In the first Shouting the Odds article to appear for this weekend’s Premier League fixtures, Sam Cale joins bwinbetting editor Chris Bryant to argue the case for Arsenal, while Julian Rogers takes up the Bolton side. You can read a full betting preview of the match here.
CB: Right then, getting us up and running is a match being described in some quarters as a relegation six-pointer! What do you make of the 3Way odds?
SC: Relegation six-pointer? Arsenal aren’t that bad! Although they have been performing way below expectations this season, with only one win out of five league games, I fully expect them to pick up the three points at 21/50. In the last ten meetings between the sides, the Gunners have won nine games, with Bolton’s sole victory coming in last season’s 2-1 win at the Reebok.
JR: Yes, but Arsenal must be so low on confidence after their 4-3 defeat to Blackburn. They will be desperate to put on a performance and bag all three points but their odds look too short to me. Bolton will take heart from their 2-0 Carling Cup away victory over Aston Villa in the week and the draw at 13/4 is a realistic prospect for them.
CB: There tends to be plenty of entertainment when these two sides meet, but do you think we’ll see a tighter affair this weekend with so much at stake for both?
SC: I actually think Arsenal will find their form and score three or more at odds of 27/20. Even though they lost to Blackburn, they still managed to score three goals and could have even secured a draw late on. Arsene Wenger has the managerial skills to turn this around and with the superior record they have against the Wanderers, I fancy them to turn on the style. In the last two meetings between the clubs at the Emirates, Arsenal scored four goals – winning 4-1 last year and 4-2 in 2009/10.
JR: I agree that there will be plenty of goals. There always are when these two sides clash. In fact, they have never played out a 0-0 bore draw for as long as they have been in the Premier League – that’s 24 matches. Five of the last ten meetings have produced four or more goals, while nine of those games have ended with at least two goals. Combine this with the fact that all five of Bolton’s matches this season have produced three or more goals, and I would be surprised if both keepers aren’t retrieving the ball from the onion bag at some point. Over 3.5 goals has got to be worth a punt at 16/11.
CB: There should be plenty of interest in the goalscorer markets then. Who will you be backing?
SC: Robin van Persie has scored just the one league goal so far, but in all competitions for Arsenal and Holland, he has seven goals in nine games. In his five previous games against Bolton he has two goals, and I believe that he could double that this weekend at odds of 11/4. He didn’t play in the Carling Cup so will be feeling fresh, and despite their defensive problems, they will always create chances. Van Persie is a proven goalscorer, with only his injury problems affecting his chances of being top scorer each season.
JR: I’m going for a long-shot on this one. Forget Van Persie, Gervinho and Kevin Davies and get on the first goal to be an own goal at a potentially wallet-boosting 25/1. Arsenal have put the ball in the back of their own net three times already this season in the Premier League, including two last Saturday against Blackburn. Alternatively, Gael Kakuta, who scored in the Carling Cup in midweek, could be worth a shout at 14/1 to score first.
CB: Well, I suppose there’s always a chance when Laurent Koscielny is playing… I presume neither of you are backing Arsenal to record a shut out?
JR: Nope. Arsenal’s defence was such a shambles against Blackburn, so I can’t see them keeping a clean sheet. Odds of 31/50 on Bolton to score look a solid proposition.
SC: I think Bolton probably will score, to be fair. With the open style of play Arsenal have, they always give their opponents a chance of scoring. But they will normally create more chances with their extra possession. Even in the 8-2 defeat to Manchester United, they still created over 20 chances. Although they haven’t got Cesc Fabregas or Samir Nasri anymore like in the previous meetings, they still have enough quality to cause havoc to the Bolton defence. That’s why my prediction is Arsenal to win 3-1 at odds of 19/2.
CB: Good stuff. Anything else jump out at you as representing decent value?
SC: I think it might take Arsenal a little while to get into their stride as they battle some early nerves. This often happens at the Emirates when they are having a tough time. Bolton will put them under pressure – especially at set-pieces – but the crowd will stay with them and I think the half-time draw/full-time Arsenal win selection could be worth a punt at 17/5.
JR: I’ll be having a little flutter on Wanderers to score the first goal in the second half. It’s a tempting price at 14/5 when you consider that four of their six goals so far have come after the interval, while Arsenal have conceded ten of their 14 goals in the final 45 minutes.
CB: Thanks for your time chaps. May the best team win!
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