Soccer – Premier League – Liverpool vs Arsenal
The first of this weekend’s big betting events comes from the Premier League with an absolute cracker of a game at Anfield.
Liverpool looked a little tired last weekend, as they edged past Southampton at St.Marys. The Reds did look to be in control until Adrian’s blunder, with former player Danny Ings capitalising on the goalkeepers moment of madness. The Saints had a big chance towards the end, and could easily have taken a point from the game.
Jurgen Klopp will get the opportunity to work with his players during the week, and the German boss will be pleased to give his players some time to recover from their recent exertions.
Liverpool won this fixture 5-1 last season at Anfield, and they’ve now scored 12 goals in their last three home matches against Arsenal. The Gunners will not be looking forward to this fixture given their recent record on Merseyside, and their creaky defence may struggle to cope with the threat of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mo Salah.
The Gunners are unbeaten so far, with two narrow victories over Newcastle and Burnley, but this is a huge step up in quality.
Unai Emery admitted that he would prefer ‘not to play Liverpool’ at this stage of the campaign, and that doesn’t bode well for this teatime fixture. His side have certainly looked good going forward with both Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang looking sharp, whilst Nicolas Pepe appears to have already won over the fans during his brief stint on the field.
Liverpool are priced up as the favourites for this tie, and whilst it is perfectly understandable from the bookmakers, it is unlikely to be a clear cut as last time these two teams met.
Whilst the spotlight tends to focus on Arsenal’s shaky back-line, Liverpool have looked far from assured at the back. They conceded a second half goal to Norwich, but allowed the Canaries to produce several good chances throughout that contest. The Reds were pretty much foot-perfect at the back last year, but they have looked far from convincing, and Arsenal’s front-line could enjoy a fruitful afternoon at Anfield.
This should be a brilliantly entertaining game between two sides who love to play on the front foot. We always expect goals when these two sides play, as neither of them are very good at keeping clean sheets. Unai Emery will be aiming to mastermind Arsenal’s first victory at this ground since September 2012, and they’ll looking to capitalise on Liverpool’s hectic schedule.
Sky Sports Main Event will have full coverage of this game on Saturday evening in the UK.
Soccer – Serie A – Fiorentina vs Napoli
The majority of the major European leagues are now back underway, with Serie A amongst the last to kick off. The Italian top flight returns this weekend, and there’s a cracking opening day fixture between Fiorentina and Napoli. It is a fascinating match-up, and its the second of our big betting events.
Fiorentina looked laboured during their Coppa Italia victory over Monza last weekend. They did have plenty of the ball, but failed to create too much clearcut chances outside of the goals. Vicenzo Montella said he was happy with the application and attitude of his players, but he hasn’t ruled out another splurge before the transfer window closes.
The Viola ended last season in terrible form, and finished the campaign just three points off the dropzone. Their last win came on February 17th over SPAL, and they failed to find the net in any of their last five matches.
They’ve made some interesting additions this summer with Erick Pulgar arriving off the back of a decent season at Bologna. Aleksa Terzic is a bit of an unknown at left-back, but could prove to be a savvy signing, whilst Milan Badelj’s loan spell from Lazio could become a fruitful one. The nomadic Kevin Price Boateng was a bit of a left-field signing, and Fiorentina fans will be hoping that Montella is the man to get the best out of the striker. The squad also features several younger players who have impressed on loan over the last twelve months.
Napoli are reportedly moving closer to signing Mauro Icardi, but any deal for the fiery Argentine would likely be concluded after this game. Kostas Manolas should help them at the back, whilst Giovanni Di Lorenzo has arrived from Empoli. There have been very few chances at the other end of the field, although the Partenopei will surely be keeping their eye on the transfer market over the next few weeks.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side haven’t won at this ground since 2014, and they will be hoping to catch Fiorentina by surprise on the opening day of the campaign. They have a number of talented players, and they will be well drilled under the former Chelsea boss. Napoli have been the nearest challengers to Juventus in recent seasons, but they need to improve their consistency if they are to challenge the Scudetto winners.
This is a fascinating opening day fixture, and Fiorentina desperately need to give their fans something to cheer here.
Premier Sports has the rights to Serie A in the UK, and will be showing up to six live games per weekend.
Soccer – Premier League – Wolves vs Burnley
The third of my big betting events this weekend comes from Molineux, and it’s an intriguing tie between Wolves and Burnley. The hosts are coming off the back of a very tough game in Turin on Thursday night, and it remains to be seen whether they have enough energy in reserve for this tough-looking Premier League contest.
Opponents Burnley know all about juggling European commitments and domestic requirements. Sean Dyche’s men struggled last season, and made a very sluggish start to the campaign as a result of their European exploits. They will be looking to take advantage of their opponents, who will have played Thurs-Mon-Thurs-Sunday.
Nuno likes to make a handful of changes for the European games, but he isn’t a manager who is likely to alter his entire starting XI, and that could cause problems further down the line. The likes of Adama Traore and Morgan Gibbs-White both featured in the second leg against Pyunik, and they could both get more game time this weekend.
Burnley are still incredibly tough to beat, and the Clarets gave Arsenal a very good game at the Emirates last weekend. They swept aside Southampton in their opening game of the season, and will pose a real danger to a potentially tired Wolves side.
Wolves’ back-line will have to keep their eye on Ashley Barnes, who has made a brilliant start to the 19-20 season. He’s netted three times so far, and will be a constant nuisance throughout the 90 minutes.
Wolves were very strong at home, and they may get through this tie, but at some point, their European exploits are going to catch up with them. Burnley could easily get something from this tie, and they have been potentially a little underrated by the market.
BBC 1’s Match of the Day 2 will be showing highlights of this game in the UK on Sunday night.
Aussie Rules – AFL – Geelong Cats vs Carlton
It’s second vs sixteenth on Saturday as the Geelong Cats look to get back on track when they face Carlton in the AFL. It is the fourth of my big betting events this weekend.
Despite leading the way for the majority of the season, the Cats find themselves sitting second, having suffered a mini-wobble. They were defeated by the imperious Brisbane Lions at the weekend, with their opponents opening up a healthy looking lead at the top of the ladder.
That was their third defeat in five after slipping up against the Dockers and the Hawks. Although their place in the end-of-season play-offs is assured, they aren’t performing like Grand Final winners, and they need to start picking up the pace.
On paper, this looks like a winnable fixture with lowly Carlton having very little to play for. They’ve lost their last two visits here, but they have been victorious in three of their last five matches. They come off the back of a 78-68 victory over St.kilda, and they’ve beaten the Swans on the road.
They do have a terrible record against the Cats, and they won’t be expected to improve upon that statistic on Saturday. Geelong were devastated to miss out by such a small margin last weekend, and they’ll be determined to bounce back. Even with a few injuries, they should have a talented enough squad to get through this game unscathed.
Even though the margin of defeat was slender, Patrick Dangerfield insists that his side will not take an solace from that loss, and they will be doing everything within their power to bounce back immediately. He finished the match with 36 disposals, and they’ll be looking to him for another sensational performance.
Although they were defeated last weekend, it doesn’t look like the Cats have taken their foot off the gas just yet, and they should be able to make amends for that thrilling loss when they take on Carlton.
BT Sport has coverage and highlights of the AFL in the UK this year
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