ARSENAL welcome Manchester City to The Emirates on Super Sunday. We asked Tom Love (@TomLove_18) to source the best bets from the Premier League encounter.
Arsenal v Manchester City | Sunday 15th December 2019, 16:30 | Sky Sports
Arguably the glamour tie of the weekend comes at The Emirates as Arsenal hope to build on their positive second half display against West Ham on Monday night. That was a welcome shot in the arm for interim gaffer Freddie Llungberg and it’s been a good week for the Swede as his side have progressed in Europa League too. The Gunners come back from Belgium to a one of the trickiest fixtures of the season, one they’ve struggled in over recent years, Manchester City at home.
There’s worse times to play City, mind. Pep Guardiola has seen his side slip 14 points behind runaway leaders Liverpool and their drop off has coincided with defensive injuries to the likes of Aymeric Laporte and Oleksander Zinchenko. Their failure to keep a clean sheet is always going to hamper them when wanting a positive result and it’s now 10 games in a row that they’ve conceded, that being said they’ve also scored 29 goals in those 10 too.
In fairness to Arsenal their problems aren’t going forward either; the Gunners are always good for a goal. At the back though, it’s pretty embarrassing. They’ve conceded in their last 12 games and it’s a major shock if they keep opposition out ever these days. Their porous defence makes the 11/2 quotes on them look about right.
The Gunners underlying data backs up their actual output allowance too, Arsenal are conceding on average a shocking 1.60 Expected Goals (xG) per-game. In addition, only Norwich and Aston Villa are allowing more shots than the North London outfit, their shots in the box differential also makes shoddy reading at -5 and they’re not going to get results if they carry on in such vein.
City, on the other hand, are brilliant on the data but their defensive lapses, individual mistakes and propensity to get skinned on the counter-attack make them far from a sure fire bet these days. With that in mind I’m happy to leave the outright market alone.
I was tempted to get Arsenal onside with a +1.5 start on the Asian Handicap given I think they’ll score but after having a second glance at Arsenal’s defensive stats I’ll swerve it.
The betting angles
Instead I’ll plump for a couple of bigger prices that could give us a run for our money. Firstly I like the look of the 3/1 (SkyBet) on Over 2.5 Goals, Over 10.5 Corners, Over 35 Booking Points. With the goal line set at a flat 3.5 the bookies are expecting the net to burst a lot here. Over 2.5 has landed in the last seven City games and Arsenal’s last six, overs has also copped in nine of the last 11 meetings between the pair.
Interestingly too, this match pits the two side that get the most corners in the league. City are racking up a meaty 9.40 per-game whereas Arsenal average a chunky 7.80. With those stats in what should be a game full of shots I’m happy to take overs on the corners.
As far as cards go, Arsenal are averaging 2.38 cards and have a whole host of tricky individuals on the opposite side who will try drag them out of position they have to be likely candidates for a few bookings here. It’s also worth noting that they tend to pick up more cautions at the Emirates, an average of just under 3.00 per game in fact.
City have also been a dirtier side this season compared to past campaigns. The Blue Moon are racking up 2.00 cards on average this season and tend to take more on the road. The 3/1 is a nice price as the next best I can find for this is 5/2.
Sticking with cards there’s one player that I think is simply too big should he start on Sunday and that is Brazilian striker Gabrielle Martinelli. I’d assume Llungberg will stick with the youngster after his goal on Monday night and if so he can’t be ignored at a bulbous 21/2 to pick up a card.
To be honest, it’s a fairly small sample size but with he’s picked up a yellow in one of his four Europa League starts and in his only Premier League start (last week) he was also booked.
With Martinelli likely to be defending from the front against a City team that monopolise possession he could easily get frustrated and commit a few fouls. Again, it’s not a 100% given that he starts but if he does, odds over 10/1 are simply too big, rival firms have him as short as 9/2 so there has to be some value in that in my eyes.