Weblog: The football punter

Gunners soap opera heading for shock ending

I’M not convinced, despite what Sky and other hysterics try to tell me, that there’s a title race up for grabs, and nor am I overly thrilled by the relegation scrap which seems to involve four teams who I’m guessing most of us thought would be down there anyway.

But there’s definitely some late potential for top-six anguish and glory to be had before the end of term.

Everton are odds-on to be up to fifth place come Saturday night – and not a bad bet to still be there come Monday evening.

Burnley have had a stunning season but I can’t see them stopping the Toffees now that Ronald Koeman’s men have got the bit between their teeth.

And then all Everton eyes will be on the two sides they are about to leapfrog – Man Utd and Arsenal – who each have tough asks to come.

United are at home to Chelsea which means we have to endure the dreary Mourinho-Conte sideshow before the main event kicks off. And when it does kick off I can’t see Chelsea slipping up.

The fact is, I can’t ever see Chelsea slipping up. Whether they play well or not, they just don’t lose. And I don’t see them losing at Old Trafford where United draw way too many games, nine already.

Twenty four and a bit hours later and there’s another managerial soap opera to unfold with Arsene Wenger and his Arsenal up at Middlesbrough.

The careless among you will see this as an away banker given Arsenal’s flat-track bully status.

But there seems to be something about Boro which stops the Gunners in their tracks.

Five of the last seven Premier League meetings between these two have ended in draws with a win apiece in the other two fixtures. The Boro-draw double chance for me and more pressure on the obstinate Wenger.

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Match in Focus

12:00 Sa 23Sep SSMI

Atl Madrid v Sevilla

Home Win Draw Away Win
Key stats
  • Sevilla haven't conceded a league goal since the 35th minute of their opening game
Expert verdict
Sevilla have made the most of a soft sequence of early-season fixtures, winning their last four league games to nil, but bookmakers expect that fine run to end at Atletico Madrid's new stadium. However, Atleti limped to a 1-0 win over Malaga in their first game at their new home and it will surely be a less intimidating venue than their old fortress at the Vicente Calderon.