The weekend's soccer action sees some top-heavy action at the top of the EPL. Sunday is derby day as Tottenham welcome Arsenal at Wembley and Liverpool face Everton. Arsenal face an in-form Spurs who showed a lot of grit by nicking the win against Inter in the Champions League. Arsenal, with one fewer day to rest after their Europa League tie will have their hands full trying to contain Dele Alli and Harry Kane. Just a few hours later, the Merseyside derby kicks off. This fixture has the record for most sendings off. With Liverpool smarting from a midweek defeat against PSG, Everton will need to be defensively solid. Read on for our free soccer tips this weekend.
Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur
Arsenal have slowed down significantly after their fast start to the 2018/19 season, and in recent weeks are struggling to both a) control opposition counter-attacks and b) play with enough tempo to connect together the lines from midfield to attack. These two problems combined hand Spurs the advantage in the North London derby. There should be fireworks.
Mauricio Pochettino’s team are in top form at the moment, and their new 4-3-1-2 formation is well suited to exploiting their rivals’ problems. Heung-Min Son’s runs down the right will surely test Arsenal’s chaotic back three (as Callum Wilson kept doing last weekend) while the swarming Spurs midfield should dispossess and overwhelm Granit Xhaka.
Arsenal have failed to win four of their last six matches in all competitions, scoring just eight goals in that time, while Spurs are on a five match winning streak at the time of writing. All signs point to an away win.
Back Spurs to win at 2.74
Liverpool v Everton
We can expect a full-blooded Merseyside derby on Sunday thanks to the aggressive pressing style of Marco Silva; the new Everton manager will confront Liverpool high up the pitch, potentially creating space for Jurgen Klopp’s front three but also forcing errors in the home side’s back line. A high-scoring game is the most probable outcome at Anfield.
Idrissa Gueye and Andre Gomes are unlikely to give much space to the Liverpool attackers, and yet in wide areas Liverpool should find joy. Then again, Theo Walcott, Bernard, and Richarlison are excellent on the counter-attack and Gylfi Sigurdsson’s set-pieces could see Liverpool’s problems in this area resurfacing.
Mis-matches in attack, at both ends, adds weight to the theory of a goalfest. Mohamed Salah versus Lucas Digne should worry Everton fans, although the same can be said of Richarlison versus Dejan Lovren.
Back over 3 goals at 1.95
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Real Madrid v Valencia
Real looked to be back on track after successive league wins for new manager Santiago Solari, only for a shocking 3-0 defeat to Eibar to derail them again. It was familiar tactical issues for the European champions, as the central midfielders failed to track back - leaving a big gap between defence and midfield.
Eibar continually pinched the ball in the Real half and countered through the middle, which is exactly how Valencia like to play. It could be a long day for the home fans at the Bernabeu.
Valencia’s counter-attacking 4-4-2 sees forwards Santi Mina and Rodrigo Moreno burst through the centre of the pitch, and so both should be on fire against such a disorganised and confidence-stricken Real. Moreno assisted for Mina twice as Valencia beat Rayo Vallecano 3-0 at the weekend to make it back-to-back wins for Marcelino Garcia Toral’s team.
If these two sides play like they did last weekend then surely Valencia can grab all three points, lifting them above Solari’s side in the table.
Back Valencia to win at 6.99
Barcelona v Villarreal
Despite being separated by 14 places in the table Villarreal actually travel to the Nou Camp as the form team. They beat Real Betis 2-1 at home a fortnight after Barca were beaten 4-3 by the same side, and last weekend it took a 90th minute Ousmane Dembele goal to salvage a point for Barcelona against Atletico Madrid. Barca are now second in La Liga, desperate not to drop any more points in a shambolic season in Spain’s top flight.
However, Barca should still win this one. The hosts welcome Ivan Rakitic back following his suspension while Dembele’s confidence should be improved following that equaliser at the Wanda.
What’s more, Villarreal have relied on clean sheets away from home – and these have dried up since October. Lionel Messi and company will have enough to score a couple, ending Ernesto Valverde’s sticky patch.
Back Barcelona to win -1.75 handicap at 1.88
RB Leipzig v Borussia Monchengladbach
A huge match towards the top of the Bundesliga sees surprise package Borussia Monchengladbach – sitting in second and just four points behind leaders Dortmund – travel to fourth place RB Leipzig, themselves harbouring outside hopes of a title challenge as Bayern Munich continue to stumble.
Leipzig are one of just three Bundesliga teams undefeated at home, conceding just three times and scoring 15 goals from six matches; they are clear favourites here, although some patchy recent results suggest a draw is a more likely outcome.
Leipzig’s 1-0 defeat at Wolfsburg could significantly affect their confidence for this one, particularly in comparison to Monchengladbach – who are on a three-match winning streak.
Back the draw at 3.97
Fiorentina v Juventus
The addition of Cristiano Ronaldo has made Juventus outrageously superior in Serie A. He has scored or assisted in ten consecutive league games for the club, helping them to 12 wins from the opening 13 matches; there is simply no way Fiorentina, on a poor run of form, can contain Ronaldo or Juventus.
The Viola have now drawn five consecutive matches to extend their winless run to six, and there have been a meagre nine goals in those matches.
The hosts will obviously sit back and hope their solid defence can hold Juve at arms length, but there is just too much quality in all areas of the pitch. The visitors have scored two or more goals in all but one of their Serie A matches this season.
Back Juve to win at 1.60