Stick with Toffees for away value
Matt Brocklebank previews Sunday's action in the Barclays Premier League and is prepared to chance a pair of away wins.
- Related Content
New Fulham manager Rene Meulensteen claimed the defeat against Tottenham in midweek was "very, very hard to take" and that seems a fair reflection on a game from which they really should have taken a point. Just a day after his agent declared he will look for a move in the January window, Dimitar Berbatov produced an eye-catching performance leading the line and would have found the net had Hugo Lloris not been in inspired form for Spurs. Meulensteen knows Berbatov well from their days at Manchester United and it would be no surprise to see the enigmatic Bulgarian turn on the style in the next couple of weeks in the hope of a potential transfer. The 21/10 for him to score any time seems a fair price but doesn't exactly get the pulse racing. Quotes of 13/2 for Berbatov in the first goalscorer market may appeal to some, but Fulham have gone behind in 11 games this season, more than any other side. Visitors Villa have only lost once away from home so far this term and arguably should have got something from that galling 2-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge. Paul Lambert's men once again showed their ruthlessness on the break when emerging 3-2 winners at Southampton on Wednesday night and they must be respected as they aim to extend an unbeaten Premier League run that stretches back to the end of October. There were clear signs of a Fulham resurgence in Meulensteen's first game in charge but he'll probably need more time to spark anything drastic and the Villians are worth chancing at 7/4 to enjoy another away day.
Verdict: Fulham 1 Aston Villa 2
Fulham have won just one of the last eight Barclays Premier League games against Aston Villa (W1 D4 L3).
Villa are unbeaten in their last five Barclays Premier League games; only Everton (7) are currently on a longer run.
Fulham have trailed in 11 games this season, more than any other side. They have lost 10 of these matches.
This has the makings of a humdinger of a contest as two of the Premier League's in-form teams face off at the Emirates. The statistical evidence from recent meetings suggests Everton haven't really got a hope, with the Gunners having won eight and drawn four of the past 12 top-flight clashes. Furthermore, their league record against Everton at home reads 14 wins and three draws from the last 17. Flying high at the top of the pile and able to comfortably see off Hull on Wednesday despite resting some key players, there is clearly a lot to recommend in Arsene Wenger's side. However, and it is a rather substantial 'however', Everton are showing excellent signs themselves under Roberto Martinez, losing just one game all season. Their 1-0 victory at Old Trafford in midweek couldn't have been further from a fluke and the emotion shown by players and fans alike at the final whistle showed just how much in meant to get one over old boss David Moyes. There's no doubt they will attempt to go toe-to-toe in the passing department with Arsenal, and this could ultimately be their undoing, but in Gareth Barry, James McMarthy and Ross Barkley, the Toffees have a midfield core that is proving very hard to dominate. Romelu Lukaku was made for the central striker's role and Martinez has exciting options out wide. The key element to Everton's success in recent weeks, however, has been their tight defence, which has now kept three away shutouts on the bounce. It's not going to be easy to make it four, but cautiously backing Everton at 11/4 in the 'draw no bet' market looks a sensible ploy and may just offer a spot of value.
Verdict: Arsenal 1 Everton 2
Arsenal have won eight and lost none of their last 12 Barclays Premier League games against Everton.
Everton have only managed more than one goal in a league game against Arsenal on one occasion in the last 21 meetings.
Everton have lost only Premier League game this season, fewer than any other side.