For all the talk of crisis at the Emirates Stadium, Arsenal secured a credible 1-0 win over Udinese in the first leg of their Champions League play-off on Tuesday.
This followed hot on the heels of a 0-0 draw with Newcastle, suggesting off-the-field turmoil should not be confused with a complete lack of competitiveness on it.
In fact, the Gunners are 7/5 favourites to win their next match against Liverpool in bwin’s 3Way betting football market, with a victory for Dalglish’s side priced at 19/10 and a draw at 11/5.
However, it could be that this weekend sees Arsenal’s personnel problems catch up with them.
A selection crisis has left Arsene Wenger’s side in an even more vulnerable position, and with Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez set to line up against them at the Emirates many Arsenal fans will be fearing the worst.
Kieran Gibbs is out with a hamstring strain sustained in the midweek game against Udinese, Jack Wilshire is still nursing an ankle complaint and Johan Djourou, Tomas Rosicky and Armand Traore are also injury doubts.
Meanwhile, Gervinho and Alex Song are both suspended and Cesc Fabregas has joined Barcelona.
With Suarez having already opened his account for the season in Liverpool’s opener against Sunderland, the Uruguayan could be a good bet to score the first goal of the match at odds of 11/2.
A successful £25 free bet on Suarez to break the deadlock, available to new customers who sign up for a bwin account, would return £162.50.
The good news for Arsenal fans is that a Suarez opener does not mean that Liverpool will inevitably go on to capture victory.
Kenny Dalglish’s side only scored an average of 1.16 goals away from home last season but let in 1.58, meaning they only managed to pick up five wins in 19 games on their travels last term.
With Arsenal scoring close to an average of two goals at the Emirates last season, a 2-1 victory for the Gunners could be a good bet at odds of 35/4.
Those unconvinced that a depleted Arsenal are capable of overcoming a Liverpool team stocked with expensive new signings should consider the time it is taking Dalglish to gel his side into a cohesive unit.
Awful in pre-season, the Reds looked good in the first half against Sunderland but fell away after half time and the Black Cats certainly finished the stronger.
This suggests Liverpool are vulnerable at this stage of the season and Wenger will be hoping his side can give Arsenal fans a much-needed boost going into the second leg of their tie against Udinese.
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