Gunners can blast Reds

  • By: Ian Brindle, Matt Brocklebank, Sam Pollock
  • Last Updated: February 12 2014, 11:41 GMT

Ian Brindle, Matt Brocklebank and Sam Pollock preview tonight's Barclays Premier League action and predict more woe for David Moyes as Arsenal take on Manchester United in the feature game.

Arsenal can bounce back with a win over Man United
Arsenal can bounce back with a win over Man United

There are six games this evening as both Arsenal and Manchester City aim to arrest dropped points from last weekend's action.

Our team deliver their match-by-match verdict on each of the six matches.

Arsenal v Manchester United (1945 GMT)

If you've ever woken up with a Saturday morning hangover, you'd be forgiven for knowing about the slightly nauseous feeling that Arsene Wenger may have felt that afternoon as he saw his championship aspirants sensationally seen off by Liverpool. With this, and a vital FA Cup match at the weekend, this was hardly the hors d'oeuvres he was looking for, but his team welcome a Manchester United outfit at arguably their lowest ebb for some time. Arsenal last beat Manchester United in May 2011, and allowing for an 8-2 hammering when they were forced to field a number of inexperienced players, this has traditionally been a tight match where there has been an unquestionable edge about proceedings.The bookmakers make Arsenal favourites on Wednesday and though some might view that as short if previous meetings are factored, there's an equally strong argument to suggest that the Gunners should be shorter! Granted, their last three home wins have come against opposition they should realistically be able to take care of, but Cardiff, Fulham and Crystal Palace were all teams that had something to play for. Much has been made of Mesut Ozil's loss of form but the Arsenal midfield looks a far more effective unit than United's and with Santi Cazorla, appearing happier with his lot, Oliver Giroud can cause United's hapless defence problems. Robin Van Persie's absence hasn't helped his manager's plight but his return has seen him score in each of his last three matches, and the Dutchman bids to continue his amazing record of scoring in the last five meetings between the teams but I still anticipate Arsenal to prevail.

Verdict: Arsenal 2 Manchester United 0 (IB)

Opta facts:

Arsenal have kept 10 clean sheets in their last 11 matches in all competitions at the Emirates Stadium and conceded just one in the other match.

The Gunners have won six of their last eight Barclays Premier League games at home by a 2-0 scoreline.

Man Utd have only failed to score in one of their last 24 Premier League away games, but they have only kept two clean sheets in their last 15 on the road in the competition.

David Moyes has never won a Premier League game away from home as a manager against Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool or Man Utd (P48 W0 D18 L30).

Back Arsenal to win 2-0 at 9/1 with Sky Bet

Everton v Crystal Palace (1945 GMT)

If football was played on paper then this would certainly result in a comfortable home win. Everton have lost just one of their last 21 league games at Goodison Park, 15 of which they've won and their only loss coming against Sunderland on Boxing Day. Ki Sung-Yueng's penalty was enough to sink Roberto Martinez' side but I can't see a repeat performance against Crystal Palace tonight. In general, Everton are on somewhat of a poor run, having only won two of their last six Premier League matches, forcing their top-four odds out to 9/1. The injury to Romelu Lukaku in their 4-0 loss against Liverpool at Anfield has been a bitter blow to their Champions League hopes. Having scraped past Aston Villa and narrowly lost at White Hart Lane since he was sidelined, Toffees fans will be hoping the Belgian will return to action sooner rather than later. Everton are yet to lose back-to-back Premier League matches under Martinez, last suffering two league defeats on the trot on February 23rd 2013, which suggests the Blues will return to winning ways against Tony Pulis' side. If the visitors are to have any chance on the road then a lot will rest on the shoulders of much maligned striker Marouane Chamakh, who is one of the visitors' biggest goal threats and is priced at 7/2 to score any time. The Moroccan has scored five goals from eight shots on target this term yet his team has failed to score in seven of their 12 away games. Not only this, the Eagles have won just two of their last 25 Barclays Premier League games away from Sulhurst Park. Everton to win to nil caught my eye and with the Toffees unbeaten against the Eagles in their last five meetings in all competitions, it looks as if that run will be extended on Wednesday night.

Verdict: Everton 2 Crystal Palace 0 (SP)

Opta facts:

In the last 17 league games at Goodison Park, Everton have kept 10 clean sheets and have only conceded more than once in a game on two occasions.

Crystal Palace have conceded 11 goals in the 15 minute period after half-time in the Premier League this season; more than any other side.

The Toffees have conceded exactly one goal in nine of their last 11 Premier League games.

Everton to win 2-0 at 5/1 with Sky Bet

Manchester City v Sunderland (1945 GMT)

Manchester City are going through a period of real pressure for the first time this season and face a Sunderland side who they have struggled against in recent times. City have won just two of their last eight Premier League meetings with the Black Cats, with all four of Sunderland's victories being 1-0 wins. Chelsea managed a surprise win in City's last match at the Etihad Stadium by just the one-goal margin, which ended a run of 11 consecutive home wins for Man City and 61 Barclays Premier League games without failing to score on home turf. They're odds-on to return to winning ways in what should be a routine match for Pellegrini's men. Before this two-match blip, City had won eight league games on the bounce, leading many to believe they would simply walk the title race. How quickly things can change. With Sergio Aguero still out, Alvaro Negredo will be looking to add to his nine Premier League goals this season but he has looked a little laboured in the past couple of weeks. Gus Poyet is leading a revival at Sunderland, having taken over from Paolo Di Canio who had only taken one point from five league games this campaign. Since then the Uruguayan has led the Black Cats out of the relegation zone and to memorable victories over Everton and local rivals Newcastle. Sunderland have gone six on the road without defeat in the Premier League, this coming after winning just one point in their eight away games prior to this run. The Black Cats have also kept four clean sheets in their last six Premier League games away from the Stadium of Light and their unlikely revival is mostly down to former Man City man Adam Johnson, who has had a hand in eight goals so far in 2014 in the Premier League including six goals and two assists, which is more than any other player. With Pellegrini's side looking to keep on the tails of leaders Chelsea, Man City to win and both teams to score looks to represent value.

Verdict: Manchester City 3 Sunderland 1 (SP)

Opta facts:

Manchester City have used just 23 players in the Premier League this season; fewer than any other side.

James Milner has scored five goals against Sunderland in the Premier League; more than against any other Premier League opponent. This includes his first ever goal in the competition.

Manchester City have not lost back to back Premier League home games since December 2008.

Back Man City to win 3-1 at 9/1 with Sky Bet

Newcastle United v Tottenham Hotspur (1945 GMT)

Tottenham go into this one favourites and it's easy to see why. Newcastle have seriously missed the banned Loic Remy and sold Yohan Cabaye in recent weeks, in fact they haven't scored a goal since the pair got all three between them in a 3-1 victory at West Ham on January 18 and have now failed to score in six of their last seven Premier League matches. It's not just Cabaye's guile and craft that has been missing since his departure to PSG, but the remainder of the team, not least the strong French contingent, appear to be feeling sorry for themselves without their inspirational midfielder, while the injury to Cheick Tiote could hardly have come at a worse time. Tiote's hamstring trouble looks set to keep him out for another week at least and the Magpies are best avoided despite having won five and drawn two of their last seven home league games against Wednesday's visitors. Tottenham have had some ups and downs since Tim Sherwood took over the reins, admittedly losing big games against Man United, Arsenal and Man City, but they still occupy fifth place, just three points behind Liverpool, and they are a full 10 clear of Newcastle. The stats below show Spurs to have enjoyed plenty of success on the road this season and the bookmakers appear to have them about right at the current odds of reward.

Verdict: Newcastle United 1 Tottenham Hotspur 2 (MB)

Opta facts:

Newcastle United have lost their last three Barclays Premier League games at St James Park without scoring.

Tottenham have won seven and lost just one of their last 10 Barclays Premier League away games.

Newcastle have won five and lost none (D2) of their last seven Premier League home games against Spurs.

Spurs have scored on each of their last eight Premier League visits to St James Park.

Newcastle have now failed to score in six of their last seven Premier League matches - this after failing to score in just one of their previous 16 in the competition.

Back Tottenham to win 1-0 at 15/2 with Sky Bet

Stoke City v Swansea (1945 GMT)

It's a tough one to call at the Britannia this week as both teams have really struggled of late. Stoke City have only one win in their last eight Premier League games, although there home form is much more consistent. The Potters have lost just one of their last nine matches at the Britannia stadium, which came against an in form Liverpool side in early January. It's not all plain sailing though as Stoke have now gone five home league games without a clean sheet, this coming after they kept four in their previous six at the Britannia Stadium. Mark Hughes has a lot to thank Charlie Adam for, as he has been Stoke City's stand out player of late. The 28 year old has either scored or assisted six of Stoke's last 11 Premier League goals. He's scored in three of his last four Premier League fixtures at the Britannia Stadium so could be a good bet at 3/1 to score anytime. Swansea boss Garry Monk will be hoping to build on the emphatic debut victory over south Wales rivals Cardiff at the weekend. However the Swans have lost six of their last nine Premier League away games and have scored just two goals in the process despite attempting 47 shots at goal in these six matches. Not the best record I'll admit that. If Monk is to have some joy on the road then it will most likely be down to star striker Wilfried Bony, who has scored eight goals in the this season, but all of them have come at the Britannia stadium. I wouldn't be surprised if Swansea travel to the Britannia and play for the draw because there is just one point separating the two teams in the table. I think it's fair to say that it's a game that neither team can afford to lose. With that knowledge I think it will be a cagey affair on Wednesday night so a draw and a look at there being under 2.5 goals appears tempting under the circumstances.

Verdict: Stoke City 1 Swansea 1 (SP)

Opta facts:

Peter Crouch has scored three goals in his two previous Premier League appearances against Swansea at the Britannia Stadium.

38 % of Stoke City's Premier League goals this season have come from outside the box (10 of 26) - a higher proportion than any other side.

Swansea have the opportunity to win back to back Premier League games in their first two matches under Garry Monk - something that they did not manage to do under Michael Laudrup this season.

Back 1-1 draw at 9/2 with Sky Bet

Fulham v Liverpool (2000 GMT)

They say the figures never lie but having come under an avalanche of shots and outperformed in possession by a factor 25% to 75% in their 2-2 draw with Manchester United; the Cottagers attempt to precipitate another collective tearing up of coupons across the country. Liverpool showed little mercy when they destroyed Fulham 4-0 at Anfield in November, and victory on Wednesday should can see them very much in reckoning for the Champions League slots and as they could have put more than five past an off-key Arsenal on Saturday, it's no shock to see them quoted as strong favourites to take all three points. Brendan Rodgers is unlikely to be taking too much for granted as the Reds haven't been so potent on the road with just 16 points taken from a possible 36, and while Fulham have been on the end of three successive defeats when the teams have met in the Premier League, they did post 1-0 victories at home and away during the 2011/12 season. Rene Meulensteen's team have not won in the League since they beat West Ham 2-1 on New Year's Day but they have shown plenty of guile infront of their home fans against superior opposition as they fought back to 2-2 against Manchester City having been 2-0 down (eventually losing 4-2) and "won" a second half against Manchester United having surrendered three goals in a dreadful first period. Daniel Sturridge scored a hat-trick in last year's equivalent meeting and having scored in last five games, he couldn't be ruled out of netting again. Expect plenty of stubborn defence from the home side but Liverpool should prove too strong and they can comfortably come away with the points.

Verdict: Fulham 0 Liverpool 2 (IB)

Opta facts:

Fulham have lost 12 of their last 16 Barclays Premier League games at Craven Cottage (W3 D1 L12).

Luis Suarez has scored four goals in four Premier League games against Fulham.

The Reds have scored more first half goals in the Premier League this season (42) than 16 of the other 19 teams in the league have in total.

Back Liverpool to win 2-0 at 13/2 with Sky Bet

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