With the final international break before the World Cup concluded, the Premier League roars back into action this weekend for Gameweek 9, with a derby weekend theme.
Opening the slate on Saturday lunchtime, the season’s first North London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur has bigger stakes on the line than for some considerable time as the Gunners lead the standings, with Spurs just a point behind.
Though the gap between the duo is now closer than ever, this fixture does not favour the away side. Indeed, in the last five NLDs, the hosts have taken the win. Antonio Conte’s men have not beaten Arsenal in the league at the Emirates since 2010 and the bookies reflect this statistic. Backing the Gunners to remain top and extend their lead temporarily to four points can be done at a 23/20.
That should not rule out Harry Kane from the equation though. Arsenal’s kryptonite having scored in N5 on four of the last six outings, Kane can back up his emphatic spot kick against Germany in midweek and add to his season tally here at boosted odds of 7/4 (both prices with SpreadEx.)
On Sunday, attentions move to the Manchester derby. Aside from the blip defeat to Real Sociedad, Manchester United have won five of the last six games but this is a different test altogether obviously. Intriguingly, however, unlike with the NLD, this particularly derby contest has more recently favoured the visiting side. Seven of the last 10 meetings in all comps have seen an away win, although City were handsome 4-1 winners back in March at the Etihad.
Given the early-season form of Pep Guardiola’s men, 3/8 odds will give us short shrift, so where can we look for value? Though Erling Haaland drew a rare blank for Norway in midweek, the Norwegian should be in the mix again and for the City hitman to score, City themselves to win and over 2.5 goals to be scored, a 9/4 price with William Hill appeals.
The second all-London encounter of GW9 sees Crystal Palace host Chelsea. This will be Graham Potter’s first league game in charge of the Blues, adding a fascinating layer to proceedings. The only side to beat Palace on their own turf since February are Arsenal, however, the team to do so beforehand were in fact Chelsea via Hakim Ziyech’s 89th minute decider. The visitors’ record against the Eagles in recent times is exemplary having won the last nine league meetings on the bounce. As such, it might be a good time to back Raheem Sterling to net in Potter’s first two games in charge at 3/1 with Betfair and for Sterling to score and Chelsea to win also at 4/1 with BoyleSports.
Casting our punters’ eye elsewhere, West Ham United’s game with Wolves has all the hallmarks of a gritty affair with both sides struggling for goals and an under 1.5 goals punt at 11/5 with Bet365 could come in. On the south coast meanwhile, Southampton and Everton could see an aerially-dominated contest. The Saints have had 5+ corners in their last two home games and with the Toffees also equalling or surpassing that in their last two, 11+ corners at evens with SkyBet suits.
Wrapping up GW9, somewhat of an early relegation six-pointer awaits as Nottingham Forest travel to Leicester City. The Foxes have just a single point from seven games and the onus is surely on them to attack here. That might just leave further issues at the back and Neco Williams could profit. The Forest wing-back has quietly gone under the radar since his move from Liverpool and with one assist this term so far, will be a threat this weekend. The Welshman will fancy his chances of finding space to operate and to grab 1+ assist in the East Midlands can be snapped up at 5/1 with SkyBet.