As anyone that is subscribed to Sky Sports can testify, they don’t half make a song and dance about their schedule sometimes. Calling something ‘Super Sunday’ and then following it up with Hull vs Watford pushes the hyperbole to the extremity of disbelief.
But for once, Rupert Murdoch’s boys have got their act together and brought together a Premier League double-header worth your time and money. Of course, this being Sky Sports they couldn’t let it pass without some kind of bombastic presentation, and so we have to take the Manchester vs Merseyside, ‘one city, two clubs’ thing with a pinch of salt.
The bottom line is that armchair spectators and punters have a cracking Sunday to look for ward to: Everton welcome Manchester City to Goodison Park before Manchester United do battle with Liverpool.
For a variety of reasons, this pair of matches is huge. Are Manchester City title contenders? Are Everton genuine top six material? Can Liverpool halt Manchester United’s excellent run of form, or will the Red Devils down their bitter rivals’ title charge? These questions, and so many more, will be answered on Sunday.
City’s Defending Set to Cost Them Again?
When you concede a goal in football, it means that you are going to need to score at least two to win the game; we know that, that is basic stuff. It’s a surprise then that Pep Guardiola continues setting his Manchester City side up in the same fashion week in, week out, knowing that they have shipped at least one goal in 16 of their 20 Premier League matches this season.
What happens when they aren’t firing on all cylinders at the other end of the pitch? They lose, as they have done against Tottenham, Chelsea, Leicester and Liverpool already this term. The pressure on the shoulder of Sergio Aguero in particular has proven telling at times.
Opportunity knocks then for Everton in Super Sunday’s lunchtime kick-off, and after taking 10 points from a possible 15 they will be buzzing for the opportunity. Their goal threat has returned – they’ve notched eleven in their last six league outings – and that will stand them in good stead against the Citizens. Romelu Lukaku, available at 7/4 to score anytime, looks an outstanding investment.
But we remain unconvinced by Everton’s central defensive options (Ronald Koeman can choose between Ashley Williams, Phil Jagielka and Bruno Funes Mori), so City are likely to breach as well.
As such, goals are expected and that will warm the cockles during this cold snap of weather. Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams to Score can – and should – be backed at 21/20.
Honours Even in Feisty Old Trafford Contest
Both of Super Sunday’s fixtures look difficult to call, and while the Everton vs Manchester City fixture looks likely to descend into goal-laden chaos (fingers crossed), we’re expecting a different feel for the evening match between Manchester United and Liverpool.
The Red Devils have been outstanding of late and appear to have turned a corner under Jose Mourinho; they haven’t lost since October.
But the failing of this United side under Mourinho has been the fear factor he instils in them when playing big teams; how else can we explain form against the top six of W1 D1 L2 GF3 GA7? Clearly, their inability to be their normal adventurous selves effects them against the division’s big boys.
Advantage Liverpool you might think then, but they too have a weakness: making elementary mistakes in defence. Jurgen Klopp has rotated his goalkeepers and tried several central defensive partnerships (owing as much to injuries as anything else), but still game after game has been punctuated with avoidable errors. The 3-3 draw with Sunderland is a fine case in point.
It’s a ‘flip ‘em’ match and as such outright wagers are perhaps best to be avoided. But the last four Man Utd/Liverpool encounters have witnessed two or fewer goals, so there’s no harm in having Under 2.5 on board at 10/11. And what with this being a tempestuous affair between two rivals, we’re expecting tackles to fly in. Manchester United to receive Over 2.5 cards at 5/6 looks a smart investment.