Blogs & Opinion


Ed previews Southampton-Tottenham, Swansea-Everton and Arsenal-Chelsea

Ed Chamberlin - Ed Chamberlin Posted 19th December 2013 view comments

It was great to have Liverpool and England captain Steven Gerrard with us on Super Sunday last weekend.

You can imagine what the atmosphere was like in the studio as Liverpool ran riot at White Hart Lane.

It was a hugely impressive performance, which Gerrard described as the best display by the team under Brendan Rogers.

Sherwood: favourite for the Tottenham post with Sky Bet

Sherwood: favourite for the Tottenham post with Sky Bet

Like the rest of us he marvelled at the brilliance of Luis Suarez and was spot on when he said that we should relish and enjoy Suarez while he is playing in this country and lighting up the Premier League.

Tottenham were humbled and it was little surprise to see Andre Villas-Boas leave the club the following day.

It wasn't so much the defeat on Super Sunday that was alarming but the manner of the defeat; the fact that Spurs did not have a single shot on target in a home game for the first time since Opta stats began, said it all.

A win for the Gunners on Monday night will guarantee them top spot on Christmas Day, which we know is an important omen as the champions from the last four seasons have all been top at Christmas.

Ed Chamberlin
Quotes of the week

Sky Bet already have a lively market on who will take over at the Lane. Tim Sherwood is currently the 2/1 favourite, with recent money for Frank de Boer (now 4/1) then come Fabio Capello and Glenn Hoddle next in at 6/1 and 7/1 respectively.

Mauricio Pochettino has drifted out to 25/1 this week to get the Spurs job, but he is an intriguing contender because Tottenham take on Southampton at St Mary's live on Super Sunday.

Sherwood is a popular man with the players and the team is bound to get a lift for what should be a really good game, especially if they play two up front (Emmanuel Adebayor and Jermain Defoe) as they did on Wednesday night against West Ham.

Pleasing

That's our first match on Super Sunday as then we'll be live at the Liberty Stadium for Swansea against Everton. That means a return to where it all began in management for Roberto Martinez.

However, meetings with Swansea haven't been kind to Martinez so far with four Premier League games without a win. It should be a different ball game though with Everton, who are flying right now.

The two best performances I have seen in the Premier League this season have been City's demolition of United in the Manchester derby and Everton's first 40 minutes at the Emirates against Arsenal.

Martinez has got them playing some brilliant football and Sunday's game looks guaranteed to be pleasing on the eye.

The two full-backs, Seamus Coleman and Bryan Oviedo, are particularly impressive and important to the way Everton now play. Michael Laudrup will have to find a way to keep them busy going backwards.After the game at Swansea it will be the long haul down the M4 to London as we have a real pre-Christmas treat on the Monday Night Football: Arsenal v Chelsea.

This is a proper betting heat with Arsenal shading favouritism with Sky Bet at 11/8, Chelsea a 15/8 chance and the draw at 12/5.

It's been a tough week for Arsenal, with an energy-sapping defeat in Naples playing its part in the defeat at Manchester City.

The reverse against Napoli proved expensive as they drew Bayern Munich out of the hat in the Champions League draw and are now considered virtual no-hopers for that competition at 28/1.

Prolific

Many are expecting the wheels to come off their season but Arsene Wenger's have the perfect platform to answer their critics on Monday night and they have already proved this season that there is a genuine backbone and spirit to this Arsenal side.

A win for the Gunners on Monday night will guarantee them top spot on Christmas Day, which we know is an important omen as the champions from the last four seasons have all been top at Christmas.

These two sides have been brilliant in 2013 and have taken more Premier League points than any other teams in the calendar year. Arsenal have been, and remain, prolific at home.

They had to work hard to draw with Everton on Super Sunday last time out but have still only lost one of the last 17 home League games (W12 D4) since the 2-0 defeat to Manchester City on January 13th.

Arsenal's issue remains with their results against the big guns.

That's typified by their recent record against Chelsea, who have won eight of the 11 meetings in all competitions in the last five years including each of the last three meetings (both 2-1 in the Premier League last season).

Chelsea's big problem this season has been killing off teams, not helped by the lack of goals from their strikers.

It's extraordinary to think that none of their 30 goals in 17 Premier League away games so far this year has been scored by a striker. Their strikers have scored only 12% of Chelsea's 68 League goals in 2013.

It will be fascinating to see what Jose Mourinho does on Monday night. Jamie Carragher, Gary Neville and I will be live from 7pm on Sky Sports 1. I hope you can join us.

Cheltenham

The race of the season is shaping up to be the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. All the ingredients are being stirred nicely.

The New One is Sky Bet's 3/1 favourite to win hurdling's blue riband but I'm not totally convinced by what he's achieved so far this season and whether he deserves to have shortened up so much in the betting.

The New One has beaten a disappointing Rock On Ruby at Kempton and then a reluctant Zarkandar on Saturday at Cheltenham. We'll learn more on Boxing Day in the Christmas Hurdle when he takes in My Tent Or Yours in what is a mouthwatering clash.

I've said plenty of times that I think My Tent Or Yours is virtually unbeatable around a flat track and expect him to have too much speed for The New One at Kempton but can easily see the form being reversed at Cheltenham in March. However, I'm not sure either of them will beat the Irish. Jezki remains my selection to win the Champion Hurdle.

This weekend there's some top action at Ascot, where Chatterbox should run a big race in the Ladbroke, and Haydock after which we are set for a Christmas racing feast in England and Ireland.

I think we're set for a grey Christmas with Al Ferof winning the King George. My best bet for Christmas is Thomas Edison in his chosen engagement over hurdles in Ireland.

Finally, I'd like to wish you all a very happy and profitable Christmas.

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Guillem Balague

Balague: Barca training tough

Guillem Balague says Barcelona’s stars will suffer gruelling double sessions during their week at Burton....

Ray Wilkins

Wilkins: Rooney for captain

Ray Wilkins says Wayne Rooney is the "standout candidate" for the England captaincy....

Jamie Carragher

Carra: Gerrard hard to replace

Jamie Carragher says there’s no natural replacement for Steven Gerrard in the England team....

Latest News RSS feeds

Live transfer updates

Liverpool sign Divock Origi, Ross Barkley pens new Everton deal and Hull City land Andrew Robertson and Harry Maguire.

Barkley signs new Everton deal

Everton midfielder Ross Barkley has signed a new four-year deal with the club.

Liverpool sign Origi

Liverpool have signed Belgium striker Divock Origi from Lille for a fee of £10million.

Allegri: Vidal happy to stay

Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri is convinced Arturo Vidal will remain with the club for the forthcoming season.

Saints chairman: Duo staying

Jay Rodriguez and Morgan Schneiderlin will not be sold, according to Southampton chairman Ralph Krueger.

Features

La Liga: A look at the best buys so far in Spain

La Liga: A look at the best buys so far in Spain

The top value signings of the summer might not necessarily involve the best players. Clearly, James Rodríguez and Luis Suárez are a cut above anyone recently recruited by Real Sociedad.

In part two of his Sky Sports Fantasy Football scout report, tipster Tim Clement looks at which young stars are set to shine this season

In part two of his Sky Sports Fantasy Football scout report, tipster Tim Clement looks at which young stars are set to shine this season

There’s nothing quite like spotting a young talent set to flourish and Sky Sports Fantasy Football managers will be especially desperate to discover the next young star set to shine.

Good Week/Bad Week: We take a look at the winners and losers from the last seven days

Good Week/Bad Week: We take a look at the winners and losers from the last seven days

So much can change in a week of sporting action and, sure enough, there have been plenty of highs and lows over the past seven days.