A cracking weekend of Premier League action is headlined by the north London derby at lunchtime on Saturday and Arsenal are fancied to leave Wembley with a share of the spoils.
There are a couple of easy preconceptions that should be brushed aside before considering this game as a betting medium.
‘Tottenham do not like Wembley’ – Mauricio Pochettino’s side are undefeated in their last 12 home matches in the Premier League.
‘Arsenal are a soft touch’ – Their away league form remains a worry but the Gunners showed real determination last month to stifle Chelsea in the League Cup at Stamford Bridge before overcoming a poor start at the Emirates to win the second leg.
Arsene Wenger’s side remain prone to throwing in the odd wobbler (see Swansea away) but new signings Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan could be vital for this derby tussle.
Spurs took advantage of a rigid Manchester United side at Wembley recently but their own deficiencies were clear at Anfield last Sunday when put under some pressure by Liverpool.
With Arsenal’s defence still a matter of concern, Wenger must appreciate that attacking on the wide open expanses of Wembley is the likeliest source of joy for his team in this vital game.
Victory for Arsenal and they move a point behind Spurs – lose and they are seven behind Pochettino’s men and very much up against it in the top-four race.
Aubameyang can get at Tottenham and I expect there will be goals at Wembley.
Later on, Everton can get back on track by obliging at 6/5 in their home clash with Crystal Palace. The Toffees were abysmal against Arsenal last weekend, but their previous home win over Leicester was more like it.
Roy Hodgson has made Palace hard to beat, just three defeats in 16, but the injuries are mounting up and losing Wilfried Zaha is the biggest blow to date. Everton can take advantage.
Also at odds against of 23/20 are Stoke at home to Brighton and that is worth taking. The Potters have improved since Paul Lambert took over, with four points from their first two under the Scot.
They were unfortunate last weekend against a Bournemouth side in useful form themselves. Brighton got a much-needed win at home to West Ham last weekend but the Seagulls have scored just two goals in their previous eight on the road and that makes them opposable for this game.
Onto Sunday and Liverpool are fancied to take care of Southampton at St Mary’s. The Reds won the reverse fixture 3-0 at Anfield, ending a dismal run of five without success against the Saints.
Southampton have managed just one home win from six attempts recently and may again struggle to hold Liverpool’s attack at bay. The Reds can come out best at 10/13.
Virgil van Dijk can count on a warm reception from the home fans. The big Dutch defender has already shown his fondness for a goal since joining Liverpool and there are plenty worse bets than the 25/4 on offer that he will find the net against his former club.
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