WEST HAM host Arsenal on Monday night. Matthew Kirby (@M_Kirby95) delivers his betting analysis.
West Ham v Arsenal | Monday 9th December 2019, 20:00 | Sky Sports
Two sides on a poor run of form meet in a London derby on Monday night. With Everton and Watford parting company with their managers, the pressure is mounting on Manuel Pellegrini’s underachievers to deliver.
It’s just one win in nine for West Ham, and although it came at Chelsea, it will have quickly been forgotten with the midweek defeat at Wolves. The Hammers’ expensive summer signings Pablo Fornals and Sebastien Haller are yet to live up to their fees with the latter having a shooting accuracy at 48%.
Meanwhile, there hasn’t been a honeymoon period since Freddie Ljungberg took the reigns on a caretaker basis at Arsenal. A draw at Norwich followed by a home defeat against Brighton sees the Gunners languishing in 10th.
Rotten on the road
At the time of writing, Arsenal are chalked up at 21/20 with Unibet, but they aren’t a side I could trust – not even with stolen money.
The Gunners are on their worst run since 1977 and have just one clean sheet in their last 11 games in all competitions. Plus, they haven’t won away in the league since the opening weekend.
The way Arsenal defeated Newcastle at St James’ Park hinted a bright new era for the capital cub – grinding out an away win, but that proved to be a false dawn. Their defence is porous and lacks leadership. They looked at sixes-and-sevens at times in the Norwich game with David Luiz and Skohdran Mustafi not knowing what the other was doing.
With the strength of Haller leading the line for the Hammers, then that is one area the hosts will look to exploit, so you’d imagine them getting the ball forward as quickly as possible.
If you don’t keep clean sheets, you don’t win football matches. Arsenal’s price looks skinny enough given their record, and the outright market in this one is worth swerving.
Look at set pieces
Only Aston Villa (8) have conceded more goals from set-pieces than West Ham (7), while Arsenal have also conceded (6) from dead balls into their area.
The 6ft 2’ frame of Haller will make him an obvious candidate to get free at a corner, but it’s worth looking towards those defenders who venture forward.
One of those is Fabian Balbuena. He has been in and out of the side but if he starts, he’ll be a threat. The Paraguayan proved that in the 3-2 defeat against Newcastle. The central defender registered five shots in that game and also found the back of the Magpies net.
So far this season, Balbuena has recorded seven shots from six starts, so if Robert Snodgrass finds the perfect delivery, we could see him rise above the Arsenal defence and test Bernd Leno. He’s an appealing price for a shot on target at 4/1 with Betfair, plus he’s 15/8 with Sky Bet to have two shots in the game.
While mentioning Snodgrass, it could be worth looking at the crossing markets with the Scot. He’s recorded 70 from his 10 appearances (seven starts), so an average of seven a game could give some appeal in that market.
In the opposing line-up is David Luiz. He’s not shy to have a pop from distance, plus he does take the occasional free kick. The Brazilian had the ball in the net against Brighton, only for it be to ruled out by VAR for offside, so he is one to consider at 23/10 for a shot on target with Betfair.
Mike in the middle
It would be reminiscent of me not to mention that Mike Dean has the whistle, and the cards, for this one. The bookies know his habits too well, as do we. The usual over one card for each side is best priced 11/10 in the William Hill, which doesn’t look too bad considering the same bet is 8/11 with Sky Bet.
Backing players to be cautioned is team news dependent and both sides have a list of candidates to go off. Issa Diop is usually high on the list and he’s likely to return from suspension – he’s committed 17 fouls for his five yellows.
Five players come into this game one yellow away from a suspension. They are Ryan Fredericks, Calum Chambers, Matteo Guendouzi, Sokratis and Granit Xhaka.
Full-back’s and defensive midfielders do tend to be cautioned with Dean in charge, so don’t rule out Aaron Cresswell. He was booked in the defeat at Wolves and could have a tricky evening against Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and one of Callum Chambers or Hector Bellerin at right-back.
There’s a 5/1 quote with Unibet for Cresswell to pick up a card, which does look a bit of a knockout price.