Correct Score: Percentages point to narrow Gunners triumph

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CORRECT SCORE specialist Daniel McCulloch (@danmcc84) delivers his best bets from Boxing Day’s Premier League coupon.

Watford v Crystal Palace | Boxing Day 12:30 | Sky Sports 1

The first focus when analysing Boxing Day results is to consider the average number of goals per-game compared with the mean for the season.

Due to time pressures, I only looked at the last five years, which showed that Boxing Day fixtures average 2.54 goals per-game, compared with 2.73 overall.

Perhaps the sample size is insufficient to give you confidence that there are significant less goals this time of year, but hopefully it is enough to convince you to worry less about the seasonality.

Sam Allardyce replacing Alan Pardew as Crystal Palace manager would justifiably make you consider that there will be fewer goals in this game than first presumed. His two most similar recent appointments – Blackburn and Sunderland – saw tight games to kick-off his reign.

His first Blackburn away game (ironically against the Mackems on Boxing Day in 2008) saw his side draw 0-0, whilst a contentious goal saw his opening match as Sunderland manager end in a 1-0 defeat to West Brom last season.

My natural inclination is to back the 1-1 draw, available at 6/1 with William Hill. However, I am conscious that four of Watford’s 27 home league game since returning to the Premier League have ended 0-0.

I also feel that this is a result that Allardyce would very much accept and therefore feel compelled to take the 10/1 available on a 0-0 draw between these two sides.

Marathon are the only site being so generous so make sure you take them up on the offer.

Arsenal v West Brom | Boxing Day 15:00

I have written previously about Arsenal’s preference for a 2-0 and 2-1 scoreline.

Indeed, they have won 17 of their last 65 home games either 2-0 or 2-1, suggesting that the implied odds of a home win by either of these margins should be less than 3/1.

Taking the 13/2 BetVictor are offering on 2-0 and the 17/2 on 2-1 gives you combined odds of closer to 10/3. Two out of the last four games at The Emirates between these two sides have ended with a 2-0 victory for the home side.

However, The Albion look more potent – particularly from set pieces –than they have in recent times and you can see them causing Arsenal headaches from these areas so I would prefer to air on the side of caution.

Simply put; Arsenal should win and these are the most likely methods.

Chelsea v Bournemouth and Manchester United v Sunderland | Boxing Day 15:00

£1 on these two teams to win 2-0 each with BetVictor returns £45.

I recommend you back both as singles on the exchange too.

Swansea v West Ham | Boxing Day 15:00

Gylfi Sigurdsson to score first and Swansea to win 1-0 – this is always a recommended bet when Swansea are at home and I cannot believe that Bwin are going 40/1 on said tip.

The Swans won by this scoreline on Boxing Day last year and despite their recent victories, West Ham have hardly exuded confidence.

A tight game is likely and I would prefer to have the most probable goalscorer on my side at such odds!

Best Bets

Watford v Crystal Palace – 0-0 draw (10/1 Marathon)

Watford v Crystal Palace – 1-1 draw (6/1 William Hill)

Arsenal v West Brom – Arsenal 2-0 West Brom (13/2 BetVictor)

Arsenal v West Brom – Arsenal 2-1 West Brom (17/2 BetVictor)

Chelsea and Manchester United to both win 2-0 (44/1 BetVictor)

Swansea v West Ham – Gylfi Sigurdsson to score first and Swansea to win 1-0 (40/1 Bwin)

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