Having left Everton for Arsenal in hurried fashion in the dying moments of last summer’s transfer window, Mikel Arteta is unlikely to expect a warm reception from the visiting fans when the two sides meet at the Emirates this weekend.
One way he can silence any hostility, however, is by making an instant impact for the Gunners. That he has the ability to do so is out of the question.
Robin van Persie’s fine form might have dominated the headlines for the north London club, but he himself has admitted that Arteta’s “experience” and “intelligence” has assisted him in reaching his peak.
Everton, more than any other team, will be aware that they must not simply regard the Spaniard as a playmaker. Scoring 26 times in six years for the Merseyside club, Arteta’s occasional screamers endeared him to the Toffees and made him a club favourite.
And having scored three times for Arsenal already, including a stunning strike against Wigan last weekend, punters should not dismiss the possibility that he will notch again against his former club.
[Van Persie] has been in sensational form, netting 13 goals in his past nine games – an average of 1.4 per game. What’s more, he is currently averaging a goal every 84 minutes in the Premier League this season.
Odds of 7/1 are available for those wishing to back Arteta to break the deadlock on Saturday, with punters using their free £25 bet for joining bwin.com on this selection standing to win £200 if successful.
However, no-one could be blamed, of course, for failing to look beyond Van Persie in the goalscorer market. The Dutchman has been in sensational form, netting 13 goals in his past nine games – an average of 1.4 per game.
What’s more, he is currently averaging a goal every 84 minutes in the Premier League this season.
The Gunners faithful have grown used to seeing RVP net more than once in a game, having scored at least a brace in five top-flight games since September. Odds of 5/2 for him to grab two goals, or 6/1 for a hattrick, therefore represent sensible business.
Everton, on the other hand, continue to struggle with goals, with only Swansea, West Brom and Stoke having scored less than their 15 goals this season, which is incidentally only one more than Van Persie’s total for the campaign so far.
None of David Moyes’ squad have stepped up to the challenge of leading the club’s goalscoring chart either. Each of their last six goals in the league have come from different players and their top scorer – Apostolos Vellios – has only scored three.
Jack Rodwell has been in the papers this week encouraging the squad to bounce back quickly following their home defeat to Stoke last weekend.
He may not be known for scoring goals himself, but having netted twice in his last four games, it is not unfeasible that he grabs another at the Emirates.
Both of his goals have proven to be the last of the game, so punters looking for a long shot may wish to back him to score last again at 22/1.
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