BATTLE OF NORTH LONDON The highlight fixture of the weekend is surely the North London Derby as two sides who just plain do not like each other take the field. This is a true rivalry, made even better in recent years as both sides have been competing for the title. It’s not the only big game this weekend of course, and there is plenty of money to be made so let’s have a look at my top three bets.

West Ham v Stoke

3.00pm Saturday This should be a very good game on Sunday. Both sides have rebounded after rocky starts and are beginning to look more like themselves. Both sides play a decent brand of attacking football, which has been let down by a rocky defence. There are so many similarities between the two, not just in how they play but also in how they are rounding into for. Because of this I think this will be a very interesting game.

I think West Ham have the slight edge here. As I said there are so many similarities between the two, but West Ham are just a bit better of a team. I also think they are a bit further on in their recovery from poor form and that revolves around one key player, Payet. He is one of the best in the Premier League if not Europe when he is on song. Last year he was a joy to watch and he is starting to show signs of getting back to this. He had a long summer with France in the Euros, and this is something that came new to him in his career so I think it was natural it would take him time to work his way into this season.

Both teams started off the year shedding goals at an alarming rate. Thankfully they have shored things up a little bit, West Ham in particular. They have adopted three at the back, similar to Chelsea and it has really given them a stronger foundation. Stoke are still having some troubles in this area but with an attack like theirs they always have a chance of winning games. Despite this I think West Ham have a slight advantage here, they have got a bit more solidity in their performances while Stoke can still be a bit unpredictable.

Back West Ham at 2.04

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Arsenal v Spurs

12.00 pm Sunday As I mentioned in my intro, this is certainly the game of the weekend. It is possibly the best rival match in England as well. There is plenty of history to suggest these sides do not like each other, and it is great to see it is one of the genuine rivalries that still lives on in the modern game. Both sides being up near the top of the league really adds a bit of fuel to the fire as well, as each game has so much importance outside of just bragging rights.

For me there is only one winner this weekend however. When you look at how both teams have been playing of late you have to fancy Arsenal to put one over their rivals. Spurs have been in a bit of a slump lately, particularly in front of goals. They have not scored more than one goal in a game in their last six matches now. For a team hoping to be in contention at the end of the season that simply won’t cut it. Kane has missed time through injury and it has really effected them. They have nobody else who can really step up and score for them. Janssen has struggled, Son had a couple of good games but won’t consistently get you goals and the likes of Lamela and Eriksen won’t score too many. They need their talisman back urgently if they are going to contend.

When you look at Arsenal, they really contrast Spurs going forward. Their striker of the past few years often goes on dry spells, but there is so many in the side that will pick up goals. Walcott consistently lights up for a few weeks in a row, Chamberlain is a real exciting talent going forward, Sanchez scores plenty and of course you have Ozil in the side to score a few and more importantly create so many more goals. Spurs have an excellent defence, which will stop them conceding too much but until their attacking players pick up their games they will be in danger of dropping a few points.

Back Arsenal at 1.97

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Swansea v Man United

3.00pm Sunday Speaking of top sides in the league who are struggling in front of goal, look at Man United. They had almost 40 shots last wee against Burnley and they still couldn’t find the net. Ibrahimovic is on the worst run of his career in front of goal, and Mourinho is just looking like he is plain out of ideas. Let’s not forget the form his Chelsea side were in before he left in the middle of last season. Of course he is a great manager, he has won so much in his career but he has been shown up in the last year and a bit and he needs to change things up.

Ordinarily for a fixture like this I would back Swansea, but under Bob Bradley they really have not look like they are close to winning games. Sure it takes a manager some time to settle and get players to buy into his philosophy but he has really looked out of his depth to start his time in England. So what do you do when you see two teams that you really don’t feel can win a game? The lay is the way to go for me. Both teams are in a rut, and neither looks to be coming out of it. You keep expecting Man United to show they are a top team, but at this stage I think it is becoming quite clear that they are not. There is still a lot more work to be done on this team.

Lay Man United at 1.78

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