City to show their class

  • By: Andy Schooler
  • Last Updated: March 25 2014, 19:38 GMT

Manchester City are simply a better side than neighbours United these days and should be taken to win Tuesday's Premier League derby, says our tipster Andy Schooler.

Kompany: Returns from ban and can lead City another Old Trafford victory
Kompany: Returns from ban and can lead City another Old Trafford victory

Here's our match-by-match guide to the night's action.

Arsenal v Swansea (1945 GMT)

This match is all about how Arsenal react to Saturday's 6-0 thumping at Chelsea. Much has been made of the fact that they've suffered heavy away defeats to all three sides currently above them in the table and it's worth noting that following each of the previous hammerings has come a goalless draw at the Emirates. Admittedly those draws were against Chelsea and Manchester United, both better opponents than Swansea, but also the level of disappointment in the Arsenal ranks is now deeper - it's hard to see them recovering to challenge for the title this time with so few matches remaining. Manager Arsene Wenger seemed very dejected after Saturday's loss in what was a huge game - it should be remembered that had the Gunners won they would have been right in the title hunt - so I'm not hugely convinced that this will be a camp massively motivated to put things right. Arsenal's season now rests on the FA Cup, for which they are odds-on favourites and it would be no surprise if minds are already beginning to turn to next month's semi-final. So are Swansea in a position to capitalise? The worry is their poor form - they have now won just two of their last 16 league games, although they did show plenty of fight at Everton on Saturday where they only went down 3-2. A more positive outlook would suggest they've enjoyed some good moments on the road this season, winning 3-0 in Valencia, beating Manchester United at Old Trafford in the FA Cup and only losing a ding-dong battle at Anfield by four goals to three, giving Liverpool a tougher game than most this season on their own patch. Michu, a player who scored three times against Arsenal last season including twice in the 2-0 win in this very fixture, could well start again here which would be a major boost and I feel they might just be worth siding with given the doubts over the home side's mindset. They'll be prepared to take Arsenal on at their own game and success against them in the past should give their confidence something of a boost. I'll take a safety net though and the 5/1 on offer in the draw no bet market is the way I'll side with Garry Monk's men.

Verdict: Arsenal 1 Swansea 2

Opta stats:

There have been eight goals scored in the last 10 minutes of the last five meetings in all competitions between Arsenal and Swansea.

Arsenal have lost none of their last 13 Premier League home games (W10 D3), conceding just four goals in that run. However, in all league games, they have won just three of their last eight.

Only in 2011-12 (39) have Arsenal conceded more goals after 30 games of a Premier League season than they have this campaign (34).

Manchester United v Manchester City (1945)

City's title challenge will likely succeed or fail on how they perform during a tough run of away games which starts at Old Trafford on Tuesday. They then head to Arsenal at the weekend before a potentially-decisive showdown with Liverpool at Anfield next month. It's a daunting run but it should also be remembered that visiting Old Trafford is not what it used to be and I'm confident enough to side with City, even at what is a pretty short price of 5/4. They are simply the better team right now, as a gulf of 12 points (which could become 18 due to games in hand) proves. Captain Vincent Kompany is back for this one after his ban and he will doubtless relish his battle with Wayne Rooney, who seems to be firing on all cylinders again. However, Robin van Persie is a big miss for United in big games like this, while they still look vulnerable defensively where the lack of a regular partnership continues to be a problem. Nemanja Vidic remains suspended and if Michael Carrick has to play centre-half again, as seems possible due to injuries, he'll find dealing with City's fluid attack somewhat tougher than West Ham's more predictable one. City have won three of the last four meetings between these sides, including the reverse fixture which they dominated and won 4-1, not to mention the last two at Old Trafford. If you take the pre-season Community Shield out of the equation, their record extends to five wins from the last seven meetings. All things considered, City should be taken to prevail and keep their title bid - which remains in their own hands - on track. I would even consider backing them to win by two clear goals - available at 3/1 - but with no Sergio Aguero right now in City's ranks I'll opt to keep things simple and just take the 5/4 about an away win.

Verdict: Manchester United 0 Manchester City 2

Opta stats:

Wayne Rooney has scored five goals in his last five games in all competitions against City.

Manchester City have won four and lost one of the last five Barclays Premier League meetings with Manchester United.

Manchester City have scored 3.2 goals per game in the 17 PL matches that Sergio Aguero has played in this season, compared to an average of 2.0 without the Argentine.

Manchester City have lost none of their last eight Premier League away games (W6 D2) keeping clean sheets in three of their last four road trips.

Newcastle v Everton (1945)

Roberto Martinez spoke last week of how it was still possible for his side to finish in the top four. The idea was given short shrift by most but is it really stretching things to suggest Everton's hopes are alive again following Arsenal's weekend hammering? It remains unlikely, although perhaps not as unlikely as the current 14/1 odds suggest. The Toffees are eight points behind the Gunners but have a game in hand, not to mention a looming home match against them. Martinez's side have been grinding out the wins at home but this trip will be a key test of their lofty ambitions. Like Arsenal, they've struggled against the cream of the crop on the road, losing a series of big games which have left them off the top-four pace. Indeed their last away win was before Christmas. The question to ask here is has that been due to a tough fixture list or simply losing the knack of claiming those important away wins? There certainly seems enough doubt to swerve them at a best price of 13/10. Newcastle, torn apart by Everton in the first half of the reverse fixture back in the autumn, have been goal shy of late and with Loic Remy again an injury doubt, this remains a major problem for them. To be fair, they've won their last two home games, both 1-0 thanks to injury-time goals, after a run of five straight defeats at St James' Park. However, Aston Villa and Crystal Palace were the opponents for those wins; Everton will prove a tougher nut to crack. While not confident enough to side with the visitors at the price, it's worth pointing out a couple of other potential angles. Romelu Lukaku terrorised Newcastle at Goodison and now has three goals in three appearances against them; he's 7/4 to score at any time. Meanwhile, with both sides making a habit of netting late goals, Paddy Power's 10/11 about the last goal coming after the 73rd minute will tempt some. It's occurred in eight of Newcastle's last 11 league games and Everton's last five in all competitions.

Verdict: Newcastle 1 Everton 1

Opta stats:

This fixture has seen the joint-most penalties in Premier League history (17).

The Toffees have won five, drawn three and lost just two of the last 10 league meetings with the Magpies.

There have been at least three goals scored in each of the last six Premier League meetings between these two sides - with both Everton and Newcastle scoring in every one of these games.

If Everton win this game it will be the first time they've won four Premier League games in a row since March 2008.

  • Posted at 1525 GMT on 24/03/2014.

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