EPL Predictions: Two Derbies and Twice As Many Picks This Sunday
The Manchester Derby
This Sunday morning December 10th at 11:30am EST Pep Guardiola gets a chance to improve upon his career 9-6-4 record against Jose Mourinho. A win for the Spaniard in enemy territory would all about sew up the title race and put a nail in a giant red coffin.
And with Paul Pogba suspended for Sunday's clash, United lose the one midfielder they have who can control the game and see that this game isn't all one-way traffic. This begs the question, is this game ONLY City's to win, as we can expect United to absorb most of the pressure.
Looking at the Premier League standings, especially with regard to the home/away and first/second half splits, we can underline the fact that Manchester United have only conceded 1 goal at home all season. On form, they are also the best first-half team in England.
Without Pogba, United have already had to play three games against other top 6 clubs - Liverpool away, Tottenham home, Chelsea away - and in those three games, a total of 270 minutes of football only saw two goals scored and not very entertaining football.
All three of those games were nil-nil at half-time.
Manchester City of late have been winning games at the death. Furthermore, in their last 5 games across all competitions, the Citizens have not scored a goal in the 1st half. City's closest replica to this game would be their trip to Stamford Bridge earlier this season, where a weary Chelsea side, who couldn't mount any attack, were able to keep them off the score sheet until well into the second half.
With the stakes as high as they can be it I can see this being a cagey cat and mouse affair. City who know the goal they need can come anytime, won't be impatient if United, in fact, sit deep and absorb pressure. So with City's recent form of not scoring in first halves combined with United's superb defensive record at home and how we can expect them to approach the game without Pogba all of the following are in play.Under 1 goal in the first half (+103) Sports Interaction Under 0.5 goals in the first half (+210) William Hill First Half Draw (+110) William Hill
The Merseyside Derby
Not as influential and likely more violent than the Manchester Derby, the Merseyside Derby serves as this Sunday morning's appetizer. And Everton have a new manager, the just retired and now out of retirement Big Sam Allardyce. His side is loaded with talent but will he make the most of them? In any case Sunday won't be the day to find out.
Though getting a result at Anfield would give the former England manager instant approval from the home fans, Everton are still a work in progress after the regime change. They still are trying to get accustomed to what the new gaffer wants and expects from them. Similarly, the new manager needs time figure out how to get the most out of them.
Jurgen Klopp already knows his side in and out. He knows that the defensive lapses and errors are always lurking but that what he has unleashed with this side is an offense that can overcome them with loads of attacking quality. It's hard to see Everton trying to go at Liverpool and leaving gaps for the forwards to invade. They'll most likely sit deep. I don't think it will work, but Big Sam already has his out...he just got there.Liverpool Double Result (-133) William Hill
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