In October 2002 Clive Tyldesley said in commentary: “Remember that name”. The player he was referring to was Wayne Rooney who had just scored a stunning goal for Everton against Arsenal at Goodison Park and the goalkeeper he beat was David Seaman. The goal ended Arsenal’s unbeaten run of 30 matches and launched a player aged 16 who had the potential to go to the very top. Some question Rooney’s achievements but he is England and Manchester United’s record scorer.
Rooney’s career has come full circle because he is playing for Everton in a home match against Arsenal which is live on television on Sunday. Since that breakthrough goal he has played over 100 times for England and broken Sir Booby Charlton’s scoring record for club and country. Everton could do with a Rooney goal and win against Arsenal this time.
Ronald Koeman is now the short priced favourite to be the next Premier League manager to lose his job because after a great start to the season things have gone pear shaped. Everton started the season with four wins to nil but they have won just two of their last 11 fixtures. Fans are saying the team are worse than last season and the club have spent a fortune improving the squad. Koeman says it takes time to build a team but if Everton lose to Lyon in the Europa League and Arsenal Koeman could be gone.
Arsenal were in Europa League action on Thursday when they had a trip to Serbia to play Red Star Belgrade. Arsene Wenger usually puts his feet up on Thursday nights but he will be busy for as long as Arsenal have an interest in the Europa League. They lost 2-1 at Watford last Saturday after taking the lead. The positive mental associations with the fixture can inspire Rooney and Everton for a home win and some breathing space for Koeman before he gets sacked and becomes the manager of Holland.
The second leg of the North London/Merseyside double header sees Tottenham host Liverpool later in the day. Both come into the fixture on the back of great performances in the Champions League. Tottenham’s draw at Real Madrid is of more merit than Liverpool’s 7-0 victory over Maribor. Tottenham had chances to win the match in Madrid while Liverpool were routing one of the poorest teams in the competition. Both sides are full of confidence so this could be a high scoring meeting.
Tottenham and Liverpool have played eight league games this season to date. Those 16 fixtures have produced 45 goals so the average is almost three per match. Tottenham are unbeaten in five matches while Liverpool have won just once in five fixtures. Tottenham are five places and 4 points ahead of their opponents in this match. Liverpool were outstanding against the top teams last season but can come unstuck in London this weekend.
Chelsea have lost their last two fixtures in the Premier League and drew 3-3 at home with Roma in the Champions League on Tuesday. Watford will be on a high after their last gasp win over Arsenal and will fancy their chances at Stamford Bridge. The visitors are on a run of four wins and a draw in the league and they can extend that unbeaten run by avoiding defeat against Chelsea on Saturday lunchtime.
The second live match of the day looks like a cracker because it’s Southampton at home to West Brom. The hosts are one place and one point behind of their opponents and they can leapfrog them by winning this meeting. You know what you are going to get with these sides and sadly its not too many goals. They have identical scoring records which is for seven and against nine. The fixture has draw written all over it and on current form the outcome could well be one-all. Everton would take that against Arsenal and another Rooney goal but a win is on the cards.