Another week of Premier League football is on the horizon and it is a chance to get back to winning ways for clubs who suffered shock FA Cup third-round defeats last weekend.
It’s a big weekend for Manchester United who take on third place Tottenham, as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer prepares for his first big test as manager.
Our football expert casts his eye over the best bets this weekend’s fixtures.
West Ham v Arsenal
Unai Emery will not be bringing in reinforcements in January, despite being linked with £25m rated Yannick Carrasco of Atletico Madrid and others; there are no winter funds, say the Gunners hierarchy.
However, a trip to West Ham has almost always proved fruitful in the Premier League era for Arsenal, and the Hammers are still waiting for their first league victory at home to Arsenal since 2006. This will be the first time since then that a West Ham team will face a manager other than Arsene Wenger in the Arsenal dugout, which may well change the dynamic of this fixture.
West Ham will have to be wary of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang though, who sits joint top of the Premier League top goalscorer charts, netting four goals in his last four games in the league. You can get him to score first at 10/3 with Grosvenorsport.com.
Worrying times for West Ham fans as news has surfaced this week suggesting Marko Arnautovic could be on his way to China at some point during the January window, whilst Declan Rice is linked with a move to Manchester City in the summer. Will the performances of the pair be affected on the field? Time will tell.
Brighton v Liverpool
A season defining fixture? Liverpool have lost their last two matches and no doubt the confidence of the players within the squad would have been hit.
Brighton boast the best home record aside from the Premier League’s ‘big-six’ this season, and they’re not going to make things easy for the Reds on Saturday afternoon – this could be a hard fought slug should Liverpool fail to score within the first half-hour.
Glenn Murray has got an eye on Jurgen Klopp’s centre-back partnership selection, with Dejan Lovren, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez all ruled out for the trip to the Amex, and it’s likely defensive midfielder Fabinho will slot in alongside Virgil Van Dijk.
The Brazilian was given all sorts of problems as he dropped in to cover for the injury suffered to Lovren in Monday night’s game against Wolves, who ran out 2-1 winners on the night.
All in all, it’s not as easy a test as it may seem on paper for Liverpool. We’re backing a draw at 9/2.
Tottenham v Manchester United
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will find out how impressive his first five wins as manager have been when his side visit in-form Tottenham at Wembley on Sunday afternoon.
In their last six competitive matches, Spurs have scored 23 goals, including a 7-0 FA Cup victory at Tranmere and a 6-2 rout of Everton at Goodison Park in the Premier League.
Manchester United have also impressed in-front of goal, managing 16 in their last five, but it’s in defence where this game will be won and lost, with both sides needing to stand resolute should they hope to walk away with all three points.
It’s Heung-Min Son’s last match before joining up with his South Korean team mates in the Asia Cup, and he’ll be aiming to go out on a high after enjoying a fine few weeks, scoring five in his last five in the Premier League. We’re backing Son to get the first goal at 11/2.
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