Weekend talking points: Thrills and spills in derby day epics
Premier League latest news and odds
With a derby day triple-header, Wilder v Fury in LA and the Euro 2020 qualifying draw, this weekend wasn’t lacking in talking points.
The Premier League more than lived up to it’s thrilling reputation, while Wilder and Fury exceeded everyone’s expectations.
As the dust settles, here’s your one-stop round-up of the big stories…
Emery’s Arsenal shows new resilience
Sunday’s North London derby was one for the ages. Both Arsenal and Tottenham had the upper hand at various points. The game also included two penalties, a red card, and a blistering strike from this season’s top goalscorer.
But at the end of it, North London was red as Arsenal came from 2-1 down at half-time to win 4-2. It was Unai Emery’s first taste of the historic fixture, and he didn’t shirk the occasion.
The Spaniard changed the game at the interval, bringing Alexandre Lacazette and Aaron Ramsey on for Alex Iwobi and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
The substitutions worked wonders as the Gunners tore Spurs apart in the second period, to record a famous home win and go above their fierce rivals into fourth. Lucas Torreira also etched his name into Arsenal folklore with a hustling man of the match display.
Arsenal are now unbeaten in 19 games, a run stretching back to August. Emery is still developing his vision at the Gunners, but they are already showing a new-found fire and determination.
Tottenham remain ahead of their neighbours at 4/11 for a top-four finish, with Arsenal at 10/11. Spurs are 2/5 to bounce back with a win on Wednesday night against Southampton, while Arsenal are 19/10 to win away at Manchester United.
Everton can take positives from derby pain
After Chelsea and Arsenal’s wins earlier in the afternoon, Liverpool hoped to make it three home wins from three on derby day.
But Jurgen Klopp’s Reds were stifled against an excellent Everton side. The Toffees could and should have taken the lead at least twice, while reducing Liverpool’s feared-attack to a smattering of half-chances.
A draw would have been a fair result, but Jordan Pickford inexplicably reached for a shanked Virgil van Dijk effort, and Divock Origi fumbled home with what was the most unlikely of Merseyside derby finales.
City and United are poles apart again
While Liverpool’s can count themselves lucky to have won this weekend, it was business as usual for Manchester City.
Pep Guardiola rested both David Silva and Sergio Aguero for the visit of Bournemouth, but it proved no bother in a 3-1 win. City are 2/9 to win this season’s title, while they’re 3/10 for victory at Watford on Tuesday.
Saturday’s result also showcased the Citizens’ strength in depth, and emphasised their prowess over neighbours Manchester United.
Jose Mourinho’s men continued their tradition of starting poorly, and found themselves 2-0 down inside 20 minutes at Southampton.
Though Romelu Lukaku (ending his goal drought in the process) and Ander Herrera levelled before the break, United couldn’t muster a third. They’re now eight points off the top four, and a mighty 16 behind City.
England’s path to Euro 2020 opens up
With all the drama of derby day, the draw for Euro 2020 qualifying was almost overlooked.
England will be confident of automatic progression after being placed with Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Kosovo.
The Three Lions avoided a potential match-up with Germany, but there wasn’t such good luck for Northern Ireland.
Michael O’Neill’s men must overcome both Die Mannschaft and the Netherlands, plus Estonia and Belarus.
Mick McCarthy’s second Republic of Ireland tenure will see the Boys in Green again face Denmark, plus Switzerland, Georgia and Gibraltar.
Wales will meet this year’s World Cup finalists Croatia, Slovakia, Hungary and Azerbaijan, while Scotland(who have already secured a play-off spot having topped their Nations League group) are in a group of six alongside Belgium, Russia, Cyprus, Kazakhstan and San Marino.
Fury and Wilder rejuvenate heavyweight world
But it wasn’t only football to savour this weekend. There was the small matter of Deontay Wilder versus Tyson Fury in Los Angeles.
Both fighters were taking unbeaten records into the ring, and after a sensational contest saw Fury floored twice, a draw ensures those records remain intact.
Despite hitting the canvas, Fury had the better of Wilder for large periods, and may well have won it on points had the Gypsy King not gone down for the second time in the final round.
It was an enthralling contest, one which has brought the heavyweight division back into the spotlight. A rematch seems certain and Fury is odds-on to win it at 4/6.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing