Sam Hendry marks your card for the weekend’s football action
England’s two best sides Liverpool and Manchester City renew their rivalry at Anfield on Sunday in a game which could shape the season to come.
A win for Liverpool would surely set up one of the great title races of all-time, whereas a City triumph would hand them a major psychological boost and extend the hosts winless run to four, potentially marking the start of another title procession.
Kevin De Bruyne has returned to training ahead of schedule and it’s not impossible that he will play a part here, but Bernardo Silva has been excellent and namesake David as majestic as ever in the Belgian’s absence and it would be a surprise if Pep Guardiola were to immediately rush him back to action.
The Reds had boasted a 100% record before their double header with Chelsea but despite only trailing City on goal difference, their performances haven’t quite hit the dizzying heights of last season thus far.
A big miss for Liverpool, particularly in this game, will be Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain whose dynamism caused City a host of problems in their meetings in the second half of last season.
City have conceded seven goals in their last two trips to Anfield and the rabid atmosphere and adrenaline which will be felt on Sunday could certainly propel Liverpool into producing the kind of rollicking show which has become their trademark.
But Pep Guardiola has yet to meet a problem he couldn’t overcome and on current form I’m backing City to take all three points at 9/5 (Paddy Power, Sky Bet)
Highly touted before the season began, it’s been a tough re-introduction to Premier League life for Fulham who have recorded just one win so far and are only spared a place in the relegation zone by the hapless trio of Newcastle, Cardiff and Huddersfield.
After defeats in their opening two games of the campaign, Arsenal have been quietly building momentum since then with Thursday’s win over Qarabag marking their eighth consecutive victory in all competitions.
That momentum has been building during matches too; the Gunners haven’t led at half-time of a Premier League match all season, with their last three games all goalless after 45 minutes.
That trend could continue Sunday where Arsenal’s late return from their lengthy Europa League trek to Azerbaijan and the early kick-off time of midday could contribute to a sleepy atmosphere.
It is 3/1 (generally) for the score to be 0-0 at half-time and 4/1 for the half-time draw/full-time Arsenal (Sky Bet, Betfred).
Burnley can record their third consecutive victory when they host struggling Huddersfield Town on Saturday afternoon.
There were no goals in either of the corresponding fixtures between these two teams last season and another low-scoring affair could be on the cards here.
Huddersfield have the worst attack in the league with just three goals so far, while Burnley’s 4-0 thrashing of Bournemouth two weeks ago was an outlier for a team that, despite finishing seventh, averaged less than a goal per game last season.
It’s no surprise that Burnley have begun getting the league results they expected now that their small squad is free of European and League Cup responsibilities and they can win again here at 5/4 (generally).