PREMIER LEAGUE analyst Daniel McCulloch (@DMcCulloch1984) takes a look at Wednesday night's action, picking out his best bets.
Arsenal v Bournemouth | Wednesday 27th February 2019, 19:45
In all truth, I haven’t quite worked out exactly how I feel about Unai Emery’s Arsenal. They do look a little like Arsene Wenger’s side but in fairness to the Spaniard I don’t believe he has had the time to fully stamp his authority on the club, and it was always likely to be a transitional season for the Gunners with the Frenchman having been there for two decades.
What is apparent is that Arsenal are a decent side at home. They’ve beaten Chelsea and Tottenham at The Emirates, managed a deserved draw with Liverpool and generally had little trouble beating sides beneath them in the table. In 10 games against sides from seventh down, they’ve managed 28 points, with only Wolves (who occupy eighth) managing to leave North London with anything to show for their efforts.
With this in mind, the angle I like is Arsenal to win and Under 4.5 Goals to be scored, available at 19/20 with Ladbrokes. This has occurred in eight of the Gunners 10 home games against sides outside the top six. Moreover, going back as far as far as the 2014/2015, this bet will have emerged victorious in 44 of Arsenal’s 66 home matches against this group of sides, suggesting that 1/2 would be a fair price.
Given that this version of Arsenal look very much like the ones in previous seasons, I believe that this is a pretty useful sample to inform your bets.
Bournemouth look fairly safe in mid-table but are really struggling with injuries at the minute, with star striker Callum Wilson among those on the treatment table. They’re generally a decent side to watch but have just two wins in their last 10 matches and I cannot see them getting anything here.
Additionally, since they gained promotion to the Premier League, this bet would have landed you in profit in 15 of their 23 matches away to members of the Big Six.
Manchester City v West Ham | Wednesday 27th February 2019, 20:00
Siding with a side as inconsistent and hard to fathom as West Ham may seem to make little sense but that’s what I am doing on Wednesday, backing the Hammers +2.5 goals on the Asian Handicap line at 10/13 with BetVictor.
This season the East London outfit can claim victories over Arsenal and Manchester United but have also put in some dreadful performances, notably losing 4-2 away to League One’s bottom side Wimbledon while also putting in other listless performances at Wolves and Burnley in recent weeks.
However, as excellent as Manchester City are, I am conscious that they won the League Cup after 120 or so minutes just 72 hours ago and have significant injuries to the likes of Aymeric Laporte, Fernandinho and John Stones, which would deplete any squad, even one as rich in talent as theirs.
I do expect the Citizens to win this encounter, but I anticipate them to do so in a manner that makes my main bet a winner. This season, six of City’s 13 home league games have ended with them winning either 2-1 or 3-1 and since Pep Guardiola took over at The Etihad this statistic reads 20 out of 52.
In this 52 game sample, nine have finished 2-1, suggesting the 10/1 SkyBet are offering is excellent value. However, given that 11 have finished 3-1, including four out of 13 this season, the 11/1 Bet365 are providing on said scoreline looks even more eye-catching.
I expect City to win but believe that their defensive injuries, coupled with the attacking weapons West Ham possess and the aforementioned statistics make these angles a logical proposition.
Arsenal v Bournemouth – Arsenal to win and Under 4.5 Goals (19/20 Ladbrokes)
Manchester City v West Ham – West Ham +2.5 Asian Handicap (10/13 BetVictor)
Manchester City v West Ham – Manchester City to win 2-1 (10/1 SkyBet)
Manchester City v West Ham – Manchester City to win 3-1 (10/1 Bet365)