Without any context, it would be strange to say that the top team in the table will play a serious proof game this weekend against a team in ninth place, 11 points behind. But this is precisely the Sunday game for Arsenal.
The Gunners top the Premier League standings through the first 20% of the season and score more than twice as many points as Liverpool. The Reds visit Arsenal on Sunday in ninth place in the standings and are only in the top 10 thanks to goal difference.
Yet Arsenal are not the clear favorite to win. The Gunners have only +150 to win, while Liverpool have +160. Liverpool triumphed over Rangers in the Champions League this week when Jurgen Klopp switched formations to include all four players: Mohamed Salah, Darwin Nunez, Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz. Will we see similar form against Arsenal with Thiago and Jordan Henderson at the front of the back four? We wouldn’t be surprised. Klopp’s replacements on Tuesday appeared to be aimed at the weekend.
Liverpool’s victory at this stage is already huge. The Reds simply can’t afford to be 14 points behind first place in eight games of the season. Meanwhile, Arsenal need to score as many points as possible to stay ahead of a machine like Manchester City.
Here’s a look at all the matches this weekend. All odds provided by BetMGM.
Newcastle v Brentford (2.5)
Newcastle are in seventh place and Brentford are in 10th. The weekend will start with a top 10 game and we will choose Newcastle.
Chelsea vs Wolves (2.5)
This is the Wolves’ first game since Bruno Lage was fired. However, goalscoring problems are likely to remain for a while. Chelsea are the best choice.
Manchester City – Southampton (3.5)
Southampton are capable of squeezing a point or losing this game 9-0. It seems like it’s better to call here than take the meager odds of City to win.
Bournemouth v Leicester City (2.5)
Let’s go with two in a row for Leicester City.
Brighton & Hove Albion – Tottenham Hotspur (2.5)
Brighton should probably be favored at home, but Tottenham are getting a resounding rebound. We will go with Brighton to get the win.
West Ham v Fulham (2.5)
West Ham (-135)
Fulham may be out of Aleksandar Mtrovic’s field for some time due to an ankle injury. We will go with West Ham and he will most likely not be in the squad.
Crystal Palace – Leeds (2.5)
Palace tried to steal a point from Chelsea before former tenant Conor Gallagher broke their hearts late. We go with a tie.
Arsenal – Liverpool (2.5)
Liverpool have been out of sorts this season and it’s time to turn things around. It starts on Sunday.
Everton v Manchester United (2.5)
Everton have been better than expected this season and it wouldn’t be surprising if they got all three points against odd Manchester United after Thursday’s Europa League match.
Nottingham Forest – Aston Villa (2.5)
Forest was smashed by Leicester last Monday and Villa is now a mystery. We’re going to go with a tie.