ARSENAL host Manchester United on New Year's night. We asked Tom Love (@TomLove_18) to source the best bets from the Premier League encounter.
Arsenal v Manchester United | Wednesday 1st January 2020, 20:00 | BT Sport
Two serial underachievers of recent times meet at the Emirates for the New Year's night fixture. Gone are the crunch ties of Keane vs Viera and Keown vs Van Nistelrooy though; these two are miles of competing for titles and it’s difficult to imagine them troubling the duopoly that is Liverpool and Manchester City anytime soon.
Arsenal, incredibly, have won just once in their last 12 games. It’s not like they’ve been unlucky either, the data shows that this is a team that allows a mammoth amount of chances against them and you’re not going to get anywhere with a disgraceful defence like they have. Punters may be surprised to see the Gunners as outsiders in this one but on current form there’s zero chance they should be.
I’ve found it hard to get United onside this season too, especially when they’re favourites. However, you could easily see the pace of the in-form Marcus Rashford, Dan James and Anthony Martial causing havoc against the likes of David Luiz and Shrokdan Mustafi. I’d have more faith in the Red Devils getting a result here but leaving the outrights alone might be the best way to go.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer saw his side pick up their first clean sheet since September in Saturday’s visit to Turf Moor. Defensively they’re still gettable though, especially against decent attacks so the chances of goals at both ends have to be fancied.
For all Arsenal’s defensive ineptitude, they always pose a threat at the other end. The Gunners have scored in 13 of their last 16 games in all competitions and they’ve only drawn a blank once at the Emirates and that was against the champions, Manchester City.
The betting angles
Both Teams To Score looks a great bet here all things considered but 8/15 quotes are not backable so I’ll use Bet365’s BetBuilder feature and throw in Both Teams to have Over 0 Cards which gives us a much more attractive 20/21 quote.
Man Utd are averaging just over two cards per-game in the league whereas Arsenal have picked up a gigantic 51 cards in their 20 games, an average of over 2.50 cards per-game. Given the historic rivalry I’d be very surprised if we don’t see at least a card for both teams.
I’m also happy to dip into the Player Passes market as I’ve noticed a trend since Unai Emery was unceremoniously dumped out of North London. Arsenal have decided to try control games a bit more and I’m not sure the bookies have caught on yet. They averaged 57% possession at Everton and 61% at Bournemouth.
True, they did lose the possession battle against Chelsea but they were in the lead for that for a long time against another side that wants the ball.
We all know how United are most dangerous at soaking up pressure and hitting teams on the break with swift transitions. I can envisage a game where the visitors are happy to leave the hosts centre halves to pass between them but then press when the ball goes into full backs or midfield to give them a run at the shoddy centre halves.
I recently went in on David Luiz in the passing markets at Goodison Park because his price looked too big against a team that were more than happy to let them have it in non-threatening areas. The Brazilian racked up 75 attempted passes in that game, completing 65. He then went on to record 86 attempted passes at Bournemouth, with 75 of those finding his man.
SkyBet seem to have learned their lesson since then and priced him up relatively prohibitively. That being said, Coral also offer passing markets on their Build Your Bet feature and whereas Sky only pay out on completed passes, Coral pay out on attempted passes too so we have a bit more on our side.
He’s 10/11 to attempt 50+ passes and that’s landed in his last four games in all competitions and given Mikel Arteta is now at the helm it looks like he could implement a few Pep methods in terms of keeping the ball and dominating the game.
I’m also happy to back 65+ passes for Luiz at 4/1 with the same firm, if United sit off and try play on the break I think it will give you a great run for your money. Given he’s only 6/5 to complete 60+ passes with SkyBet and we can get 4/1 on a bet that also includes misplaced passes then I think we are onto something good here.
I’d try get on quick mind because they’re notorious at cutting prices in these markets if it sees a flurry of bets.