The Premier League serves up a double dose of derby drama after the international break, with Arsenal hosting Tottenham at lunchtime on Saturday before a Sunday visit to Manchester City is on the cards for Manchester United.
Original article published 29 September 2022
All four clubs begin the weekend inside the top five, with Brighton currently pushing Manchester United out of the Champions League spots; the Red Devils and the Seagulls have each played one game fewer than the rest of the frontrunners.
But with the term 'six-pointer' coined specifically for battles such as these two, the lie of the land could look rather different come the final whistle at Etihad Stadium.
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|What||Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur, Premier League|
|Where||Emirates Stadium, London|
|When||12:30pm, Saturday 1st October 2022|
|How to watch||BT Sport 1|
|Odds||Arsenal 19/20, Draw 13/5, Tottenham 11/4|
Few teams have showcased the kind of summer improvement that Mikel Arteta's Arsenal have exhibited since the start of the new campaign.
With 18 points taken from a possible 21 and a six-game winning home run under their belt - the club's longest since a 10-match streak from December 2018 - the Gunners have laid down early foundations for potential success.
In the opposing dugout, Tottenham's Antonio Conte, who took charge of a full pre-season for the first time, will likely be studying footage of Man Utd's 3-1 win over the Gunners on 4th September - his upcoming opponents' only defeat so far this term.
Spurs are yet to taste defeat in the Premier League, winning five and drawing two, and could go ahead of their neighbours for the first time since the opening round of fixtures with a win at the Emirates Stadium - priced at 5/1 with both teams to score.
The pair come into the derby on the back of searing wins, Arsenal having avoided a second defeat in two seasons to Brentford as they put three unanswered goals past the Bees.
Meanwhile,Spurs' 6-2 trouncing of strugglers Leicester City sent them into the quiet weekend on a high.
The Gunners are hopeful that instrumental midfield man Thomas Partey will be fit to pull the strings after the Ghanaian returned early from international duty with a knee injury - he can be found at 17/2 to find the net at any time.
A calf issue sustained by Oleksandr Zinchenko slightly took the gloss off the victory over Brentford, but he and Takehiro Tomiyasu are due to join Partey for late fitness checks, while Kieran Tierney should be available after suffering concussion while on Scotland duty.
For the visitors, a rapid-fire hat-trick for Heung-Min Son against the Foxes, as well as two for South Korea in international friendlies, see him arrive at the Emirates Stadium in fine fettle and at 15/2 to open the scoring.
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|What||Manchester City v Manchester United, Premier League|
|Where||Etihad Stadium, Manchester|
|When||14:00, Sunday 2nd October 2022|
|How to watch||Sky Sports Main Event and Premier League|
|Odds||Man City 1/3, Draw 19/4, Man Utd 13/2|
Coming into the international break on the back of four straight wins, United look to have rescued their season from a torrid initial run of form, having opened their campaign with back-to-back defeats to Brighton and Brentford.
The victory over Arsenal - their last Premier League outing - was a major coup for new coach Erik ten Hag, who had already overseen a 2-1 win over Liverpool in arguably the only other Red Devils fixture capable of ratcheting up the tension to the level of a Manchester derby.
But United’s away performances of late, namely single-goal wins at Southampton and Leicester, have not shown the same quality and style.
That said, United fans will be boosted by the news that their attack may well feature a returning Marcus Rashford, who has been sidelined since the match-up with the Gunners due to a thigh injury.
The pause in domestic action seems to have been timed perfectly for the England forward, who has returned to training with a view to grabbing some minutes in the derby.
Jadon Sancho, who sits alongside Rashford on three goals for the season, will have a point to prove having been left out of the Three Lions squad for the latest round of games - a goal for him at any point on Sunday can be backed at 13/2.
However, the international break brought bad news in the form of an injury to Harry Maguire, which means that one major question has become even harder to answer; how do United's defence go about stopping City's main man Erling Haaland?
With City just a point behind Arsenal in second, the young Norwegian looks to have shrugged off any pressure on his 22-year-old shoulders since his summer move to the Premier League from Borussia Dortmund, scoring or assisting in every game since opening day.
He found the net for Norway in the Nations League defeat to Slovenia on Saturday, having entered the international break on the back of 12 goals in seven matches across all competitions.
A brace or better for the forward is priced at 13/5, while three goals or more is a 9/1 shot.