Football: Derby to spike Arsenal's guns

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The Independent Online
DERBY COUNTY, who silenced a few of their detractors with a plucky point against Leeds at Elland Road on Saturday, can hold Arsenal to a draw at Pride Park tonight. The Gunners, who made heavy weather of beating Leicester 2-1 at Highbury, may be happy to settle for a point.

Sunderland, clinically dispatched by Chelsea at Stamford bridge, may also be held to a draw by Watford at the Stadium Of Light. Watford lost their opening game against Wimbledon at Vicarage Road on opening day, but showed enough to suggest they might gain a point against their hosts, rocked by their weekend pulverising in the metropolis.

Wimbledon can beat Middlesbrough at Selhurst Park. The Dons did the business for Egil Olsen, their new manager, against Watford and can follow up against Boro, deeply unimpressive in going down 1-0 at home to Bradford at the Riverside Stadium.

Only the rich can get richer by backing Chelsea at 1-5 to beat Skonto Riga in the televised first leg of their Champions' League qualifier at Stamford Bridge tomorrow, but armchair viewers can still have an interest by doubling them up with Rangers to draw with Parma in their qualifier at Ibrox Park. The Parmalat-subsidised Uefa Cup holders have offloaded Enrico Chiesa to make way for the Brazilian Amoroso, top scorer in Serie A last term. But, in what may prove a carbon copy of last term's Uefa Cup encounter, Parma are unlikely to be actively seeking more than a draw to take back to Italy.

In tomorrow's other Premiership games, Aston Villa should overwhelm Everton, Leicester can beat Coventry, Manchester United should see off Sheffield Wednesday while Southampton, after their Highfield Road win, can beat Leeds at The Dell.

n Suggested bets: pounds 1 treble with Ladbrokes: Derby to draw with Arsenal (9-4), Sunderland to draw with Watford (12-5), and Wimbledon to beat Middlesbrough (5-4); a pounds 1 double with William Hill: Chelsea to beat Skonta Roga (1-5) and Rangers to draw with Parma (5-2); and four pounds 1 trebles with Stanley: Aston Villa to beat Everton (4-6); Leicester to beat Coventry (evens); Manchester United to beat Sheffield Wednesday (1-4) and Southampton to beat Leeds (9-5). (pounds 6 staked).