I’m writing a piece on potential goalscorers in a match involving Arsenal. How can I not start by mentioning you-know-who?
He’s scored 13 Premier League goals this season, four in the Champions League, has 34 goals in 36 games in 2011 and is probably the form player in European football.
Take a 6-0 win against QPR out of the equation, and Fulham have scored just eight goals in 11 games and the conclusion is pretty obvious: you’re probably better off putting some extra money on RVP.
Robin van Persie is 11/4 to score the first goal against Fulham at the Emirates today and 13/20 to net at anytime – it doesn’t take a genius to work out that they are bets that you probably want to be on.
Yet being a punter is about trying to find value and swimming against the tide where necessary, and that is what I’m going to try and do. So who else can score for Arsenal against the visiting Cottagers?
Such is Van Persie’s incredible form he has monopolised Arsenal’s goals – only three further players have more than one league goal and even then Theo Walcott, Gervinho and Mikel Arteta only have two goals each.
Walcott has a further two in the Champions League, and given the fine form he has displayed for club (if not country) then I see the 6/1 he opens the scoring and 3/2 he bags anytime as sound alternatives to the goal machine that is RVP.
Two of Walcott’s four goals have been the first of the match and I see him giving Fulham left back John Arne Riise – off the pace when coming to the end of his Liverpool career three years ago – a torrid evening.
A decent outside shout – although the price hardly reflects that – is Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Odds of 8/1 to score first (2/1 anytime) hardly gives anything away for an 18-year-old who is far from a first team regular, but I think the ex-Southampton startlet is something special and if Wenger is tempted to shuffle his pack given Arsenal’s schedule, Oxlade-Chamberlain, with five goals for Arsenal and England Under-21s this season, could profit.
I wrote about Fulham’s chronic lack of goals away from home last week and, lo and behold, they failed to net again, holding Sunderland to a 0-0 draw that I suggested might well happen.
I would propose they are unlikely to keep Arsenal out with similar ease on Saturday, but have they got it in them to score?
The Cottagers actually have a reasonable record of scoring at Arsenal: they have netted in six of their nine Premier League visits (though never more than once) and Arsenal are always likely to give you a chance, as only five home clean sheets in twelve matches in all competitions proves.
But can you back a Fulham player to score with any conviction? Three away goals all season, two of which came at a desperately poor Wigan Athletic, suggest not.
I would always advise a small play on Clint Dempsey, if anyone, to score first at 8/1 and anytime at 9/4.
The American forward has three Premier League goals, two of which were openers, which help make up a total of seven goals for the season.
A look around the rest of the squad does little to inspire confidence.
Andy Johnson has just 13 league goals in four years, Bobby Zamora is hardy prolific and other than that you really are taking a punt on players who don’t have more than a goal this term.
Take a 6-0 win against QPR out of the equation, and Fulham have scored just eight goals in 11 games and the conclusion is pretty obvious: you’re probably better off putting some extra money on you-know-who.
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