Things didn’t go according to script for Arsene Wenger against Bayern Munich on Wednesday night. A missed penalty, a red card and Mesut Ozil going AWOL when the chips were down.
The Gunners return to their title league challenge and luckily for them, Sunderland – despite their rejuvenation under Gus Poyet – are very definitely not the German giants.
- Arsene have W10, D4 of their 14 league games at home against the Black Cats
- Sunderland have not scored in four of their last five visits to the Emirates
Olivier Giroud returns for the Gunners and a couple of goals from the French heart-throb should ease the pain of a reported £200k fine for being caught offside in a London hotel room with someone who was not Mrs Giroud.
Arsenal have only conceded one goal in their last nine Premier League home games (W6 D3). The six games they’ve won at the Emirates have been by a 2-0 scoreline and that’s an 11/2 shot today. But the Gunners to shake off Wednesday night’s disappointment at 10/11 (-1 on the handicap) looks the play.
Manchester City v Stoke
City’s European bubble was burst by Barcelona as the stage fright that has gripped the Citizens continued. City were holding their own though until Martin Demichelis’s dismissal on 55 minutes made their task about as likely as Manuel Pellegrini and Jose Mourinho getting together to discuss old times in La Liga.
But Stoke, you won’t need telling are no Barcelona, and there’s a strong form guide in backing City to return to winning ways at home this afternoon.
- City have beaten Stoke 3-0 in their last three Barclays Premier League fixtures at the Etihad.
- Only Chelsea have beaten City in Manchester this season in the league
A repeat 3-0 win is a 13/2 poke with with Paddy Power while City (-1) on the handicap is a 1/2 shot.
Liverpool v Swansea, Sunday 1.30pm
With Chelsea, Arsenal and City supposedly the ‘only’ sides that can win the league, Liverpool are pushing hard for a Champions League spot.
With 16 goals in their their last five league games the words Premier League & Champions is even being whispered in the House of Scouse as Swansea come to town.
Brendan Rodgers side won this tie 5-0 last season a week before the Swans won the Capital One Cup at Wembley. A hard-fought 0-0 draw with Napoli on Thursday isn’t the ideal preparation for a side where just 25 per cent of their contribution to the beautiful game has been played in the attacking third. And that’s a problem if you need to score goals. And Swansea do. In spades.
- Liverpool have only lost once at Anfield this season
- Daniel Sturridge has scored seven goals in his last six games
Sturridge is 13/5 to get the first goal of the game or 15/8 to score first for his team. Liverpool at 8/11 (-1 on the handicap) can pick up another three points to keep the pressure on at the top.