Remember Paris? That was fun. Since the miracle of the Parc Des Princes (I’m tempted to call it mir-VAR-cle, but we’ll leave the strained VAR puns to others) the wheels have well and truly come off of Ole’s merry bandwagon, and the dip in form makes Everton, somehow, appeal here.
Historically, the Blues of Merseyside have lost more Premier League games against United than any other side, and even in recent years, where the Ferguson aura of invincibility seeped away, Evertonians didn’t enjoy the benefits like other sides. Solskjaer’s side haven’t lost any of their last eight games against Everton despite the spinning of the Old Trafford manager’s seat as one boss arrived and another departed.
But, despite all the turmoil of recent seasons, you’d still wonder if any of those United’s sides came to Goodison playing as badly as the current lot.
They’ve two wins in seven since the PSG turnaround, and both of those results, over Watford and West Ham, came at home and with enough luck to fill a fjord (Norwegian, see?)
Of the five losses, four were away, and all were against sides better than Everton – Wolves twice, Barcelona twice and Arsenal at the Emirates, but you really would struggle to take United as 13/10 favourites here given how they’re going.
As for Everton, they’ve really had the proverbial rollercoaster of a season, with a huge dip down through the winter, and last week’s loss to Fulham was typical of their unpredictable ways as it followed three straight wins over Chelsea, West Ham and Arsenal. They kept a clean sheet in those three wins too, and it’s that version of Marco Silva’s side that I’d expect to turn up on Sunday, so Everton to win looks very tempting at 21/10.
Arsenal have won eight games in a row in all competitions, a streak stretching back to January 25th when they went down 3-1 to Man United in the FA Cup.
To find the last time they failed to win at home in the Premier League, you’ll need to go to November 11th, when they were held 1-1 at the Emirates by Wolves.
They haven’t lost at home in the league since the opening day of the season, and have taken 44 points from 51 at their own stadium. Whatever about Arsenal’s away form, this is a seriously powerful outfit when they play in what is clearly a fortress, albeit a very quiet and sparsely populated one.
As for Palace, they’re noticeably – and puzzlingly – better on their travels, taking 23 points away and just 16 at home this season. But are they capable of doing what Chelsea, Tottenham, Liverpool and Man United all failed to do in 2018-19 and beat the Gunners on their own patch in the league?
You’d have to think not. A draw is obviously a possibility, but Arsenal have only allowed three teams to escape from North London with actual Premier League points this season (City, Liverpool, Wolves) – it’s hard to see Palace becoming the fourth.
Even allowing for owner Vincent Tan’s repeated attempts to change the colour of their traditional strip, Bluebirds fans will be even less happy to see red jerseys on the Cardiff City Stadium sod this Sunday afternoon.
That’s because they have an utterly woeful record against Liverpool in the Premier League, losing all three previous meetings of the pair and conceding a whopping 13 goals in the process. The Reds were also rampant when the sides faced off at Anfield last October, scoring a 4-1 victory thanks to goals from Mohamed Salah, Xherdan Shaqiri and a brace from Sadio Mané.
Speaking of Salah, he’s netted twice in three days to end the apparent goal drought he was suffering from and if he finds the net on Sunday that will be his 20th in the league this campaign.
Hitting that mark would make him only the third Liverpool player to achieve the feat in consecutive Premier League seasons – Robbie Fowler (1994-95, 1995-96) and Luis Suarez (2012-13, 2013-14) were the other two to do it for all you stats nerds out there.
If you were to nitpick at Jurgen Klopp’s men, the one criticism you find of late is their failure to keep a clean sheet away from home. Alisson has had to pick the ball out of his net once in each of their last four away games, so that offers Neil Warnock’s charges the tiniest glimmer of hope here.
The Bluebirds did manage a huge victory at Brighton on Tuesday night to keep their hopes of surviving alive, but we just can’t see them winning this. Liverpool are far too strong and way too focussed to slip up here, but we won’t rule out Cardiff grabbing a consolation and that’s why we’re tipping a victory for Klopp’s men with both teams to score at 15/8.
*All odds correct at time of posting