The game of the weekend sees Chelsea host Arsenal at Stamford Bridge. The Blues are odds on to take all three points, with Arsenal outsiders at 4/1. That hasn’t stopped Gary Taylor from predicting a win for the Gunners, while David Segar is going for a home success. They battle it out in the latest edition of Shouting the Odds hosted by news.bwin.com/en/’s editor, Chris Bryant.
CB: So set the scene for us first of all – why is your club going to win this match?
DS: Having started the season as the running joke of the Premier League, it certainly seems that Arsenal have found some form (or Robin van Persie has at least). However, this run has come in a succession of home games. Fact is that the Gunners have not won away in the Premier League this season, and have lost their last three on domestic travel. Chelsea on the other hand have been imperious at home, with a 100 per cent record including wins over Everton, Norwich and West Brom. The 31/50 on Andre Villas Boas’ men seems a no brainer for me, especially against an Arsenal side who have conceded 14 goals on the road in their four away games so far.
GT: No Didier Drogba surely means an early victory for all Gooners. When the Ivorian nemesis has not played Arsenal are unbeaten against Chelsea, winning two and drawing one. Arsene Wenger’s troops have also found some form of late, winning seven of their last eight games in all competitions, making bwin’s odds for an Arsenal win in the 3Way market of 4/1 well worth a punt.
CB: A bit of fighting talk early doors from Mr Segar there. I like it. Arsenal a one-man team are they Gary? Who are you predicting will fire your side to victory?
GT: One man team, whatever. You won’t be laughing when he scores first. RVP just keeps getting better and better. His double against Stoke means he has now scored 25 goals in his last 26 league outings and has 30 goals in his last 36 games in all competitions. The Dutchman has also scored eight of his team’s 15 league goals this season so odds of 7/1 on him breaking the deadlock at Stamford Bridge look an absolute steal.
CB: What about you David? Who do you see hitting the back of the net?
DS: Mentioning running jokes earlier, Fernando Torres is still the man everyone thinks of when ‘open goal’ is mentioned (despite Bobby Zamora’s best efforts). However, his world famous miss against Manchester United appeared to give him some much needed belly fire as he went on to score against Swansea, and after receiving his marching orders in that game, scored a brace against Genk in the Champions League during the middle of his domestic suspension. He is now free to play in the Premier League again, and with his kryptonite strike partner Didier Drogba suspended, and with the ammunition that the likes of Juan Mata, Raul Meireles and Frank Lampard provide, 7/2 seems a terrific price to back the man who was once considered the best striker in the world during his time at Liverpool to open the scoring.
CB: So are plenty of goals on the cards? Or will a single strike settle it?
GT:Both these teams score and concede and I’m sure there will be more of the same this time round. Arsenal have looked more assured in defence since the arrival of Per Mertesacker but clean sheets are still a rarity. It’s a London derby that has always thrown up goals over the years, so I’m banking on more of the same – over 3.5 goals looks good at 8/5.
DS: As any regular readers of Shouting the Odds will know, I love my multiple outcome bets. It so nearly paid off last week when I was an Edin Dzeko strike away from correctly predicting that the Manchester derby would end with 3-2, 4-2, 4-3 or 5-1 to City as the final score. This week I am backing Chelsea to win either 2-1, 3-1 or 4-1. Reasons are as simple as an Alan Smith analysis (sorry Alan). Chelsea have been successful in every home league game this season, but have conceded one goal in all four of them, so 16/5 on a win while conceding one again looks pretty generous if you ask me.
CB: Any other bets catch your eye?
GT: I’m going for draw/Arsenal in the half time/full time market.The Gunners have not won at the Bridge since 2008 but Chelsea are not the force they once were and I expect an ever-improving Arsenal to take advantage of that. Wenger’s troops have not trailed at half-time in their last four matches and of the eight goals they have scored in those matches, six of them have come in the second half, making a draw/Arsenal outcome priced at 10/1 cracking value.
DS: I’ve got two. Firstly, I’m going to go against what RVP’s best friend Gary has just said. Not only am I confident that Chelsea will win this game, but I am going to stick my neck out and suggest that they will lead from half time as well. In three out of the four Blues’ league games at Stamford Bridge this season they have been leading at half time, and at Old Trafford and White Hart Lane, Arsenal were losing at the break. 27/20 on Chelsea going in at half time ahead, as well as winning the game, seem like fair odds to me, especially as form shows it’s more likely than not to occur.
DS: And one more from me. The difference between how teams play at home as opposed to away is the reason why I have concentrated so much on Chelsea’s home form in these predictions. So with that in mind, I can’t help but notice that of the four games, three of them have featured more goals in the second half than the first. That is also true of three out of Arsenal’s four away games. Better than evens makes this a good bet in my book, and the 11/10 on offer should not be ignored, especially when you consider the strength to come off the Chelsea bench should reinforcements be needed.
CB: Thanks guys. I’m going to make a prediction to finish – I think this is going to be a great game whoever you support. Enjoy.
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