Premier League Derby Sunday - Spread Preview
Derby Sunday Preview: Cards before Christmas?
Sunday provides Premier League fans with a real treat – or torture – in the form of three back-to-back televised derbies. With local pride at stake in all three matches, this derby weekend could be a feisty one with cards aplenty.The day starts at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea host Fulham in a West London derby.
The battle of Stamford Bridge
Chelsea v Fulham represents the biggest gulf in class of the three matches taking place on Sunday, and so, this West London derby may appear less prominent to the neutral eye. Certainly, Chelsea players usually reserve most of their emotional bile for the likes of Arsenal and Tottenham, and though Chelsea v Fulham is not so closely associated with player bust-ups or red cards, it has not been without controversy in the past.
Given how Fulham are defending at present, it would be no surprise to see a landslide win for Chelsea, even without the context of another return to Stamford Bridge for Claudio Ranieri. Maurizio Sarri’s men are wounded animals after losing to Tottenham last weekend, and the ‘Blues’ utterly dominated this fixture during Fulham’s original 13-year run in the Premier League, losing just one of 26 league derby matches – and losing none of the last 16.
Cards market – negotiating the spread
With this derby something of an unknown quantity, after nearly a five-year absence from the Premier League for Fulham, the Bookings Market makes for intriguing reading.
As ever, yellow cards are worth ten points, while reds are worth 25. The spread is 52 (sell) to 56 (buy). If it turned out to be a match relatively low on incidents and flare-ups, with only four yellow cards in total and no reds, then the market would settle on 40 points (4 yellows x 10 points = 40 total).
This points tally is then deducted from the sell price (52). So if you wagered on the ‘sell’ at 52 you’d win back 12 times your wager (52-40= 12). If the initial wager was £5, this equates to a £60 return.
However, if there were just two more yellow cards in the game, you would lose 8x your stake. This is because the two additional bookings would see the market settle at 60 points (6 yellows x 10 points) which is eight points above the 52-point sell price. Therefore you would lose £40.
By contrast, if you wagered £5 on the buy price of 56 points you would want to see bust-ups galore and as many players receiving their marching orders as possible.
Back in September 2001, the very first Premier League clash of Fulham and Chelsea produced six yellow cards and one red. If that was to be repeated here, the market would settle at 85 points (6 yellows x 10 points) + (1 red x 25 points). Subsequently, you’d win back 29 times your stake from a £5 wager – a cool £145 – after the buy price was deducted from the settle value (85 - 56 = 29).
Of course, it’s another story if the match turns out to be a tame affair. If only five yellow cards were shown and you’d staked £5 on the buy price (56 points), the market would settle at 50 points (6 below the buy price), resulting in a loss of 6x your £5 stake (£30).
Home advantage key in North London?
After the full-time whistle blows at Stamford Bridge, attention moves to the north of the capital, as Arsenal host Tottenham at the Emirates Stadium. Over the last two seasons, the four North London league derbies have proven relatively tame affairs with no more than five yellow cards in total. The last Arsenal-Tottenham derby to see a red card was a feisty affair, ending in a 2-2 draw, with Arsenal's Francis Coquelin taking an early bath in March 2016. With both Mauricio Pochettino and Unai Emery valuing style over grit, the trend of red-white derby matches producing 50 card points or less may well continue this weekend.
With the last 0-0 draw between these clubs coming way back in February 2009, it is goals – rather than bookings – that may be the order of the day. With two goals at the Emirates Stadium in his last three away derbies, Kane is the favourite across the board to score first in a North London derby. The real money, however, can be won or lost under more specific circumstances – namely when his opening goal might arrive. Both of those goals arrived in the middle third of the game (30-60 minutes), with three of his last four home derby goals also falling within that time zone.
Unlike Arsenal, Tottenham are on a solid run of wins leading up to this one, but history is clearly still of significance to matchday markets. This is evidenced by the buy price of an Arsenal win, which exceeds Tottenham’s by just 0.5 points, in the current football spread betting prices for this match. If nothing else, it should be a close game, and since a brace of 5-2 home derby wins for Arsenal in 2012, every Emirates meeting since has produced just two goals or less. Ultimately, this lends extra relevance to the current sell price (162) of the ‘Total Goal Minutes’ market for this game.
Red mist and blue fury
The day's fixtures are concluded at Anfield, with the Merseyside derby. Of the three Sunday matches, this is arguably the likeliest to produce cards, even though the most recent Liverpool v Everton game proved to be an anomaly in that respect. Back in April, the two Mersey rivals ground out a forgettable 0-0 draw at Goodison Park. It was not a match without chances, and one that Everton could have snatched with a shade more creativity. Though mostly uneventful, it was unusual in that it produced no cards, sharply contradicting the Merseyside derby’s historical reputation for cards galore.
There have been many famous clashes between these two fierce Merseyside rivals. Back in 1997, Robbie Fowler and David Unsworth came to blows as tempers frayed at Goodison, and both men walked. Two years later, on the night of Everton’s most recent Anfield triumph, there was another infamous punch-up, between Francis Jeffers and Liverpool keeper Sander Westerveld. Once again, it was red for both combatants, with a young Steven Gerrard also walking later on. Gerrard suffered the same fate again in March 2006, but since then it has mainly been Everton players who have been on the receiving end of red cards.
Irrespective of the recent history behind this fixture, this is logically as good a time as any for Everton to arrest their Anfield hoodoo. Liverpool may be fatigued from their midweek exploits in Paris, and are shorn of captain Jordan Henderson. Everton, on the other hand, appear to have a midfield match made in blue heaven, with Idrissa Gueye and Andre Gomes forming a decent partnership in the engine room – even though the best of that has yet to be seen in away games.
As ever though, Jürgen Klopp’s men will head into the derby as favourites. The German has the additional accolade of seeing his team score first in every derby bar one since his arrival. Given that Everton have not won a derby after conceding first since December 1992, he will be hoping to continue that record. Additionally, January’s F.A Cup tie at Anfield saw Liverpool make it a record 16 derbies unbeaten, with a late goal from Virgil Van Dijk.
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