Weblog: The football punter

Unlikely to be plain sailing for hosts

SLIGHTLY presumptuous of Arsene Wenger to tell us what his plans are over the next couple of weeks.

Isn’t that what the Frenchman said after the 3-1 defeat by West Brom? That he’s reached a decision on his future and will announce his plans “very soon”.

Arsenal’s board might have an announcement of their own to make should Everton win at Liverpool and the Gunners fail to beat Man City, a double which would leave Wenger’s boys in seventh place in the Premier League and scrambling around for a Europa League place.

Granted, the Arsenal top brass have hardly been noted for ‘votes of confidence’ in the past and seem to have long since accepted that Wenger is bigger than them, even bigger than the club.

But seventh place? With all the hysterics that would go with that? They’ll be queuing up on the runway to send up planes carrying ‘Wenger Out’ messages – and let’s face it, if there’s one club whose fans can afford to charter light aircraft it’s Arsenal’s given how much they fork out for their season tickets.

First things first, can Everton avoid defeat at Liverpool?

I reckon they can. I know they’ve got a pretty shocking record at Anfield – they haven’t won there since 1999 – but this is a better Toffees’ camp than for a while under a top-class boss in Ronald Koeman who, like Wenger, won’t be managing in the Premier League next season.

Koeman, tailor-made for the Barcelona job, has got Everton buzzing and they can get a point.

As for Arsenal against City, it’s the visitors for me. There’s an edginess at The Emirates to go with the mistakes and City can make them pay.

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Match in Focus

19:45 TODAY SS1

Real Madrid v Barcelona

Home Win Draw Away Win
Key stats
  • Real Madrid have scored in their last 55 matches
Expert verdict
Barcelona really need to win this El Classico meeting to stand any chance of winning La Liga but they could come up short at the Bernabeu. Barca have lost their way this season, particularly on the road where they have suffered heavy defeats to Paris St-Germain (4-0) and Juventus (3-0).