This weekend’s Premier League Football truly is Derby Day with a trio of important clashes between local clubs. The most important of those is definitely the Manchester Derby featuring Manchester City vs Manchester United as City can win the Premier League Title if they beat United at the Etihad on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Liverpool will be in buoyant mood after their 3-0 Champions League win over Manchester City and it will be interesting to see if they can match the attacking-quality they showed in that game in this weekend’s Merseyside Derby against Everton. Last, but not least, London rivals Chelsea and West Ham face each other on Sunday in a battle that could have a bearing on the type of football both clubs are playing next season.
Everton vs Liverpool
Everton haven’t won a Merseyside Derby since 2010, though that win did come at Goodison Park. Since then, the 16 matches between the two Merseyside giants have resulted in eight wins for Liverpool and eight draws. Only six of those matches have been played at Goodison Park though and four of those of have been draws.
The last three Merseyside derbies played at Goodison Park have all produced less than 2.5 goals.
Manchester City vs Manchester United
The Manchester City fans will ultimately be the happiest fans in Manchester this season as they will surely be crowned Premier League Champions regardless of the result of this Saturday’s Manchester Derby.
However, I doubt anything would make that success sweeter than being able to win on Saturday and celebrate being Champions in front of their neighbours Manchester United, in whose shadow they had to stand in for more years than they will care to remember. Only a win will see them crowned champions though and Jose Mourinho and his players won’t fancy being on the wrong end of City’s title-winning celebrations.
Mourinho also managed to secure a 0-0 draw at the Etihad in his first season in charge and, though City are a better team this season, Pep Guardiola’s team may have to wait at least one more week to win the 2017/18 Premier League.
Chelsea vs West Ham
Chelsea’s defeat in last weekend’s London Derby against Tottenham has probably cost them their place in next season’s Champions League. However, as they’re only eight-points behind Tottenham with seven matches still to play, Antonio Conte won’t let his side give up hope of Champions League qualification just yet.
West Ham aren’t likely to make life easy for Chelsea though as they continue to fight for their Premier League survival and should be motivated by the fact they beat Chelsea earlier this season. The bad news for West Ham is they haven’t won at Stamford Bridge for 16-years and have lost nine of the 12 matches between the two sides there since. It was a similar scenario for Tottenham last week though for anyone thinking about taking double-figure prices about a West Ham win.
Premier League Relegation Matches
The bottom eleven teams in the Premier League Table have yet to reach the fabled Premier League survival total of 38 points and, though some are getting close to it, any of those teams losing two or three matches on the trot could quickly get sucked into the relegation battle.
West Brom are probably doomed but could still have a part to play as they take on Swansea this Saturday. Swansea are three-points above the relegation zone and have won their last two home games against West Brom, but they haven’t won any of their last three away games against them.
Stoke are second bottom of the Premier League and desperately need to halt a run of seven games without a win, including three successive defeats. However, that run may be about to continue judging off the last four matches against this weekend’s opponents Tottenham. Tottenham have been ruthless in battering Stoke 4-0 away from home in the last two seasons and have also won their two home matches against them 4-0 and 5-1.
There’s also a big match between Brighton and Huddersfield and a win for Brighton would move them six-points clear of their rivals, whilst a win for Huddersfield would put them level on points. The last four matches between the two teams have been won by the home team.
One team who is fighting for survival who will be looking forward to their weekend fixture is Crystal Palace who travel to Bournemouth where they won 2-0 last season. Palace have had a tricky run of fixtures of late having played Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham in their last five matches, but will be looking to get some points on the board against a Bournemouth side whose only win in their last six matches came against West Brom.
Cardiff take on Wolves on Friday night in a match that should go a long way in deciding the Championship Title. Cardiff are just six-points behind Wolves, but have a game in hand, and victory here would give them every chance of being promoted to the Premier League as Champions. They’ll be confident too as they’ve won four of their last five games against Wolves, including their last two home games and also the reverse fixture earlier this season. The last four matches between them have also produced more than 2.5 goals.
Wigan are still favourites to win League 1 but they let Blackburn back in the hunt last weekend with an away defeat at Portsmouth. They should get back on track with three-points at home against MK Dons this weekend though they only won the reverse fixture 1-0 earlier this season after both teams had a player sent-off. Meanwhile, leaders Blackburn potentially have a tougher match as they host Southend who beat them 2-0 in the reverse fixture this season.
Luton’s shaky finish to the season could well hand the title to Accrington but, if their recent matches against Yeovil are anything to go by, then Luton fans should have some fun this weekend. Luton have won the last the matches between the teams 8-2, 4-0, and 5-2, so it may be one to take a risk on another high-scoring game.
Meanwhile, leaders Accrington look a decent-price against Colchester as they’ve on their last three against them including last year’s away fixture 2-1. All three wins produced more than 2.5 goals with both teams scoring.
Juventus extended their lead to four points last weekend and it’s hard to see them throwing that lead away this weekend as they travel to bottom club Benevento. There’s not much previous form to go on but Juventus won their home game 2-1 earlier this season.
Meanwhile, Napoli are as short as 1/6 to beat Chievo this weekend but only drew the reverse fixture earlier in the season and also drew a home friendly in July.
Odds of a Draw at 8.00 with Black Type look good value on this game.
The big game in Spain this weekend sees Real Madrid take on Atletico Madrid and a win for third-placed Real would see them close to within one-point of second-place Atletico. Real do have the distraction of their Champions League quarter-final second-leg this week though so, with two of the last three renewals being draws, and six of the last 12 matches between the two teams also being draws, the draw could be the value.