Weblog: The football punter

Underwhelming duo can still serve up a classic

CAST your minds back a couple of months and they’d have been billing Liverpool against Arsenal as a potential title bout. Now it’s significance is in which of these two makes the top four.

Gunners’ fans know all too well about flattering to deceive and almost accept their eventual subsidence around this time of year with a customary good grace.

Liverpool thought it might be different under Jurgen Klopp but, as with so many of his predecessors, he also seems to be mastering the art of underwhelming.

Finishing in the top four is such a massive deal, of course, that the Liverpool-Arsenal clash is pretty much game of the weekend, especially if neither of them are actually in the top four come kick-off time courtesy of Man Utd duffing up Bournemouth.

Which, given Matt Le Tissier’s reasoned analysis over who gets the decisions when giants meet minnows, is pretty much a certainty.

So, Liverpool v Arsenal. Probably best to bet what’s least expected though given the mercurial nature of both of these sides, heaven knows what ‘expected’ looks like.

The first game between the two was a seven-goal thriller, a masterclass in how not to defend and, judging by Liverpool’s exploits at Leicester and Arsenal’s at Bayern, they haven’t managed to learn any lessons from August’s 4-3 cracker.

You could try a cheeky Arsenal and over 3.5 at 10-1. Over 3.5 shots on goal should be a similar price in the showdown between Stoke and Middlesbrough.

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Match in Focus

18:00 TODAY BT3

Zenit v Celtic

Home Win Draw Away Win
Key stats
  • Zenit have won 16 of their last 17 home Europa League matches
Expert verdict
Excluding qualifiers, Celtic have never won on the road in the Europa League in 13 attempts and that could spell trouble for the Scottish champions despite the Bhoys travelling to Russia with a fully deserved 1-0 first-leg advantage. Zenit should improve for the run after returning from their winter break at Parkhead.