The Premier League is home to some great local derby matches and this weekend we will see two of the biggest and best derbies in the Premier League.
The first to take place will be early Sunday afternoon as Liverpool welcome their neighbours Everton to Anfield. This is going to be a huge test for newly appointed Everton manager Sam Allardyce as he takes his team to the home of the free-flowing Reds.
Liverpool come into this match undefeated in their last 9 games in all competitions and Jurgen Klopp has got them purring at the top end of the pitch. Not only have Liverpool won by 3 or more goals in their last 3 competitive games, they scored 15 goals with just 1 in reply.
However, while Liverpool have been tough to beat at home in the Premier League, Klopp will be aware they have won only 2 of their last 5 league games at Anfield. There have been wins over Huddersfield Town and Southampton but Liverpool have been held to draws by Burnley, Manchester United and Chelsea.
This will give Everton a glimmer of hope as they try and build on their good recent results in the Premier League and Europa League.
A few weeks ago, you would not have given the Toffees any chance of taking something from this game but good home wins over West Ham United and Huddersfield Town has at least given the Goodison faithful something to cheer about and seen their team move up the table.
The main concerns for Everton fans will be their away form and record against Liverpool. Everton have failed to win an away match in the Premier League this season and you must go back to the 21st January to find the last time they won on the road in the league.
In addition, you must go back to 1999/2000 to find the last time Everton defeated Liverpool at Anfield.
If Everton are to have any chance of taking something from this game, they will need to defend very well and Allardyce is sure to have been working on his set-up for this match, with the idea to try and frustrate the hosts. Expect Everton to pack the midfield and defence and try and hit Liverpool on the counter-attack whenever possible.
Liverpool fans will be looking forward to this game, thinking there could be a trashing in store for their local rivals but with Allardyce in charge at the Toffees, this match may not be the goal fest the home fans are hoping to see. Liverpool should get the win but it may not be as straight forward as many will predict.
The second match to kick-off on Sunday not only has local pride at stake but also the potential destination of the Premier League title.
It’s second vs first. It’s Jose Mourinho vs Pep Guardiola. It’s Manchester United vs Manchester City at Old Trafford.
The hosts know they need to take maximum points from this game if they want to give themselves a chance of overhauling Manchester City at the top of the table. For Pep Guardiola and his team, they know a point would not be a bad result in the grand scheme of things but the Spanish coach is not one to set-up his team for a draw and he will be taking his team to Old Trafford to make a statement.
Usually, when Manchester United are playing at home in the Premier League, they start as favourites to win the game but even the bookmakers have Manchester City down as the favourites to take maximum points.
Manchester United have a great record at home this season and have won each of their last 12 games at Old Trafford. In addition, the Red Devils have not tasted defeat on home soil in their last 41 competitive games, which is a tremendous record and one they will be keen to keep hold of come the final whistle on Sunday.
Mourinho has come under some criticism for his tactics in big games and despite scoring 22 goals in their last 8 Premier League home games, Manchester City’s record of netting 23 goals in their last 8 away league games will be a worry to the Portuguese.
With Paul Pogba missing through suspension, Mourinho may opt for a more defence minded man in the centre of midfield and Ander Herrera could get the nod in the hope he will disrupt the visitor’s forward momentum.
While Pep Guardiola’s formations are not always easy to predict, he likes to play attacking, possession based football and that is not going to change for this game. Expect to see the full-backs always getting forward and for the Citizens to try and push the hosts back towards their own penalty area.
We could see a rare case of Manchester United attempting to play on the break at home but that will suit their players and manager.
Whatever the set-up chosen by the managers, with so many quality attacking players on show, we should see goals in this game. Manchester City have seen a little dip in their performance level in recent weeks and this could give their rivals a chance, who showed how well they can absorb pressure in their win at Arsenal last weekend.
Don’t be surprised to see both teams scoring in this game but the match ultimately finish with a low score draw. Neither manager will be particularly pleased with that outcome but then neither will go away disappointed.
That being said, football doesn’t always play out how we expect it to and that is why we love it so much. But that excitement also leads to making it impossible for punters to predict the outcome of matches (which the bookies love as it means they clean up). The only way you can guarantee a profitable result no matter the football result is by matched betting and the best place for match betting is team profit.
But anyway, we really hope that it’s going be a thrilling Sunday in the Premier League and the build-up to the games will continue throughout the week.
The question is, can the football live up to the hype?