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Southampton v Arsenal: your best bets

PUBLISHED: 07:20 26 January 2017

Ryan Bertrand celebrates his goal in Southampton's League Cup victory against Arsenal earlier in the season

Ryan Bertrand celebrates his goal in Southampton's League Cup victory against Arsenal earlier in the season

Archant

While the competition’s appeal has been undermined by the demands of broadcasters, who insist upon the fourth round being split over four days, the FA Cup still stirs passions among supporters.

Arsenal, who came from behind to beat Preston 2-1 in the third round, face another awkward assignment at St Mary’s on Saturday where, according to the match stats team at bettingexpert.com, many punters anticipate a home win.

Their higher league position accounts for the Gunners’ starting price of 11/10 (bet365), but Southampton (11/4, Skybet) – who knocked Arsenal out of the EFL Cup earlier this season – will provide the sternest of tests. Accordingly, the likelihood of this tie heading to a replay (13/5, BetVictor.com) looks worthy of further consideration.

Should the game’s first goal arrive early, it could develop into an entertaining contest and Arsenal are 4/5 with 888sport to score the opener. William Hill chalk 2/1 about the tie’s opening strike arriving inside the first 15 minutes and Paddy Power offer 3/1 against Arsenal leading 1-0 as the teams disappear for their half-time cuppa.

Such a plausible scenario would shorten the odds against the second half being the higher-scoring of the two, and punters who foresee the tie developing in this manner may fancy the look of Betway’s even money for the second 45 minutes to yield more goals than the first.

Arsenal should, on paper, have too much for their opponents and progress to the fifth round. They are 11/5 at Ladbrokes to lead at the end of both halves, and punters expecting a straightforward victory may fancy Marathonbet’s 15/2 for the Gunners to win 2-1, or Unibet’s 14/1 for them to triumph 3-1.

Meanwhile, Arsenal are 15/2 (Winner.com) to win the FA Cup – odds that could shorten markedly following Saturday’s duel.

Odds courtesy of customisable odds comparison site SmartBets.com. Make sure you’re getting the best free tips online at www.bettingexpert.com.

TOP TIPS

Arsenal to score first: 4/5, 888sport

Arsenal to win by two or more goals: 11/4, Marathonbet

Arsenal to win and retain a clean sheet: 21/10, Matchbook.com

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