Arsenal v Wolves | Saturday 2nd November 2019, 15:00
Arsenal appear to be unable to write a positive headline for themselves at the moment. They somehow let a two goal lead at home to Crystal Palace slip last weekend and also got knocked out of the EFL Cup by Liverpool despite scoring five goals.
Granit Xhaka’s reaction to abuse from home supporters has been the biggest story of the week but I actually believe that does Arsenal a disservice. While the North London side have been anything other than convincing this season it should be noted that on any other week of this season Crystal Palace would not have got a penalty and Arsenal would not have had a – perfectly good – goal disallowed.
While I recognise that the stats haven’t been great for Unai Emery’s side, I do believe that Arsenal have one of the best four teams in the Premier League. Kieran Tierney is now fully fit and he has impressed in pretty much every appearance for his new club, while Hector Bellerin is also close to a full return and Mesut Ozil may well get a – deserved – start in this game.
Much has been made of Wolves’s record against the Big Six but it is a relatively small sample size (they have lost just five of their 15 matches against these sides) and overall The Molinuex outfit don’t look as convincing as they did last term. Their record this season reads W2-D6-L2 and the underlying numbers suggest that 12 points is a fair return given their performances to date.
Willy Boly has been their best centre back in the Premier League but with the Frenchman out for a considerable period, I think Wolves look more susceptible at the back.
I believe Arsenal will win the game but like the look of a home victory and Under 4.5 Goals at 23/20 with Coral. Since Wolves’s most recent promotion just four of their 48 matches have seen five goals or more but more pertinently, under Unai Emery’s guidance at Arsenal this bet has obliged in 13 of their 24 home league games. That suggests to me that 23/20 is excellent value.
West Ham v Newcastle | Saturday 2nd November 2019, 15:00
I backed West Ham at home to Sheffield United last weekend and while that bet did not oblige, I will return to East London with confidence this Saturday.
The Hammers certainly created plenty of chances against the South Yorkshire side and I expect them to be similarly expansive here against a side that fail create week after week.
Newcastle have lost the xG battle in every game this season and while victories against Tottenham and Manchester United will have created lifelong memories for their fanbase, it is their performances against the rest of the league that is so concerning.
Without repeating the views I expressed last weekend, it is concerning that they’ve faced Brighton, Watford and Wolves at home and been slightly fortunate to have drawn all three matches.
Newcastle have scored just six goals this term and the underlying stats suggest that that is more than fair. The simple truth is that while they’ve generally been competitive this season, they create fewer chances than any other side in this division.
West Ham remain inconsistent and while I am concerned that they failed to beat both Crystal Palace and Sheffield United at home this season I do believe that there is a gulf in quality between these two sides and also feel that one point from those two games does not reflect the chances created in those encounters.
I like West Ham at 5/6 in the outright market, but I always look for an inflated price and Boylesports’ 8/5 on a home victory and Under 3.5 Goals to be scored certainly ticks that box.
Between them, just six of their 20 league matches have seen four goals or more scored and that includes games against Liverpool, Manchester City and Leicester (when Newcastle were down to ten men for almost an hour and lost 5-0).
I see West Ham winning this game 1-0 or 2-0 but this bet ensures that a few more scorelines are on our side.
Arsenal v West Ham – Arsenal to win and Under 4.5 Goals (23/20 Coral)
West Ham v Newcastle – West Ham to win and Under 3.5 Goals (8/5 Boylesports)