Man City and Liverpool were both winners in the Premier League on Saturday, setting up a mouth-watering clash between the pair at the Etihad this weekend.
Original article published 5 September 2022
Liverpool briefly moved to the top of the table with their 2-0 victory over Watford in the lunchtime kick-off, but City returned to the summit by winning away at Burnley by the same scoreline just hours later.
That leaves Pep Guardiola's side a point clear at the top of the standings and priced at 4/9 to retain their title, while Liverpool are 7/4 to end the season as champions.
Both title challengers were handed favourable fixtures against struggling opposition off the back of the international break, but Liverpool had the added incentive of moving to the top of the standings if they beat Watford at Anfield.
There was no reason to suggest the Reds would slip up against a Watford side managed by former Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson, especially as the hosts went into the contest on a nine-match winning run in the league.
That being said, it certainly was not a vintage display from Jurgen Klopp's side, but a Diogo Jota header (his 20th goal of the season) and a Fabinho penalty got them over the line.
That handed the baton onto City, who travelled to Burnley for a 15:00 kick-off on the back of dropping points against Crystal Palace in their last league fixture.
However, City had won their last nine meetings with the Clarets across all competitions and there was never much doubt about the outcome following early strikes by Kevin De Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan.
The victory moved City back to the top of the standings ahead of next week's clash with Liverpool at the Etihad, a match that could go a long way to deciding the destination of the title.
City are priced at 21/20 to win that contest, while Liverpool can be backed at 12/5 and the draw 13/5, but neither can fully focus on the match just yet, as they both have the first legs of their Champions League quarter-final ties to come this midweek.
Liverpool will be in Lisbon on Tuesday to take on Benfica, while City will host Atletico Madrid on the same night.
The outcome of those matches could have an impact on Sunday's title showdown, especially as the return fixtures of both ties will be taking place the following Wednesday.
Man City v Liverpool. £5 Free Bet. Ready to use pre-match or In-Play.
The shock result of the weekend undoubtedly came at Stamford Bridge where a Christian Eriksen-inspired Brentford beat Chelsea 4-1.
That defeat leaves Chelsea still third in the standings, but with Arsenal yet to play this weekend and Tottenham enjoying an emphatic victory over Newcastle, Thomas Tuchel's side may now be looking nervously over their shoulders in the race to finish in the top four.
Spurs moved into fourth place by virtue of thrashing Newcastle 5-1 on Sunday, with Antonio Conte's side having now won five of their last six matches in the league, a run that leaves them priced at 6/4 to finish in the top four.
Arsenal will move back into fourth position if they take even a point from their trip to Crystal Palace on Monday night, the Gunners are 8/15 to end the season in the top four and they could be set to battle it out with Spurs.
However, one team that may now be out of the top-four picture is Man United after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Leicester in Saturday's evening kick-off.
It was another lacklustre display from Ralf Rangnick's side, with the German opting to start the match without a recognised striker, as Cristiano Ronaldo was ill, Edinson Cavani injured and Marcus Rashford out of form and left on the bench.
The result leaves United seventh in the standings, three points off the top four, but tellingly having played two more games than Arsenal. The Red Devils are priced at 8/1 to finish in the Champions League positions.
The defeats for Burnley and Watford on Saturday meant Everton could have pulled six points clear of the relegation zone by beating West Ham at the London Stadium the following day, but things didn't pan out that way for Frank Lampard's side.
West Ham claimed a 2-1 victory thanks to goals from Aaron Cresswell and Jarrod Bowen on his return to fitness, with the Toffees briefly levelling early in the second half through Mason Holgate.
However, ill-discipline cost Everton once again, as Michael Keane was shown a second yellow card midway through the second period making him the third Toffees player to be sent off in as many league matches.
The result leaves Everton three points above Watford and four clear of Burnley, but they will face the Clarets in what undoubtedly will be a relegation six pointer at Turf Moor on Wednesday.
Burnley have lost four league games in a row without scoring, while Everton have been defeated in six of their eight top-flight fixtures since Lampard's appointment as manager.
Everton also hold the worst away record in the Premier League this season, all of which suggests it may not be a classic encounter on Wednesday.
Burnley can be backed at 31/20 to take the spoils, with Everton available at 9/5 and the draw 11/5.
Among the other Premier League results this weekend, Wolves kept their faint hopes of European qualification alive with a 2-1 victory over Midlands' rivals Aston Villa, while Brighton and Norwich ended their respective winless runs with a forgettable goalless draw at The Amex.
There was also a share of the spoils at Elland Road as Leeds and Southampton played out a 1-1 draw. Jack Harrison's opener for the hosts was cancelled out by a James Ward-Prowse trademark free kick.
Ward-Prowse has now scored 13 goals directly from free kicks in the Premier League, with only former Man United star David Beckham having struck more.
Beckham's tally of 18 must now be within reach for Ward-Prowse, who has scored three this season alone.
The Saints skipper will also be hoping his free-kick exploits are enough to convince England boss Gareth Southgate to take him to the World Cup in Qatar later this year.