An Aston Villa side who have scored just three goals in their last five games look to have little hope of earning anything from a trip to the Emirates on Saturday.
While Alex McLeish’s side are struggling for goals in the absence of star striker Darren Bent, Arsenal are having no such trouble, particularly at home.
The Gunners have scored 20 goals in their last five games at the Emirates, including three in a 3-2 win over Villa in the FA Cup at the end of January.
And with six consecutive victories in the league, Arsenal also carry all of the momentum going into the game, with Villa chalking up just a solitary success in the six games following their FA Cup exit.
With this in mind, it is unlikely that we’ll see anything other than an Arsenal win on Saturday.
This is priced at 19/50 in bwin’s 3Way football betting market, with the draw available at 7/2 and an away success at 7/1.
But while Arsenal’s recent goalscoring exploits point to a comfortable victory, Villa could yet make it difficult for their north London hosts.
With ten of the Gunners’ 14 matches at the Emirates being level after 45 minutes, the visit of Alex McLeish’s side looks to offer a good opportunity to bet on the half time draw.
Villans manager McLeish has hardly endeared himself to the club’s fans this season with his apparent commitment to functionality over flair.
While the former Birmingham boss insists he has “never put the shackles on the lads”, his deployment of a five-man midfield for Villa’s home match against Fulham last week is nevertheless indicative of a cautious approach.
And this approach can hardly be expected to change at the Emirates, with McLeish likely to be more preoccupied with keeping the score at 0-0 than taking the game to Arsenal.
Villa have previous here, with Manchester City recently discovering how hard it is to get past a side set up to resist rather than threaten – it took a Joleon Lescott header from a corner in the 63rd minute for the Citizens to secure a 1-0 victory at Villa Park on February 12th.
In fact, there is a further pattern to report in this respect: Villa have not conceded a first half goal in any of their last four matches and Shay Given has only let in four goals in total during this time.
Indeed, going back to that FA Cup, tie Villa were actually 2-0 up at the break before Arsenal finally found their groove and hit back with a brace from Robin van Persie and a Theo Walcott strike.
With this in mind, it could be that Arsenal take their time to get past Villa’s defensive barricades, and with ten of the Gunners’ 14 matches at the Emirates being level after 45 minutes, the visit of McLeish’s side looks to offer a good opportunity to bet on the half time draw.
This option is available at 29/20, meaning a successful £25 free bet on this outcome is set to return £61.25.
The free bet is available to new customers who sign up for a bwin account.
Another option would be to take advantage of odds of 13/4 and bet on the draw/Arsenal win at half time/full time, with the momentum built up by the Gunners in recent weeks likely to ensure they eventually secure the win they need to keep their Champions League qualification bid on track.
And finally, for those who think Arsenal can defy the stats and grab an early goal, a home win with under 2.5 goals could be the play of choice at 13/5.
Recommended bet: Half time draw @29/20
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