in the Premier League, since a 1-2 defeat against Manchester United in November 2014.
Arsenal have now won their last 12 home league games in a row, last enjoying a longer run between February and November 2005 at Highbury (13).
Manchester United won at Watford in the midweek fixture, but haven’t secured back-to-back away wins in the Premier League since a run of four in April.
Chelsea vs Newcastle
A lot of doubt was cast over Chelsea’s chances at the start of the season as they kicked the campaign off with a shock defeat at home to Burnley, but they have improved dramatically since then. However, with Manchester City in such fine form they are still looking like major outsiders to retain their Premier League crown.
Midweek saw them take a hard-fought three points from Swansea at home, a result which makes it four wins and a draw in their last five competitive outings. In the Premier League, they have won five of their last six and haven’t lost since the middle of October.
This has pushed The Blues up to 3rd in the Premier League table, but they are 11 points adrift of Manchester City at the top of the table and are only three points inside the top four.
Newcastle looked to be in very good shape just a couple of months ago. They were on a three-match winning streak and Mike Ashley finally confirmed that he was trying to sell the club. However, things have hit a rough patch for the newly promoted side.
Chelsea have won three, drawn one, and lost two of their last six meetings with Newcastle
The Blue’s have won to nil in 80% of their last five Premier League games, whilst Newcastle have failed to score in 75% of their away defeats this season.
Prediction: Over 2.5
Watford vs Tottenham
Watford’s troubles at Vicarage Road continued in midweek as they went 3-0 down in the first half against Manchester United. To be fair to them, they kept on going forward and almost got back into the game with six minutes remaining, but an 86th minute Jesse Lingard goal saw the game end 4-2 and resign The Hornets to defeat.
This is almost evenly split between goals scored and goals conceded, giving them the 4th best-attacking record in the league but the 4th worst defense as well. Their 4-2 loss to Manchester United perfectly illustrated their performances this season.
Tottenham also suffered disappointment in midweek when they faltered to a 2-1 loss at Leicester, following on from their even more disappointing draw at home to West Brom last weekend. They have slipped off the pace in the Premier League, and now find themselves eight points adrift of 2nd placed Manchester United.
Tottenham have won their last seven meetings with Watford.
Watford have scored in 79% of their Premier League goals this season, with 100% of those games seeing them score at least two goals.
Brighton vs Liverpool
Brighton will be disappointed in their midweek performance as they failed to beat Crystal Palace at home, but they can still look back on a spell where they have proven very difficult to beat. The Seagulls have lost just one of their last seven in the Premier League, pushing them up to 10th in the table and giving them a seven-point cushion on the drop zone.
Brighton hasn’t actually lost at The Amex Stadium since their opening weekend defeat to Manchester City, winning three and drawing four of their seven competitive outings since then. They were very impressive even in defeat as well, so Liverpool definitely have their work cut out here.
Liverpool did manage to get a very impressive away win in midweek though, beating Stoke 3-0, largely thanks to Mohamed Salah’s fantastic cameo appearance from the bench. Liverpool are now unbeaten in seven games in all competitions, although there are still large question marks over their defensive stability.
Liverpool has won three, drawn two, and lost one of their last six meetings with Brighton.
This will be the first league meeting between these two sides since Brighton were last in the top-flight in 1982-83 – the Seagulls secured a 2-2 draw at the Goldstone Ground on that occasion in March 1983.
Liverpool have won just one of their last four Premier League away trips to newly-promoted sides (D1 L2), winning against Middlesbrough 3-0 in December 2016.
Since losing their opening game against Manchester City, Brighton are unbeaten in six Premier League games at home, though the last four have all ended level (W2 D4 L0).
Prediction: Over 2.5
Celtic vs Motherwell
Celtic are preparing to face Motherwell for the third time in six days, following the 1-1 draw between these two sides on Wednesday night. Scott Sinclair struck late in that game to give the Bhoys a point, clinging on to their unbeaten record for just a little while longer. The champions continued their domination of Scottish football by seeing off Motherwell in the League Cup final last Sunday, and ‘Well almost pulled off the perfect response, coming minutes shy of ending Celtic’s unbeaten record. Could they finally end that run when the pair meet again this weekend?
You could say that Motherwell have more of a chance of getting a result at Celtic Park, given that the hosts have claimed 65% of their points this season away from home. The Bhoys have almost lost their unbeaten streak on a couple of occasions at home this term, but up until Wednesday, they were enjoying a perfect record on their travels. Could Motherwell be the latest side to trouble Brendan Rodgers’ men in Glasgow this term?
Motherwell should certainly be confident of getting a goal, after taking the lead in midweek. The visitors have scored 100% of their away games this term, and in 86% of their Premiership matches overall. A huge part of Motherwell’s impressive displays this season has been their attacking talent, including forward Lewis Moult. They’re coming off a 2-0 win at second-placed Aberdeen, and we can see the visitors getting on the scoresheet here.
Celtic have won 14 of their last 16 matches at home to Motherwell.
The Scottish champions are now unbeaten in 53 league matches, following their draw on Wednesday. Motherwell have lost by a single goal in 80% of their defeats this season.
Prediction: 1 & Under 4.5
Barcelona vs Celta Vigo
Barcelona have suffered the odd slip-up against Celta Vigo in recent years and although both teams are under new management this term, there’s reason to think Celta will ask questions of this Barca defence. We ought to see a decent game and there is potential for goals at both ends.
In the shape of Iago Aspas and Maxi Gomez, Celta have one of the best strike pairings in La Liga. They also are a team that does look to get forward and they created many good opportunities in their most recent away match, which was also a tough one, against Sevilla.
They average an impressive 1.85 goals per game this term and an even better 2.17 away from home in La Liga. Celta have failed to score in just 1 of their 15 competitive games under Juan Carlos Unzué who joined from Barcelona in the summer and has done a reasonably good job in Galicia. Therefore we have more reason than normal to think Barca will concede here but they should have plenty of joy at the other end with Celta rarely convincing at the back.
Celta have caused Barcelona problems in recent years with the last 6 meetings producing 3 wins each. However Barca have won 5 of their last 6 home games against the Galicians, the most recent winning margins being 5-0 and 6-1.
Barcelona have scored at least once in 49 of their 51 home league games against Celta de Vigo (W39 D10), failing to score in their two defeats (0-2 in 1941 and 0-1 in 2014).
Celta de Vigo are the only La Liga team to beat Barcelona at least once in each of the three previous seasons. (P6 W3 L3).
However, Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde is unbeaten in his managerial career versus Celta de Vigo in La Liga (P13 W10 D3).
Barcelona are unbeaten in their opening 13 games this season (W11 D2). Their best start in a single La Liga season came in 2009/10 under Pep Guardiola, when they were unbeaten in their opening 21 games (W17 D4).
Prediction: 1 & Over 1.5
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