Liverpool have the chance to extend their lead at the top of the Premier League to a hefty 11 points ahead of Leicester (and 17 ahead of Manchester City) when they get the weekend’s action under way with a lunchtime kickoff at home to bottom club Watford.
Jurgen Klopp will want to prevent any sense of complacency, especially after his team’s midweek 2-0 win in Salzburg secured their place in the last 16 of the Champions League. It is hard to be critical of a team that has won 15 out of sixteen unbeaten league games, but it is also worth remembering that those 16 outings have produced just three clean sheets, all of which were away from Anfield. However, it is also worth remembering that Liverpool have averaged more than three goals a game in fifteen straight home league wins, and indeed none of their last 48 league visitors have left Anfield with all three points since Crystal Palace did so way back in April 2017.
Watford’s solitary league success this season has come at the expense of fellow relegation strugglers, Norwich City, and they remain six points adrift of safety. Any hopes of that win leading to a better run of results was quashed by three straight defeats, and even the inevitable departure of head coach, QuiQue Sanchez Flores could inspire no more than a dour goalless draw at home to Crystal Palace last weekend.
Free Match Tip: OVER 3.5 GOALS (Nicori +3,5 Goals) 2.05
A 3pm kickoff sees second-placed Leicester City welcome second-bottom Norwich City to the King Power Stadium, looking for the win will give them a 9-point cushion ahead of Manchester City, who face a tricky trip to Arsenal on Sunday.
Brendan Rodgers seems to be quite happy that his Leicester City team is still flying under the radar, despite appearing to be the best equipped to keep in touch with the runaway league leaders. Their have lost just two league games, at Manchester United and Liverpool, both of which required a penalty to inflict odd-goal defeats. Since the 2-1 setback at Anfield, which was decided in stoppage time, the Foxes have won nine straight league games, scoring 25 goals and conceding just three, with Jamie Vardy contributing 11 goals in the eight wins that he has played in.
Leicester’s rampant form is a far cry from that of Norwich, whose season seemed to peak on the afternoon of their shock 3-2 win over Manchester City three months ago. Their next seven games yielded just a solitary point, and although things looked brighter when they followed a 2-0 win at Everton with a battling 2-2 home draw with Arsenal, subsequent 2-1 defeats at the hands of Southampton and Sheffield United have left them looking like firm relegation candidates.
Free Match Tip: BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE – NO (EuropeanFootballTips) 1.91
Manchester United and Everton meet at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon, with both teams probably wishing they could have played their opponents a couple of weeks ago.
Up until then Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had been facing mounting criticism after United won just three of their thirteen league games since the opening day of the season. But it is amazing what two wins can do, especially against top class opponents, and United got back on track by ruining Jose Mourinho’s return to Old Trafford with a 2-1 win over Spurs. Even better was to follow as United hit Manchester City with their own blitzkrieg counter-attacking football to come away from the Etihad with another 2-1 win in Saturday’s Manchester derby. Thursday’s 4-0 romp against AZ Alkmaar gave Mason Greenwood (2 goals) the chance to show he is ready to make a bigger impact on the Premier League stage .
Everton and Marco Silva parted company after their 5-2 mauling in last week’s Merseyside derby, and it was no surprise after a dismal start to their campaign that saw the Toffees pick up just seven points from eleven games to slip into the bottom three. Sometimes a change is as good as a rest, and Everton certainly looked refreshed and rejuvenated under the temporary leadership of Everton legend, Duncan Ferguson, who helped inspire a performance that fully deserved his team’s 3-1 win over Chelsea last weekend.
Free Match Tip: MANCHESTER UNITED -1.00 AH (early tips) 2.53
The other Sunday lunchtime kickoff sees Wolverhampton Wanderers take on a rejuvenated Tottenham Hotspur side in what should be an absorbing game at Molineux.
Flying underneath the radar, Wolverhampton Wanderers sit in sixth spot, with only unbeaten Liverpool having lost fewer Premier League games than Wolves, who shared Leicester’s record of just two defeats in sixteen league outings. The only criticism that could be aimed at the Black Country team is that they have drawn too many games, and indeed, if they had converted just four of their nine league draws into victories then they would be occupying a top four spot. One of those draws came in last weekend’s 2-2 draw at Brighton, with Diogo Jota bagging both goals before coming off the bench to grab an 11-minute hat-trick in Thursday’s 4-0 romp against Besiktas.
Spurs were also involved in midweek European action, where many players were rested for their meaningless 3-1 defeat at Bayern Munich. There is a definite buzz around the Tottenham Stadium since the arrival of Jose Mourinho, as he launched his tenure with three league wins out of four in a flurry of goals and attacking football. The five games prior to their trip to Munich produced no less than 16 Tottenham goals, while the Special One is sure to be especially pleased that Saturday’s 5-0 drubbing of Burnley also produced his Spurs’ first Premier League clean sheet in three months.
Free Match Tip: WOLVES WIN (SaPariePopette) 3.30
The pick of Sunday’s Premier League action sees Manchester City try to close the ever-increasing gap between themselves and Liverpool against an Arsenal side who are themselves trying to recover from a dismal run of recent form.
The relief from Arsenal fans was almost palpable at the London Stadium on Monday night, when a flurry of second half goals saw them turn a half-time one-goal deficit into a much needed 3-1 win over West Ham United. This result ended a run of nine winless games for the Gunners (D6 L3), was their first league win since beating Bournemouth 1-0 two months ago. The Gunners will be further boosted by Thursday’s late comeback 2-2 draw at Standard Liege, which secured top-spot seeding in the knock-out phase of the Europa League.
Depending on how Liverpool fared at home to Watford on Saturday, Manchester City could well be fully 17 points behind the league leaders by the time they take the field at the Emirates after a disappointing eight-game run by their standards (W3, D3, L2). Pep Guardiola had a resigned forlorn look after his team’s 2-1 home defeat in last week’s Manchester derby, and it will be interesting to see how his team responds on Sunday, although a 4-1 win in Wednesday’s meaningless midweek trip to Zagreb, albeit with a much-changed line-up, will have boosted morale.
Free Match Tip: HT/FT MAN CITY/MAN CITY (GGESPORTES) 2.30
FREE TIP SUMMARY
Liverpool v Watford OVER 3.5 GOALS (Nicori +3,5 Goals) 2.05
Leicester City v Norwich City BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE – NO (EuropeanFootballTips) 1.91
Manchester United v Everton MANCHESTER UNITED -1.00 AH (early_tips) 2.53
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Tottenham Hotspur WOLVES WIN (SaPariePopette) 3.30
Arsenal v Manchester City HT/FT MAN CITY/MAN CITY (GGESPORTES) 2.30