Weekend tips: Liverpool host Arsenal, Xavi's derby bow, Milan go top? | OneFootball

Weekend tips: Liverpool host Arsenal, Xavi's derby bow, Milan go top?

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The international break is over and it is a huge weekend for football across Europe!

All guns blazing for the Reds?

Liverpool welcome Arsenal to Anfield on Sunday morning in a fixture that has rapidly become a must-win for Jürgen Klopp’s side.

The Reds have played tremendous football at times this season, but they’ve also collapsed on occasions. Back to back 5-0 wins have been followed by one point from the last six available.

A 2-0 home lead was thrown away against Brighton while defensive frailties were on display as West Ham won 3-2 last time out.

Injuries now add to the Reds’ woes: Roberto Firmino, Divock Origi, Sadio Mane and Andy Roberston all left the international break with  issues.

Meanwhile, visitors Arsenal have no current such issues.

After a rocky start to the campaign that saw Mikel Arteta’s men lose their opening three games, the Gunners are now on an eight-match unbeaten run, picking up 20 points in the process.

It’s a turnaround of form that has seen them go from rock bottom of the Premier League to two points behind Liverpool, who sit fourth heading into the weekend.

An Arsenal victory currently sits at 6.00 – very generous considering the two side’s form, while Liverpool to win – but both teams to score sees a 2.75 return.

Xavi returns for Catalan Derby

Over recent history, the Catalan derby hasn’t tended to have that much riding on it. Espanyol have been very much the poorer neighbours within the city of Barcelona, but modern times are strange.

Due to a disastrous on and off-field set of events, hosts Barça find themselves ninth in LaLiga, locked on 17 points with 11th placed Espanyol. All of a sudden this derby has real promise.

Factor in too that Ronald Koeman has been replaced by Xavi, the club legend described this week as a “derby specialist” by the local press, and there’s a real spice to the day.

The Blanquiazules find themselves on a 180-degree turn, last week dreaming of a win in the Camp Nou turns to the nightmare of holding off a new manager bounce.

It’s a situation that places Vicente Moreno’s players as massive underdogs – having not tasted victory against their city neighbours in the league for 12 years, Sunday morning offers little hope.

But, should you fancy Barça not hitting the heights expected the Asian Handicap of +1,0 +1,5 for Espanyol, at 2.070 could be for you. Barça half-time/full-time sits at an inviting 2.05.

Eyes on the top

A huge matchup is on the books in Italy as Fiorentina meet Milan, with one club having their vision set at the top of the table.

Milan have been the forgotten club of Serie A over the past few seasons, nowhere near the pomp that surrounded the team of the mid to late 90s, they have traded off history rather than ability.

But, under the steady hand of Stefano Pioli the Rossoneri once again have title ambitions and this fixture gives them the opportunity to take top-spot, placing all the pressure on rivals Napoli, who don’t play until the following day.

Seventh-placed Fiorentina have no time for draws this season. The Viola either win or lose and that form makes them almost impossible to read.

A loss has been followed by a win, followed by a loss, rinse and repeat, but Vincenzo Italiano’s side retains an element of danger, a real unpredictable test for their visitors.

In the last 10 league meetings between the two, Fiorentina have tasted victory just twice, which is why they sit at 6.00 to win the game and both teams to score.

The more realistic option seems to be AC Milan 2.15 at full time, but football is full of surprises, which is why we love it.

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