THE boss Mark O'Haire (@MarkOHaire) has trawled through his big book of stats to unearth the best value Anytime Goalscorer from Wednesday's football.
Arsenal v Manchester United | Wednesday 5th December 2018, 20:00 | BT Sport
This match will be covered on WLB in more depth by Dan McCulloch so I’ll focus my attention on the bet in-hand – backing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to score at anytime at 7/4 with Betfred.
Arsenal produced a fantastic performance in Sunday’s North London derby to extend their unbeaten streak to 19. Unai Emery’s men haven’t always convinced put their eye-catching weekend efforts deserved plenty of praise and the Gunners head to Old Trafford in confident mood.
The capital club are averaging 2.60 goals per-game across their last nine away days, and if exclude their Europa League assignments that return still stands at a mightily impressive 2.70 goals per-game. Arsenal are generating 1.70 Expected Goals in Premier League games as guests and should pose problems for a United side shorn of key defenders.
Jose Mourinho was forced to field a centre-back trio consisting of Scott McTominay and Nemanja Matic alongside Phil Jones against Southampton. However, Jones is now rated doubtful alongside Chris Smalling, Eric Bailly, Antonio Valencia, Luke Shaw and Matteo Darmian, while Ashley Young is suspended. Victor Lindelof is a confirmed absentee.
The Red Devils have W4-D4-L2 at Old Trafford this term, failing to even score on four occasions in front of their home supporters. Arguably more alarming is their awful defensive efforts where United have shipped 23 goals in their 14 Premier League games – it wasn’t until their 30th match in 2017/18 that they conceded the same tally.
United are giving up 1.04 Expected Goals from open play per-game – the sixth worst tally in the division – and given up 1.48 xG on average at Old Trafford. The hosts have managed only two shutouts in their 14 outings and so they appear very vulnerable against an Arsenal outfit that’s struck at least twice in all six of their road trips under Emery.
Aubameyang’s double against Spurs mean the Gabon international has notched with each of his past 10 on-target efforts, whilst no Premier League player boasts a goals-per-minute record (104) better than the ex-Dortmund ace. Eight of his 10 goals have arrived in his most recent seven matches and the division’s top goalscorer averages 0.55 xG per-game.
Kilmarnock v Livingston | Wednesday 5th December 2018, 19.45
Saturday’s 3-0 thumping of Hibs has pushed Kilmarnock into third in the Scottish Premiership with Eamonn Brophy bagging a brace at Rugby Park. Steve Clarke’s charges now welcome a Livingston side to East Ayrshire that’s failed to score in four of their past five top-tier outings, as well as tabling a sole success on their travels this term.
Killie are slight odds-on favourites to succeed and should have plenty of support considering they’ve W13-D2-L5 here under Clarke’s watch – a spell that includes winning all three fixtures against Celtic and Rangers. The hosts have scored in 17 of those 20 home ties and notched two or more goals on 11 (55%) occasions.
Newly-promoted Livingston have cemented their place in mid-table of the Premiership following an excellent start to the campaign. The guests tend to be built from the back but they’ll be under pressure at Rugby Park by a Killie side that’s averaging 1.65 xG at home, and scoring 1.71 goals per-game here.
It’s difficult to ignore the claims of Brophy getting on the scoresheet again at a generous offering of 29/10 (Unibet). The Kilmarnock hitman has scored in half of his 12 appearances in 2018/19, has generated 0.75 xG per-game and fired in four shots on average per-match, of which 48% find their target.
Veteran strike partner Kris Boyd is almost half Brophy’s price despite scoring once this season and posting far inferior figures.
Lyon v Rennes | Wednesday 5th December 2018, 18:00
Rennes sacked head coach Sabri Lamouchi after a dismal 4-1 thrashing at home to Strasbourg on Sunday, a result that leaves Les Rouges et Noirs just four points above the Ligue 1 drop zone. Considering the investment and personnel at their disposal, SRFC were chronically underperforming this season.
A win at home to Astana of Kazakhstan next week will see Rennes advance to the knockout phase of the Europa League. It would be the first time in their history they are still involved in European competition in the second half of a season, but that doesn’t tell the full story.
SRFC have won just two of their last 11 Ligue 1 games and Lamouchi has failed to integrate successfully Hatem Ben Arfa, the club's highest-profile signing at the start of the campaign. With the Brittany boys a calamity at the back, reserve team coach Julian Stephan has a tough task in his temporary role on Wednesday night to stem the bleeding at Lyon.
Lyon have verged between the sublime and ridiculous under Bruno Genesio’s watch but Les Gones have tended to put their best foot forward when playing in front of their home supporters. The hosts boast a 66% win ratio here since Genesio took charge with 26/56 (46%) of those fixtures ending in victory by a two-goal margin or better.
In 21/56 (38%) matches Lyon scored at least three goals and the high-flyers will be looking to rack up another impressive victory this midweek. Les Gones rested a few of their big-hitters on Saturday – including star man Nabil Fekir – and the returning skipper looks too good to turn down at 17/10 (Betway) to score on Wednesday evening.
Fekir has only netted two league goals this term, so you might say he’s due one considering he’s averaged a Ligue 1 goal every 174 minutes in his two previous seasons. The 25-year-old has grabbed two Champions League goals in 2018/19 and has been posting strong performance data across both competitions.
The French international is averaging 0.62 xG per-game, firing 5.43 shots per-match, of which 38% find their target. The Lyon talisman is on penalty and set-piece duty and in six of his 10 starts has attempted at least six efforts at goal. With only PSG above Les Gones in the shots in the box and xG brackets, Fekir should be central to their forward-thinking approach.
Rennes have recorded five shutouts in 27 since the start of last season on the road, conceding 1.33 goals per-game. With Lyon generating 1.81 xG this season – rising to 1.94 as hosts – I’m happy to have Fekir onside at odds that imply just a 37% chance of grabbing a goal.