After an FA Cup weekend, in which all of the fifth round winners overcame opposition ranked below them on the footballing ladder, we welcome back the Premier League title race in all its glory for an extended gameweek 27.
With both Man City and Chelsea preoccupied at Wembley, all eyes are fixed firmly on Anfield this Sunday. The Reds ‘welcome’ their East Lancs Road rivals Man Utd, and three points are a must if Jurgen Klopp’s men are to regain top spot and send out a message to Pep Guardiola.
The action begins with a Friday night double-header as Cardiff host Watford and West Ham take on strugglers Fulham under the floodlights of the London Stadium. We expect plenty of goals from both games as Neil Warnock’s side look for a third consecutive win and the Cottagers’ unwillingness to defend has made for fascinating viewing all season.
We’re also expecting goals at the Emirates where Arsenal, now with six consecutive home wins, host Southampton in the early afternoon kick-off on Sunday. Ralph Hasenhüttl’s Saints have been guilty of conceding devastating late goals in recent weeks. Add to this Arsenal’s propensity to find their flow late on in games, this encounter promises much.
Read on for more opinion from our football betting expert, including his best bets to look out for.
West Ham v Fulham
A visit from London rivals Fulham could be just the remedy to help West Ham return to winning ways. Yet to win away from home all season, the Cottagers have conceded 32 goals on the road, more than any other side.
The Hammers won 0-2 in the reverse fixture back in December, and with the rise in prominence of defensive-midfielder Declan Rice to their solidity, I’m predicting a similar result on Friday, and Marko Arnautović to score first at 7/2 is something I’m considering.
Arsenal vs Southampton
In recent years Southampton have proven to be a bogey team for the Gunners — something Arsenal fans were painfully reminded of back in December when they were beaten 3-2 at St Mary’s.
How Unai Emery chooses his XI on Sunday remains somewhat of a mystery. His head-scratching decision to play three centre-halves at BATE Borisov back-fired, and forced him to re-think his rotation in Thursday night’s Europa League return fixture.
Given Southampton’s recent dip in form, Arsenal are 4/9 to win, and one player who I will have my eye on is Arsenal’s Alexandre Lacazette. Fresh from a week off of Europa duties through suspension, he’s scored in each of his last three home games, and at 3/1 to open the scoring on Sunday, few bets are as tempting.
Liverpool v Manchester United
Make no mistake about it, these two sides may have been involved in Champions League football of late, but this is the game they both want to win more than anything.
Having leap-frogged Chelsea into the top four, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is on the verge of going 10 league games unbeaten, but it’s the prospect of damaging Liverpool’s title dream that the Manchester United faithful will crave most this Sunday.
This game is perfectly poised to be the Premier League match of the season.
Given the recent form of their talisman Paul Pogba (7/1) and re-discovered shooting boots of Marcus Rashford (11/2), both are hard to ignore on the first goal scorer market. Whilst the busy midfielder Ander Herrera is 7/1 to score at any time and given Solskjaer’s words of wisdom to him to ‘get in the box more’ before his goal at Chelsea, he could be worth considering.
But if it’s Jurgen Klopp’s side who you’re backing, the little Egyptian Mo Salah is 7/2 to open the scoring, whilst Sadio Mané has found the net for the Reds in each of their last four league games — he’s at 6/1 to clinch the winner with a last goal in what promises to be a goal of epic proportions in the 2019 title race.
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