Best Bets: Arsenal v Sunderland
Arsenal v Sunderland, Premier League, Sunday October 16, 1.30pm (Sky)
On the back of the defeat at Spurs, Arsenal welcome Sunderland to the Emirates on Sunday lunchtime for a fixture in which they kick off as William Hill’s overwhelming 5/11 favourites.
Ordinarily such odds would be wholly understandable and, as Steve Bruce’s men have yet to record an away league victory this season, their 7/1 price to secure a maximum haul also has an air of predictability about it. Yet this has the feel of a transitional phase for the Gunners, hence the appeal of Paddy Power’s sizeable 7/2 marked in favour of it finishing with honours even.
Indeed, the record books appear to support those who favour a draw as four of the pair’s last six meetings have ended all square, although it should be noted that only once in their last five encounters has the away team managed a goal.
Arsenal’s tendency to start slowly cannot be ignored and bet365’s 6/4 for the opening period to finish with the sides on level terms looks very good value. The match draw has also attracted more support than it might have done in previous seasons, as has Victor Chandler’s 8/1 for it to finish 1-1, while Sportingbet’s 14/1 posted against a goalless outcome is sure to catch the eye.
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Other markets appear to take account of Sunderland’s indifferent away form, with Boylesports’ 1/7 about Arsenal winning in the firm’s ‘draw no bet’ market giving the impression that some imagine Sunday’s match will be a straight- forward affair for Arsene Wenger’s charges. However, many at the Emirates would be content to chant ‘one-nil to the Arsenal’ after 90 minutes – a final score priced at 6/1 by Totesport.
In other markets, Robin van Persie is 3/1 (Coral) to open the scoring, though a safer 4/5 (Coral) can be taken about him netting at any stage, while Ladbrokes chalk 7/2 against Arsenal securing three points following a drawn opening half.
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