Throughout the season, we will be bringing you our ‘Shouting the Odds’ verdicts on all the big Premier League games, starting here with Blackburn against Arsenal. Jamie Clark puts forward the case for Rovers, while Gary Taylor talks up the Gunners’ chances, with news.bwin.com/en/ editor Chris Bryant asking the questions.
CB: So Blackburn take on Arsenal at Ewood Park with both teams desperate for the points but for very different reasons. How are the 3Way odds looking?
GT: Arsenal are priced at 4/5 and although I think they’ll win, there’s definitely better value elsewhere. They will be buoyed by their midweek point in Dortmund, despite the late equaliser. They rode out the early storm and went into the break 1-0 to the good thanks to Robin van Persie’s clinical finish and also led at half-time in the game before at the Emirates against Swansea – so 27/20 for a repeat against a dispirited Blackburn outfit is well worth a shout.
JC: It would be naive to ignore the concerns of a significant minority of Blackburn supporters who are going to be protesting about the situation at their club and the table doesn’t lie. Having said that, the club’s owners finally backed under-fire boss Steve Kean with funds on transfer deadline day. Scott Dann and Chris Samba have the makings of a solid partnership at the back and Yakubu’s arrival from Everton adds a proven Premier League goalscorer to the ranks. Blackburn are 7/2 to get their first win here, but you have to admit that a draw at 12/5 looks the safest option.
CB: And what about a correct score? Anything take your fancy?
GT: Well, clean sheets are not something Arsenal are famed for and I don’t expect that to change at Ewood Park, despite Blackburn’s current plight. I would be looking at them to come away with a 2-1 victory at 29/4.
JC: There have been times in the recent past where Rovers have dug their heels in and frustrated Arsenal. For example, they got a 0-0 at the Emirates in their last meeting and a repeat of that scoreline is priced at 15/2. But with two new defensive partnerships on show, I reckon both sides are likely to score in this fixture. Blackburn have netted in three of the last four meetings and the Gunners have conceded ten goals in four away games to date, so a 1-1 result is tempting at 19/4.
CB: That seems fair. I’d be surprised if there was much between these two. Who are you looking at for goals? Robin van Persie certainly enjoys playing against Blackburn…
GT: Yep, spot on. Van Persie has actually scored more goals against Blackburn (ten) than any other team in the Premier League and he is priced at 7/2 to open the scoring at Ewood Park. But I would definitely be looking at the 5/1 offered by bwin on him to score two goals or more. There is no doubt that he is Arsenal’s main man. He has scored 24 goals in his 29 appearances during 2011 and has three already this season. Also, Theo Walcott is 15/2 to score first – something he did in the corresponding fixture last season.
JC: You can say what you like about Van Persie, but Arsene Wenger ignores David Dunn at his peril! He has three goals in his last four starts against Arsenal and odds of 4/1 for him to score at any time to keep his excellent record against them going must be worth a punt. Yakubu is 9/4 to break his Blackburn duck, assuming he makes his debut.
CB: Good old Dunny. I’ll never forget him ending up on his backside after trying a trick when he was playing for Birmingham – pure genius. Any final tips you want to state the case for?
GT: I know the goals have not been flowing for Arsenal but they have managed to score twice in two of their four away games in all competitions so far. With the sublime talents of van Persie alongside the pace of Walcott and Gervinho, I fully expect them to do the same against Blackburn at odds of 12/5.
JC: The truth is that Rovers tend to have the final word in terms of goalscoring in this fixture. Twice in the last four league meetings at home they’ve netted last and you can get 17/10 with bwin that this will be the case again.
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