Man City vs Liverpool
With City top of the league table, one point separates these two sides going into Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off. Can Klopp harness the curse of the lunchtime kick-off at the Etihad?
You have to go back to December 2022 for the last time the Citizens dropped a point at home – when it ended 1-1 against Everton.
But City were held to a 4-4 draw by Chelsea just before the international break, in one of the games of the season. Can Liverpool take inspiration from that unexpected result to cause Pep further consternation here?
The good news for City is that Erling Haaland seems likely to be fit, despite suffering an injury scare against the Faroe Islands during the international break.
Unsurprisingly, Haaland leads the goals scored so far in the Prem this season, notching up 13; but Liverpool’s Mo Salah is in second place on 10. Can the Egyptian King add to that number against City?
Haaland missed this fixture last season, though he did score in a Carabao Cup encounter against Liverpool at the Etihad.
As for Salah, he has scored in his last four appearances against City, including his last two visits to the Etihad (he also scored in Liverpool’s home win in the Prem last season, and converted a penalty in last year’s Community Shield).
Salah is 37/20 to find the net on Saturday – given his past form against the Citizens, it could be worth backing the 31-year-old to do the business once again.
Burnley vs West Ham
You know things are going badly when it’s the tail end of November and you’re still looking for your first home win. That’s Burnley’s story, with Vincent Kompany’s side losing all but two of their league games to date.
Can the Clarets find something to cheer against West Ham? The Irons haven’t been at their best in the last few months, but they beat Forest 3-2 in their last game before the international break, and have three wins from their last four games in all comps.
It’s not looking super optimistic for Burnley then. I guess it’s possible that some post-international duty sluggishness will work in the hosts’ favour. But given Burnley’s record at home this season is played six, lost six, backing the visitors at 19/20 seems plenty tempting…
Luton vs Crystal Palace
Luton held Liverpool to a draw in their last home game, and have also earned points against Forest and Wolves this season. Could they keep Palace at bay for a point on Saturday?
Palace have won just twice in their last eight league games – but both those victories have come on the road. That works out at two victories in the Eagles’ last three away games.
And despite Luton’s success against Liverpool, the Hatters have also lost at home to Spurs, West Ham and Burnley this season. Logically, Roy Hodgson’s side may be able to take all three points here; the Palace win is a 27/25 shot.
Newcastle vs Chelsea
The Magpies lost two games on the bounce before the break, an away defeat to Dortmund in the Champions League followed by an unexpected loss away to Bournemouth. Will Eddie Howe’s side improve as they return to St James’ Park this week?
Chelsea earned a point in a 4-4 draw against Man City in one of the games of the season last time out, and Mauricio Pochettino’s side is starting to look like a team that can hold its own against tougher opposition.
Newcastle should fall into that category. But despite their upturn in status, the Mags’ injury crisis means the side remain stretched, even with talk that Alexander Isak and Miguel Almiron may be fit for this encounter.
For Chelsea, there’s been speculation that Christopher Nkunku could make his first appearance for the Blues in some capacity this weekend, having picked up an injury in pre-season.
Either way, Newcastle’s iffy patch comes as Chelsea have hit something close to top form; the west London side have lost just one of their last eight games in all competitions. The Blues also have eight goals from their last two outings; Newcastle have scored once in their last three.
Back Chelsea to take the win at 9/5.
Nottingham Forest vs Brighton
Victories have been hard to come by for both these sides lately. The Tricky Trees have mustered one win in eight, but they may be able to improve that record against Brighton, who have zero wins in their last six league games.
Last time out the Seagulls were held at the Amex by the struggling Sheffield United; and after a thrilling, swashbuckling run at the start of the season, Brighton are looking a little listless of late, with three back-to-back (er, to-back) 1-1 draws against the Blades, Everton and Fulham.
Does the pause imposed by the international break offer a chance for a reset? Or will the south coast side’s European duties mean Brighton are overstretched – and doomed to keep struggling?
Forest were unbeaten in their two meetings with Brighton last season; this could be another frustrating encounter for Roberto De Zerbi. Steve Cooper’s side haven’t lost at the City Ground yet in this campaign; back the draw at 13/5.
Sheffield United vs Bournemouth
The Blades are unbeaten in their last two, which is definitely good news for Paul Heckingbottom. They face beatable opposition in Bournemouth too, although the Cherries have won two of their last three league games.
That’s encouraging, but the south coast side are yet to win away in the Prem in this campaign. Does the trip to South Yorkshire offer an opportunity to change that record?
Perhaps, though it’s notable that the side have been comfortably beaten on their recent travels by the likes of Man City – fair enough – but also Brighton and Everton.
Sheffield United have shown perhaps a little more doggedness. They might be able to maintain the momentum on home turf this weekend. The home win at 9/4 is tempting.
Brentford vs Arsenal
This is Mikel Arteta’s 200th game in charge of Arsenal; will the Spanish coach make it through this match without descending into a VAR-inspired hissy fit?
The Gunners have lost to Newcastle and drawn to Chelsea in their two most recent away games. Brentford seem like a side with the potential to catch their more illustrious London rivals out too, at least theoretically.
And the Bees had won three straight league games before their defeat to Liverpool last time out. Thomas Frank’s team have lost at home just once this season, too, at least in the Prem. They were beaten by, checks notes, Arsenal in the Carabao Cup.
With David Raya ineligible to play against his parent club, Aaron Ramsdale will be in goal for the Gunners. Last time Ramsdale played, it wasn’t a great advertisement for the keeper, West Ham winning 3-1 in the Carabao Cup. Will Saturday’s match offer a chance for Ramsdale to show Arteta more persuasively what he’s been missing?
The safe bet is probably BTTS – it’s a 4/5 shot that’s come off in five of Brentford’s six home games in the Prem so far. Brentford have scored in all five of those games, too. And Arsenal are generally at least good for an away goal, even if they failed to find a way past Newcastle.
If Both Teams doesn’t excite, take a chance on Bryan Mbeumo; he’s the Bees’ biggest goal threat currently, and is 12/5 to score in this tea-time kick-off.
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