THE big guns return to action in a much more packed Premier League schedule this weekend.
Twelve top-flight teams had last week to put their feet up – sort of – and many stars opted for a warm weather getaway as Storm Ciara wreaked havoc on the remaining schedule.
This weekend we’ve a packed column for you, featuring four top-flight matches starting with Liverpool’s trip to rock-bottom Norwich…
Norwich vs Liverpool – Saturday, 5.30pm
IT’S a true David vs Goliath showdown at Carrow Road.
On paper this looks the toughest test of the season for a Canaries side who have found the going tough on their return to the top-flight.
Daniel Farke and Norwich chiefs should be applauded for sticking by their guns in restricting their spending and retaining a football philosophy.
But that will mean little to a ruthless Liverpool, who arrive now as one of the most celebrated teams in the Premier League era.
Still unbeaten and on target to wrap up the title weeks early, the Reds haven’t lost a league game since January 2019.
This fixture never appears to disappoint and it’s goals which are on the menu – and plenty of them.
The past three H2H’s here at Carrow Road have finished 4-5, 2-3, 2-5, all in favour of the men in red.
Infact Liverpool have won their last five games in Norfolk, whilst they dismantled a plucky but out-classed Norwich side 4-1 on the opening day of the season.
Farke and Co beat Man City here earlier in the campaign simply by sticking to their attacking philosophy.
They’re not going to change and WILL get chances against this Liverpool side, who have conceded at Aston Villa, Crystal Palace and Wolves this season on the road.
Basically, the 4/5 on both teams to score is way too high.
We’re expecting Liverpool to take all three points back to Merseyside, but Norwich have drawn a blank at Carrow Road just once all season.
The 1/2 on there being a goal in each half is short, but is our banker of the day and a great bet to top up any acca.
While all the value falls with Roberto Firmino in this one.
Liverpool’s attacking quartet of the Brazilian, Mo Salah and Sadio Mane all dominate the scoring betting.
But Firmino has ten goals this season, all on the road – 3/2 is a massive price for him to make it eleven.
SunSport’s best bets
Both teams to score: 4/5
Aston Villa vs Spurs – Sunday, 2pm
HAS the tide turned for Jose and Spurs?
If anything, the new-look winter break has come at just the wrong time for Mourinho’s side.
Hard-fought wins over Man City and Southampton had breathed some optimism and momentum into a stuttering season – and Tottenham are without a defeat now in six games.
Villa on the other hand are scrapping to keep their heads above water.
They’ve a trip to Wembley to look forward to in March after reaching the Carabao Cup final – but remain just one point ahead of the relegation zone going into this one.
Every game is huge now and there’s no way Dean Smith is writing off any points here.
Spurs on the road this season have been – to put it bluntly – awful.
They’ve just two wins from 12 matches away from North London, with a goal difference of -5 and five defeats.
And yet they’re odds-on to win here. Don’t go anywhere near that.
This Villa outfit are spearheaded by Jack Grealish and even the most optimistic Villan must know that he’s likely leaving in the summer, relegation or not.
Spurs have been long-time admirers of the creative midfielder and he’s a terrific 12/5 to bag at anytime.
One thing Villa do here is net – they’ve drawn just one blank here all season, in a drab 0-0 draw with West Ham way back in September.
Man City, Liverpool, Leicester and Wolves have all left without a clean sheet.
And so to we reckon will Spurs, who have stopped the opposition scoring just once in a Premier League away game this campaign.
Both teams to score is a 4/7 shot and we can’t recommend that one enough.
Even though we’re not backing Spurs to win this one, we do like the look of them on the team goals market.
They’ve scored two or more on their last five visits to this ground and that’s the safe play at 7/10.
SunSport best bets
Arsenal vs Newcastle – Sunday, 4.30pm
IT’S an unbeaten 2020 so far for Arsenal.
But that doesn’t really tell the full story, does it.
Only two teams have won fewer games in this year’s Premier League season than the Gunners – Watford and Norwich, who both linger in 19th and 20th.
With just SIX wins from 25 games – the same as Brighton – Arsenal are only really out of relegation trouble thanks to their quite ridiculous tally of thirteen drawn matches.
Arteta has certainly made his side hard to beat, with four stalemates on the spin.
But it does mean they start this game level on points with Toon, who are unbeaten in four top-flight matches.
Steve Bruce’s side haven’t done much on the road this term though, winning just three of 12 games and without a success since beating Sheffield United in early December.
And their record on this ground is nothing short of horrendous.
Arsenal have won the last seven meetings, with an aggregate score of 20-5.
In fact, Newcastle have won in North London just TWICE since the turn of the century. Ouch.
There are the green shoots from recovery showing all over the pitch as Arteta gets his house in order.
Even Granit Xhaka is starting to look like a player.
We reckon this is Arsenal’s time to break that run of draws and three points are there for the taking on Sunday afternoon.
With talisman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang back from suspension – and a healthy 23/10 to celebrate with the opener – they can extend Toon’s misery in this part of the world.
Take the 4/9 on them winning and use it to boost your accas.
Or be more adventurous and take the 23/20 on the Gunners to be winning at both half time and full time. That’s a big, big price.
SunSport best bets
Chelsea vs Man Utd – Monday, 8pm
CAN Utd make it three on the spin at the Bridge?
Up until their victory here in February last year, Man Utd hadn’t picked up a win at Stamford Bridge in seven years.
They followed up that top-flight win with a Carabao Cup triumph here in October and the Bridge hoodoo is most certainly broken.
Chelsea continue to flit from the sublime to the ridiculous, with Frank Lampard’s young side just about keeping their place in the top four.
They’re without a Premier League win in three games though and have lost four times on home soil already this season.
But on their day – and especially on the road – they’ve excelled with the fast-paced game Big Frank has brought back to the club.
Neither of these sides can be trusted on the results market.
Who saw Southampton, Bournemouth and West Ham all winning in West London? Not us.
We’re not quite sure why anyone would put their hard-earned on United in this one.
They’ve won just three out of 12 away games this term, with three defeats in their last four on the road.
And 29/10? Not for us.
We’re not convinced by goals either.
Four of the last six H2H’s here have featured three goals or less, while just ten of United’s 25 PL games have seen similar. That’s the third lowest in the division.
Basically, 10/11 on their being under 2.5 goals is an excellent bet.
And even better is the evens on both teams failing to score.
That bet would have won on seven of the last ten meetings at the Bridge. Expect a cagey one.