The transfer window may be closed, but that’s not stopped us from making a big-name signing here at Paddy Power. Fresh off his Oscar-worthy role in our ‘Pundits’ series, Liverpool legend Phil Thompson has signed up for a weekly look ahead to all of the weekend’s big footy action.
Phil’s had his say on Saturday’s blockbuster Premier League action as the Longest International Break In History™ FINALLY comes to an end, with some cracking matches in store.
We’ve got the Merseyside derby, Manchester City v Arsenal and Manchester United’s trip to Newcastle all covered – and Phil’s also picked out 25/1 double and his NAP of the whole weekend too.
Since Liverpool got an absolute drubbing at Villa Park, I’ve heard so many Evertonians say they are actually looking forward to the Merseyside Derby. Normally they all say they’ll be watching it from behind the couch, and nervous as hell!
But there is now a confidence among them after four straight wins since the start of the season. I think they’ve played very well and the signings have been strategic. I think Abdoulaye Doucoure has been their best deal, although people will say James Rodriguez has brought that little bit of magic and creativity to the side which they haven’t had for a while.
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I never thought that Dominic Calvert-Lewin could score the goals that he has, partly because he worked too hard running out to the flanks when he really should have just been concentrating on the box. Carlo Ancelotti has said ‘that’s where we need you to do the work’ and it’s reaping the rewards. He will be a major threat.
But Liverpool haven’t turned into a bad side overnight. One bad result is around the corner for many teams and when you’re a great team, like Liverpool are, you use that defeat to your advantage. You use it for motivation and character.
THOMMO’S TIP: Normally going into the Merseyside Derby, Liverpool are favourites. It’s not so clear this time around, but I think the Reds will be ready for this one. I think there will be goals in it, because I don’t think the two defences are at their best at the moment. Liverpool, in a five-goal thriller, will come out on top.
I don’t know where Pep Guardiola sees his side at the moment. They’re not the Manchester City that we’ve known and loved. There is something missing there. I think they missed the likes of Vincent Kompany last year – not just on the pitch but in the dressing room – but that doesn’t equate to what’s happening on the pitch because they’re so disjointed.
He’s tried to make changes to his backline, but with his best defender Aymeric Laporte out injured for so long it hasn’t helped matters. There are still decisions to make in the full-back positions. Kyle Walker is great on the run and still has his pace but is so vulnerable when he’s got to defend. At left-back, Benjamin Mendy was absolutely dreadful in the last game they played.
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There are massive problems for Pep to get his head round, but I think they will react. As with Liverpool, I think we’re going to see a different Manchester City side this weekend. I fancy them to beat Arsenal. Mikel Arteta has changed their style of play, and people say they now have this high press but actually they’re defending a lot deeper – often on the edge of their own box – because David Luiz is a liability.
City will be working hard figuring out how to get behind Arsenal and break them down.
THOMMOS TIP: I think both teams will score, because that is the nature of the Premier League at the moment, so I’m going for City to win 3-1.
I think this could be quite tight, but Manchester United do worry me at the moment. They have some great players up front in Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial who can turn games in an instant, but they can also go missing.
Defensively, they have been shocking this season. I don’t think they’ve done enough to help the backline out at all and there is a massive question mark over David De Gea in goal. He’s making far too many mistakes. Should Paul Pogba be in this side? Is Bruno Fernandes having the same impact that he had towards the end of last season? There are too many unanswered questions for me to go for them against Newcastle.
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As for the hosts, I’ve always been a fan of Callum Wilson. I heard stories last season that he was on Liverpool’s radar as back-up for Roberto Firmino and I do like him. He’s started the season really well and he might be that missing link.
Allan Saint-Maximin is truly a free spirit. He’s one of those players you could actually see gracing Old Trafford. He gets you off your seat, he excites, he goes past people. I’m don’t know if defensively Newcastle have enough to keep United out, but I reckon they might just be strong enough on the day.
THOMMO’S TIP: My NAP of the weekend is for Newcastle to beat Manchester United. If Harry Maguire doesn’t make it, I think that is a good bet.
Double: Liverpool to win 3-2 & Manchester City to win
As part of a Saturday double, Liverpool will be a good price. I think there are plenty of goals in the Merseyside Derby and I reckon that will end 3-2.
I’ve also gone for Manchester City To Win in my double, which will be enhanced to a healthy price so if that comes in then I’ll be more than happy!
*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets. Odds in copy correct at time of publication.
Phil Thompson’s Premier League tips for Saturday
12.30pm: Liverpool to beat Everton 3-2
5.30pm: Manchester City to beat Arsenal 3-1
8.00pm: Newcastle United to beat Man Utd (NAP)
DOUBLE: Liverpool to beat Everton 3-2, Manchester City to beat Arsenal
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