Where would Arsenal be without Robin van Persie?
That is a question that many pundits have been asking in recent times as Arsene Wenger’s Gunners seem to become more and more reliant on the former Feyenoord man.
Describing Arsenal as a one-man team would be unfair, but there is little doubt that without Van Persie in the side they wouldn’t quite be the same proposition.
The talismanic Dutchman has 11 Premier League goals in total, making him the league’s top scorer. Eight of them have come in Arsenal’s last four games, including a brilliant hat-trick against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Earlier this season he surpassed the 100 goals mark for Arsenal and when Wenger left him on the bench for much of their Champions League tie with Marseille at the Emirates last month, it is little coincidence that the side drew a blank.
With this in mind, betting on Van Persie to find the net at Norwich seems about as close to a banker as you are ever likely to get in this game and the odds reflect that – Van Persie is odds-on at 9/10 to score at any time. In order to get better odds it might pay off to look to some alternative scorer markets.
Van Persie has opened the scoring for Arsenal three times in the Premier League this season and once in the Champions League and he can be backed to score first in this one at 7/2. Additionally, he has scored two or more goals on four separate occasions and is priced at 7/2 to score at least twice at Carrow Road.
Aside from RVP, Arsenal don’t really have a stand-out goalscorer in their side. Theo Walcott, Gervinho and Mikel Arteta all have two goals each, while six other players have a single Premier League goal to their name. This makes choosing between them something of a lottery and emphasises even more the prudence of opting for Van Persie.
Staking your free £25 bet for joining bwin.com on Van Persie to score first will return £112.50 if successful.
By anyone’s standards Norwich’s team is full of Premier League rookies and when compared to Van Persie the difference is startling. Grant Holt, Anthony Pilkington and Steve Morison are all in their debut seasons in the top flight and have scored fewer goals between them so far than Van Persie has managed by himself.
Nevertheless, this shouldn’t take away from their impressive early-season form in a team that will create far fewer chances than the likes of Arsenal. Holt has already scored against Chelsea and Liverpool this season and is priced at 9/4 to add Arsenal to his list of scalps from ‘the big five’ by scoring at any time on Saturday.
All of Morison’s three Premier League goals have come in the second half and so odds of 15/2 for him to score the last goal of the game look more tempting than identical odds on him to score the first goal do.
Of all Norwich’s potential goalscorers, Pilkington has arguably been the surprise package. He has scored four goals already this season, three of which have been the first goal of the game. If you fancy him to open the scoring again on Saturday, odds of 14/1 on doing just that look quite appealing.
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