Neighbours. Everybody needs good neighbours. Doesn’t mean you have to like them though, and this Sunday sees neighbours clash in the west and north of London before Merseyside completes the set.
The fixture list is random though, don’t let them tell you otherwise.
As there’s derbies all over the place, we’re going to take a look at all three to see what bets stand out.
In the opening match of the day at noon, Chelsea are unsurprisingly red-hot favourites to bounce back from their Wembley wobble with a win against their former manager. Paddy will give you just 1/8 for a home victory, so how can we make a little more money?
Traditionally this has been a low scoring fixture. None of the last five meetings at Stamford Bridge have had more than two goals in them, with two 0-0’s included in the batch. However, the last of these matches was five years ago, so the ‘head to head’ record isn’t much use here.
What’s more relevant is that Chelsea’s two home meetings with teams currently in the bottom half have seen at least four goals in.
They also beat the bottom two sides 5-0 and 3-0 at home last season, so with Fulham in 20th and leakier than the emblem of Wales, it’s safe to expect a few goals here.
Pairing a Chelsea win with over 2.5 goals gives you odds of a shade over 2/5, or you’ll get around even money if you do a double on over 3.5 goals with a home win.
André Schürrle scored a hat trick the last time these teams met, but he wouldn’t be my first choice in the scorer market. I tipped Willian to score last week, for all the good it did me. He did though miss Chelsea’s highest value chance aside from the goal, so I wouldn’t dissuade you from picking him again. The Brazilian is 11/10 to get on the score sheet.
Across town, history points towards a draw in the north London derby. Arsenal have won just one of their last eight league matches with Tottenham – albeit it was in this fixture last season – while Spurs have won just one of their last 25 away league games against the Gunners.
Indeed, prior to Arsenal’s 2-0 victory in 2017/18 the previous three meetings at the Emirates all ended in a 1-1 draw. Plus – all together now – 1-1 has been the most common score line in Premier League matches among the big six in the last few years.
My expected goals nerdometer spits out 1-1 as the most likely result here too. A bet on that is yours with odds of 13/2 should you happen to agree with me.
Another bet worth considering is for both teams to score, at 2/5. According to Stats Zone, matches between Arsenal and Tottenham have seen both teams score more times than any other fixture in Premier League history. That’s despite it not happening in any of the last three meetings, so presumably it must be due to happen again.
Where Willian let me down last week, my Harry Kane scorer tip paid off. Such insight, eh? The England captain is a decent choice once again, as he loves playing against Arsenal. Wouldn’t you though, have you seen their defence?
Kane has scored seven goals in eight matches against the Gunners.
He’s only netted more against Leicester and Stoke, making Arsenal his favourite big team. Kane is 7/2 to score first, or 8/11 at any time. As Mike Dean is the referee for this one, he’ll almost certainly get a penalty too. Or at least he will if Arsenal fans on Twitter are to be believed.
Once that dust up is done, we head north for the 232nd Merseyside derby. Why aren’t other derbies routinely prefaced by a number, only this one?
Whatever the number is, it doesn’t seem to help Everton, particularly when they play at Anfield.
They last won there so long ago (1999!), S Club 7, Shania Twain and Lou Bega were in the top five at the time. The number one was a song called ‘Blue’. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
Paddy must agree, as the Blues are 15/2 to win on Sunday while Liverpool are 1/3. Confident Kopites will want to get on the handicap odds of evens for Liverpool to win if giving Everton a one goal start. The underlying statistics from this season suggest it’s a better than a 50/50 chance. The Toffees have taken six points on the road under Marco Silva but their performances suggest they’ve only merited three.
Plus it’s very hard to make a case for Liverpool to lose when they’ve only conceded one goal in their last 11 league games at Anfield. Fancy them to keep a clean sheet here? It’s available at 6/5, and while Everton have scored in their last three matches at Anfield, I’d definitely keep it in mind.
As three of the last five meetings have had fewer than three goals, I’d also consider a flutter on under 2.5 goals, at 7/5. With the visitors aiming to keep things tight while finding it tough to score, and Liverpool fatigued from a midweek trip to Paris (for Christmas shopping, presumably) this isn’t likely to be a goal fest.
Considering it’s the fixture with the most red cards in Premier League history, it’s perhaps surprising that an inexperienced referee – Chris Kavanagh, who has 25 top flight games to his name – has got the gig.
One of his three Premier League cards was shown to an Everton player too, though as it was Ashley Williams at Burnley last season, he was probably doing them a favour.
However, he doesn’t reach for his notebook very often compared to most refs, so be wary in the cards markets. Perhaps he can help good neighbours become good friends?
*Prices correct at time of posting