Chelsea v Arsenal
Arsenal have enjoyed a superb season so far, but there were one or two concerns over fatigue after they dropped two points at Southampton and then suffered defeat to PSV in Europe, both on their travels. A romping 5-0 home win over Nottingham Forest has helped alleviate those fears, though a meeting with the league’s bottom side always offered an opportunity to get back on track.
Mikel Arteta is still without Emile Smith Rowe, but the likes of Bukayo Saka and Oleksandr Zinchenko are available again to help ease the burden on his squad. Graham Potter has his own concerns, with Ben Chillwell the latest to join the treatment room, further limiting his options out wide with Reece James already sidelined on the other flank. N’Golo Kante and Wesley Fofana are also absent, though Denis Zakaria has overcome a slight knock picked up midweek.
Arsenal claimed wins over Tottenham and Liverpool at the Emirates last month to continue their fine start, though they have lost their only trip to a top-six side this season at Old Trafford. All three produced entertainment however as they each saw a minimum of four goals, and we could be in for another thriller after these two served up a six-goal affair when they last met back in April.
In fact, over 2.5 goals and both teams to score has landed in eight of the last 11 head-to-heads in all competitions. Chelsea head into this fixture having seen both sides net in each of their last four, with Brighton tucking four past them last weekend, sandwiched by 2-1 wins over Salzburg and Dinamo Zagreb in Europe. Moreover, the Gunners have seen at least three goals in nine of their past 11 league games now.
OVER 2.5 GOALS
Aston Villa v Man Utd
Although needing one more goal to top their Europa League group, Man Utd will nonetheless feel pleased with their win over Real Sociedad, with that result taking them to seven wins from nine unbeaten games. It also represented a sixth clean sheet in seven as only Chelsea manged to breach their backline late on, as the likes of Newcastle, Tottenham and West Ham have all been denied.
Aston Villa turned in a performance in the immediate aftermath of Steven Gerrard’s sacking, beating Brentford 4-0, though they’ve been dealt a swift reality check having succumbed to the same scoreline at Newcastle. That means they’ve lost without scoring in thee of four appearances now, with current top-seven sides Chelsea (2-0) and Fulham (3-0) also enjoying comfortable afternoons.
The midlands club have actually lost five of six clashes with top-half sides this term, and clearly new boss Unai Emery will be set out to frustrate his opponents. That could see a contest short on flair, especially considering Erik ten Haag has some selection problems in attack. Width in particular could be an issue with Anthony, Jadon Sancho and Anthony Martial all unavailable, which handed midweek goalscorer Alejandro Garnacho his chance to impress.
Man Utd have bagged more than two goals in just one of their past eight outings now in all competitions, while 10 of their 12 victories this season have featured a maximum of three goals. With forwards reinforcements in short supply but with a defence that’s delivering the goods, they should take a low-scoring win.
MAN UNITED TO WIN AND UNDER 3.5 GOALS
Southampton v Newcastle
Ralph Hasenhuttl is under pressure again with his side just a point above the relegation zone, having seen them deliver a dispiriting W1-D2-L5 record since the start of September. They only mustered four goals of their own over this spell, though admittedly it’s on their travels where they’ve struggled for output the most.
Indeed, the Saints have lost without finding the net in four of their last five away from home, whereas they’ve drawn a blank in just one of their home games this term. Going back to just over 12 months, Southampton have scored in an incredible 23 of 25 home fixtures across all competitions, with both teams registering on 18 occasions.
They’re just W2-D3-L8 over the last 13 of those results, but while they failed to score in defeats to Chelsea and Man Utd, they registered in all the other losses, including clashes with the likes of Man City, Liverpool and Newcastle themselves. Both teams have now scored in each of the past three head-to-heads between these sides, with the Magpies winning two and drawing the other.
Newcastle have amassed twice as many points as the Saints so far, with just one defeat to their name all season as that came at Anfield. They enter this off the back of five wins from their last six, but while they hold the best defensive record in the division, Southampton’s strong scoring record at home certainly threatens another clean sheet. Newcastle conceded goals in wins over the likes of Fulham and Brentford last month, and in fact four of their five league wins on the road since March have seen them concede, with the exception against a dreadful Norwich side that were by far the division’s lowest scorers last term.
NEWCASTLE TO WIN AND BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE
West Ham v Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace continue to deliver the goods at Selhurst Park, where they’ve been excellent going back to February, but they can’t buy a win on the road. They’ve picked up just four victories away in the league since the start of last season under Patrick Vieira, with none coming in the current campaign, while they’ve failed to even register a goal in their past three trips to Newcastle, Leicester and Everton.
Similarly, the Hammers have been dreadful on their travels with a W2-D2-L11 record in the league dating back to January, with those victories achieved over Norwich last term and against a struggling Villa side in August. However, they’ve picked up victories in their last three at home to Wolves, Fulham and Bournemouth, leaving them with six wins on the bounce there in all competitions.
This fixture has certainly entertained in recent times with both teams scoring in all 10 meetings across the past five seasons, with seven of these featuring at least three goals, while five saw a minimum of four. However, we wouldn’t bank on that trend continuing here, with just 10 goals scored across the Hammers’ past six in all competitions,
WEST HAM TO WIN
Tottenham v Liverpool
Liverpool may have become the first team to beat Napoli this season, putting an end to their 13-game winning streak, but they still have plenty of convincing to do after back-to-back league defeats to bottom-six sides Nottingham Forest and Leeds. There’s still an extensive injury list for Jurgen Klopp to navigate as well, with Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota absent in attack, Joel Matip sidelined at the back, while bit-part midfielders Naby Keita and Arthur are unavailable too.
Antonio Conte isn’t without his own selection problems, with centre-back Cristian Romero and attacking trio Heung-min Son, Richarlison and Dejan Kulusevski out at present. Still, the Italian will feel his team are chugging along nicely, sitting in third place domestically and topping their Champions League group, though there’s increasing scrutiny on his perceived defensive tactics and the London side have certainly ridden their luck in recent weeks. If it wasn’t for late winners against Everton (86th minute), Bournemouth (92nd) and Marseille (95th), Tottenham would now be six without a win, while they’d have been dumped out of the top four and finished second in a relatively kind Champions League group.
That negative approach has seemingly backfired with Spurs losing three of four winless clashes against the top six in the table this term, though only a 2-0 defeat to Man Utd saw fewer than three goals as both teams scored in each of the other games too. Both sides have in fact scored in 12 of 15 head-to-heads with Liverpool in all competitions since 2016, including five score draws, with both clashes going that way last term.
DRAW AND BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE
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