Five games to watch this weekend: Guardiola v Mourinho, Leicester v Liverpool’s depleted backline and more…
We take a look at this weekend’s biggest fixtures
Can Tottenham prove their title credentials, or will Pep Guardiola’s newly signed-contract spur his Manchester City side into life? Plus, how will Liverpool cope with a fresh wave of injuries?
We take at look at these questions and more as we preview our five games to watch this weekend.
Tottenham v Manchester City – Saturday (17:30)
With the attacking partnership of Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min firing on all cylinders and a manager with a history of winning in Jose Mourinho – Spurs are on the cusp of being taken seriously as title contenders. Before that happens, they’ll need to test themselves against the league’s best sides, which is where Manchester City would usually come in.
However, they face a Man City team who have seemed curiously unadventurous in recent league games. Since losing 5-2 to Leicester in September, no City game in the Premier League has featured more than two goals and they’ve only won two of their last five.
But with Pep Guardiola’s future at the club now confirmed and with their two main strikers approaching fitness, could they find themselves revitalised?
There are plenty of questions of both teams to be asked ahead of this one, and our traders make Spurs 16/5 to win, with the draw at 29/10 and a Man City win at 5/6.
Leeds United v Arsenal – Sunday (16:30)
Leeds are one of the league’s most unpredictable teams so far this term, with last year’s Championship winners participants in some of the most electrifying games we’ve seen this season.
On one hand, they boast the league’s joint-worst defensive record after back-to-back 4-1 losses, but on the other hand – striker Patrick Bamford is scoring goals for fun and they’ve shown they’re capable of dismantling some of the league’s best defences.
Arsenal have certainly become a steadier side under manager Mikel Arteta – less brittle and prone to collapse, but despite the addition of Thomas Partey, they’re not the finished article.
They struggled after Partey’s half-time withdrawal when losing 3-0 to Aston Villa two weeks ago and they need to find a way to get Aubameyang on the end of their best chances. The normally prolific striker has been cutting a frustrated figure playing wide on the left and will be looking to expose Leeds’ vulnerability at the back – perhaps in a more central role.
Our traders make Leeds 21/10 to win here, with the draw at 13/5 and an Arsenal win at 5/4.
Liverpool v Leicester City – Sunday (19:15)
Liverpool’s injury woes seem to get worse with every passing day, with Mo Salah the latest casualty (at the time of writing anyway) after a positive Covid-19 test. With captain Jordan Henderson doubtful, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Thiago side-lined and long-term casualties in Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez, Liverpool are down to bare bones.
League leaders Leicester will be seeking to capitalise on the perceived weakness of their opposition as they look to build on three wins in three games and keep their precarious grip on the top spot.
They could be without promising youngster Wesley Fofana,but boast the league’s joint top-scorer in Jamie Vardy, who could enjoy himself against a makeshift backline.
Liverpool are the 10/11 favourites here, with 14/5 about the draw and odds of 29/10 for a Leicester win.
Atlético Madrid v Barcelona – Saturday (20:00)
A 5-2 win and two goals for Lionel Messi against Real Betis last time out will have Barcelona fans hopeful that they’re starting to find their way in the league, but they still find themselves well off the pace.
Atletico on the other hand are unbeaten and find themselves just three points behind league leaders Real Sociedad with two games in hand. With both Real Madrid and Barcelona struggling so far this season, Diego Simeone will see this as an opportunity to break the duopoly and win their first league title since the 2013/14 season.
A win here against Barcelona would be a real statement of intent for Atletico, though striker Luis Suarez won’t be available to face his former club after testing positive for Covid-19.
Atletico are marginal favourites at 9/5 to win here, with the draw at 12/5 and a Barcelona win at 29/20.
Bournemouth v Reading – Saturday (12:30)
After a stunning and rather unexpected start to their campaign, it looks like the wheels have started to fall off the runaway Reading train. After seven wins and one draw in their opening eight games, Reading have since lost three in a row, with injuries to key players hindering their cause.
The Royals are still clinging on to the Championship top-spot, albeit by just a point, but their defensive frailties have been exposed in recent weeks – conceding nine goals in three, after conceding just three in their first eight.
Bournemouth are unbeaten at home and find themselves in fourth after a 3-1 win away to Birmingham last time out. They’re certainly expected to be among the promotion contenders this year and will see this as an important three points against a rival.
Bournemouth are the 3/4 favourites here, with 27/10 about the draw and a Reading win at 21/5.
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All odds and markets correct as of date of publication