Derby draw on the cards

Our tipster Nick Hext fancies a draw in today's North London derby with Christian Eriksen possible value in the scorer markets.

Last Updated: 16/03/14 at 15:24 Post Comment

Manchester United: Backed for victory over Liverpool

Manchester United: Backed for victory over Liverpool

Nick Hext backs Manchester United to beat Liverpool on a blockbuster Super Sunday in the Barclays Premier League.

Tottenham host north London rivals Arsenal in the day's second and final contest with our man predicting a close contest.

Read on for full match-by-match verdicts:

Manchester United v Liverpool (1330 GMT)

It really is a Sunday in the Premier League that can be described as Super and the action starts with this blockbuster contest between old rivals Manchester United and Liverpool. There's no doubting which club is feeling chirpier ahead of the game with Liverpool riding high in second before the weekend's matches. It has been an excellent season for Brendan Rodgers' Reds and it would be a huge surprise if a spot in the Champions League managed to evade their grasp. We all know the strength of the side is built on attack rather than defence - 16 goals have been scored in the last five matches while the eight conceded is a worse record than the rest of the top four over the same period - and Luis Suarez is the star of the season. The Uruguayan though has only scored once in his last six matches, a goal drought by his exceedingly high standards and the goals have been shared amongst the rest of the ranks. There is pressure on Liverpool with just one win in their last nine Premier League trips to Old Trafford - Steven Gerrard kissing the camera, Andrea Dossena sealing the win and plenty more if you remember back to 2009 - and the fans will feel this is a chance for another memorable outing. It might not work out like that. Don't call it a comeback from Manchester United but there have been some decent signs recently. The performance in last weekend's 3-0 win at West Brom was strong and that made it a successful return to action after a break of a week-and-a-half following the poor display in the 2-0 Champions League defeat at Olympiacos. Juan Mata is making a difference following his big-money move from Chelsea and that helps further compliment an attack that contains Wayne Rooney and Adnan Januzaj, the two bright sparks during a frustrating campaign. The Red Devils can be got at but its currently three top-flight clean sheets in a row and a stronger defensive record over the season than Liverpool. Odds of 13/10 for the home win make plenty of appeal to me with United desperate to prove that they can still be considered a force. A failure to get positive results in the upcoming two matches on Sunday and against Olympiacos on Wednesday would really see the pressure heaped to a new high on David Moyes and he knows that. Expect the Red Devils to be up for this match and take advantage of a rare odds-against offer for a United victory at Old Trafford.

Verdict: Manchester United 2 Liverpool 1

Opta stats:

Manchester United have won eight of the last nine Barclays Premier League home games against Liverpool (W8 D0 L1).

Robin van Persie has scored six goals in his last seven Barclays Premier League starts against Liverpool.

Only Everton v Liverpool (20) has seen more red cards than the Liverpool v Manchester United fixture in the Premier League (14).

Liverpool have been awarded more penalties than any other Premier League side this season (7).

Tottenham v Arsenal (1600)

The pressure is on Tottenham boss Tim Sherwood ahead of the north London derby against Arsenal after a truly miserable week. A 4-0 defeat at Chelsea in the Premier League last weekend was followed by a 3-1 loss at home to Benfica in the Europa League on Thursday night. Sherwood has already spoken of his dissatisfaction with his squad after capitulating at Stamford Bridge and it didn't create an improved performance next time out. That leaves plenty to prove for Spurs when they face their fierce rivals but it's hard to find faith that things will improve soon, at least on a consistent basis. The recent home record in the league has been good though - the only match not won in the last five games was the 5-1 thrashing at the hands of Manchester City. That is a good return but the morale must be close to rock bottom after recent events and there are far too many players out of form. Arsenal should see this as a chance to really nail down their top-four spot and possibly reaffirm their status in the title race. However, the Gunners are not on song outside the Emirates Stadium with no win their last four away games. Arsene Wenger should still feel confident of a return to the Champions League next season but a bit more consistency for the rest of the campaign is needed to make sure of qualification. A point at the side currently sitting one place outside of the top four wouldn't be a bad return and a draw looks a decent shout to me. That would of course stop the recent rot for Tottenham. One man to watch out for in the contest is Spurs midfielder Christian Eriksen. He's scored in both of his last two appearances - including a great free-kick in the defeat against Benfica - and you could do worse than have a look at the 5/1 for him to net against the Gunners. His chances are of course dependant on whether he gets the nod to start from Sherwood.

Verdict: Tottenham 1 Arsenal 1

Opta stats:

Tottenham have kept four clean sheets in their last five Barclays Premier League home games but shipped five against Manchester City in the other match.

Arsenal have kept only one clean sheet in their last seven Barclays Premier League away games and have won none of the last three (D1 L2).

Arsenal have won none of the last five Premier League north London derbies at White Hart Lane (W0 D2 L3) with all three defeats by a 1-2 scoreline.

Only Liverpool v Newcastle (126) has seen more goals than Arsenal v Tottenham (125) in Barclays Premier League history.

  • Posted at 0930 GMT on 14/03/2014.

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