Niall: Derby Sunday takes centre stage this weekend and the pick of the bunch is the North London derby as Arsenal welcome Tottenham to the Emirates. The past few years have seen a power shift in north London. At one stage Arsenal were comfortably the best team, but since the arrival of Mauricio Pochettino that mantle has gone to Spurs. Unai Emery has been brought in to change that, but despite a good start to the season, the Gunners still sit behind their neighbours in the table.
Spurs have made their best ever start to the campaign and that is despite not being at their best for the most of it. They have seemingly hit form recently though, winning two big games in the past week against Chelsea and Inter Milan.
Arsenal got back into the win column themselves with a 2-1 win at Bournemouth which was a good result given how well the Cherries started the season themselves. Arsenal have only lost twice this season, but they have been against two of the very best in the league in Chelsea and Manchester City.
With the way these two teams like to play combined the derby element, this – as always should not disappoint. Both like to play attacking football so goals will almost be guaranteed in this match. It is difficult to see a clear winner here and given how difficult Arsenal are to beat at home, this could end up as a draw.
Neil: The sandwich filler of Sunday’s rather tasty looking derby triple is our Gameweek 14 game of the week, as Arsenal host Spurs in the north London derby. This will be Emery’s first sample of north London hostilities since taking charge, but comes into it with the Gunners unbeaten in 17 games.
Last weekend’s away win at Bournemouth was further indication of the progress being made after life under Arsene Wenger, with the Spaniard capable of tinkering with his set up to suit the needs of a game, as we witnessed at the Vitality Stadium a week ago. A morale boosting 3-0 win in the Ukraine against Vorskla in midweek was the perfect way to come into this, but the personnel on the field will be very different – almost entirely.
Christian Eriksen‘s return to full fitness is a major fillip for the Lilywhites, indeed the visitors are a far different proposition with both the Dane and the again-firing Dele Alli ready to test Arsenal’s defences.
As Niall’s states this one rarely fails to be anything other than a vibrant and attacking display, and I just get the feeling a draw could be on the cards again. But as draws go, this could be one of the very best.
Prediction: Arsenal 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur
Niall’s one to watch: Chelsea vs. Fulham (Sunday, 12:00)
Derby Sunday kicks off in West London as Chelsea welcome close neighbours Fulham and a familiar face to Stamford Bridge. Yes, former Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri is returning to his old stomping ground looking to grab his second win in as many games since taking over as Fulham boss.
His goal is to save them from relegation after a disastrous start left them bottom of the table. Their issues have been in defence, so we will see if the Italian can make the Cottagers more solid at the back without taking away their attacking threat.
For the first time under Maurizio Sarri, Chelsea have to respond to defeat in the Premier League. Last week they were outplayed by Tottenham who shut their midfield down with a high press. It is almost a perfect match-up to get confidence high again, facing the team that sits bottom of the table. They must be careful though as Fulham have firepower going forward and if Aleksandar Mitrovic is on fire, then that will spell problems for the Chelsea defence.
At Stamford Bridge though, it is difficult to look past a home win. Fulham conceded two at home to Southampton, who are nowhere near the quality of the Blues. There will be goals in this one and it could be an entertaining game, even if the result is not surprising.
Prediction: Chelsea 3-1 Fulham
Neil’s one to watch: Liverpool vs. Everton (Sunday, 16:30)
On perhaps any other weekend, the Merseyside derby would take centre stage, but such is the plethora of Premier League entertainment on the menu this weekend, Anfield plays its’ part as the dessert after the main course. But it should nevertheless provide its’ very own treats.
The Reds again lost for the third consecutive time on the road in Europe, which for last years UEFA Champions League runners-up will be of huge concern if Jurgen Klopp‘s men are to take their place in the final in Madrid in June.
At home however, the tale is rather different and now not only have goals come, but a defensive savvy has come into Liverpool’s game led by the relentless Virgil van Dijk.
Whilst the hosts front line is menacing with Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah, Everton’s new-look attacking unit will cause problems for their Merseyside neighbours this weekend.
Richarlison is settling in to his role as centre-forward, whilst the pace of Theo Walcott and the guile of the on-form Gylfi Sigurdsson will ensure a busy afternoon for the host’s defensive line.
Despite the two games that have come before them on Sunday, this could very well steal the show with both managers not shy in playing progressive, attacking football. It could be a spectacular end to derby day, and I just about tip a Liverpool win.
Prediction: Liverpool 3-2 Everton
Premier League Gameweek 14 game of the week takes place at the Emirates Stadium, as Arsenal host Tottenham Hotspur in the north London derby on Sunday afternoon.
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