Tigers can tame Gunners

Our tipster Andy Schooler previews Sunday's Premier League matches and fancies Arsenal to suffer a setback at Hull.

Last Updated: 20/04/14 at 14:42 Post Comment

Jelavic and Long can cause Arsenal problems

Jelavic and Long can cause Arsenal problems

That game is one of three being televised on Sky Sports with league leaders Liverpool in action at Norwich and Arsenal's top-four rivals Everton hosting Manchester United.

Our match-by-match verdict of the day's action can be found below.

Norwich v Liverpool (1200 BST)

I've thought long and hard about this game and have come to the conclusion that betting on it isn't the best idea. Both sides are desperate for the points for differing reasons - this is the first of four well-publicised tough games for the relegation-threatened hosts, while Liverpool know four wins in their final four matches will see them crowned champions. The recent history of this fixture is strongly in the visitors' favour, while the fact that they've won their last 10 games means there's hardly a scrap of value to be had in siding with the Reds. Norwich have lost this fixture 5-2 and 3-0 in the last two seasons, Luis Suarez scoring a hat-trick on both occasions. He bagged four in this season's reverse fixture at Anfield (5-1), while Norwich also lost 5-0 there last term (just the one for the Uruguayan that day). The Canaries are likely to be heavily scarred by the manner of those losses and it's easy to make a case for Liverpool to win easily. You can get just 9/1 about them scoring five again - not a bad price based on that history and one likely to be backed. However, in the main prices are short indeed (5/2 about them winning by two or more; 19/20 HT-FT - something they've failed to do in their last two away games). There are reasons to be concerned about backing such prices too. First up, the dynamic has changed as far as Liverpool are concerned. Steven Gerrard was quick to tell his team-mates: "We go to Norwich and do exactly the same," but now they are favourites will they be inhibited by the different pressure? Also, this game is kicking off at the ludicrous time of 1200 and how many times have we seen lethargic openings to such matches? What will definitely cause some disruption is Jordan Henderson's suspension - Joe Allen will likely fill in. Finally Norwich actually have a decent home record - they've conceded just 13 goals in 17 matches at Carrow Road. Manchester City couldn't win here, neither could Everton or Spurs, while Chelsea needed two late goals to do so. As already suggested, Liverpool's dominance of this fixture means they are unlikely to join the list of those to have slipped up in Norfolk but at the same time short prices about that happening aren't for me. One bigger price worth a mention is that Martin Skrtel is 13/2 to score at any time. He's scored five times in Liverpool's 10-game winning run so if you do feel they will go to town in this one, it could be a price worth taking. Sadly there's little to suggest the hosts are particularly vulnerable from set-plays.

Verdict: Norwich 1 Liverpool 3

Opta stats:

Norwich have lost eight and won none of their last nine Barclays Premier League games against Liverpool, conceding five goals in each of the last three.

Luis Suarez has scored 11 goals in five Premier League meetings with Norwich, including a PL-record three hat-tricks.

No team has scored more than 90 goals in the English top-flight and not won the title since West Brom in 1965-66 (came sixth). Liverpool have 93 so far.

Martin Skrtel is the top scoring defender in the Premier League this season (seven goals).

Hull v Arsenal (1405)

A dress rehearsal for the FA Cup final takes place at the KC Stadium and, on paper, this looks one of the trickier fixtures that Arsenal have left. Crystal Palace did them a massive favour at Everton in midweek and the Gunners now have their top-four destiny back in their own hands - four wins from here and they will make it once again. They are odds-on shots here but victory should by no means be taken for granted. The heady pre-Christmas days which brought a comfortable 2-0 win in the reverse fixture and saw them leading the league are long gone and away-day troubles need to be put behind them. Aside from a narrow derby win at Spurs, you have to go back to mid-January to find Arsenal's last away victory. They've taken some real poundings (see Liverpool, Chelsea and Everton) while they also went down at Stoke on their travels. I remain fully unconvinced that a come-from-behind home win over West Ham in midweek has cured all their ills. Hull's home record isn't quite at Stoke's level but it isn't bad. They've won seven (including one v Liverpool) and drawn four of their 17 games at the KC and kept eight clean sheets in that time with their strong defence being the main reason they've done so well so far this season - many had them to be down by now back in the summer. We've mentioned before on these pages the added dimension Shane Long and Nikica Jelavic have given them and they'll be back for this one after last weekend's Cup semi-final success and they should keep an Arsenal defence, which has kept only one of its last 13 opponents out, busy. Mathieu Flamini's return will help Arsenal on that score but with safety still not secured, a possible pyschological advantage to be gained and with a bunch of seriously happy fans behind them, Hull look too big at 4/1 to me here. The draw-no-bet market carries a safety net and has them at 13/5 which seems worth a shot.

Verdict: Hull 2 Arsenal 1

Opta stats:

Hull have lost nine of their last 10 games against Arsenal in all competitions (W1).

Nicklas Bendtner has scored in three of his four Barclays Premier League appearances against Hull.

Arsenal have conceded 15 goals in their last five Premier League away games and scored just one in their last four.

Oliver Giroud's goal against West Ham in midweek was his 25th in the Premier League. Only seven of them have come away from home.

Everton v Manchester United (1610)

Everton's race might just have been run. It's been a fine season for the Toffees but they tripped as they entered the home straight in midweek, losing for only the second time at home at Goodison this season when Crystal Palace thwarted them with an impressive defensive performance. Can David Moyes orchestrate a repeat on his return to the famous old stadium which is sure to be rocking again by kick-off, even more so if Hull have got a result against Arsenal in the preceding game? Well, it's more than a year since Everton suffered back-to-back league defeats, while you have to go back to November to find the last time they went consecutive games without a win. That shows their powers of recovery are strong but that trait looks set to be tested here. United have kept five consecutive clean sheets in away league games and it has been well documented that they own the top flight's best away record; their problems have been at Old Trafford where Everton won 1-0 back in December. That tightening in their defence is bad news for an Everton side who lacked ideas of how to break down Palace's two lines of four on Wednesday for much of the match. Recovering from that result, which must have been a crushing one mentally, will also test Everton's resolve. And with United well rested having not played for 11 days, the 2/1 about an away win simply looks too big.

Verdict: Everton 0 Manchester United 1

Opta stats:Romelu Lukaku scored a hat-trick in his only previous home league game against Manchester United; a 5-5 draw for West Bromwich Albion on the final day of the 2012/13 season.

Manchester United have only won one of their last five Premier League games at Goodison Park (D2 L2).

At time of writing, Manchester United have picked up more points away from home than any other Premier League team this season (33).

Wayne Rooney has scored only four goals in 15 Premier League appearances against former club Everton.

  • Posted at 2300 BST on 17/04/2014.


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