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Lee Dixon: Entertainment expected at the Emirates as Arsenal meet City

Can Theo score again?

"We could be in for an entertaining game here but when the whistle blows it'll be honours even. That's not much good for either side in the long run but it should round off the weekend nicely."

Back the draw @ 3.55n/a 

But it'll all end in a frustrating point apiece for the managers, says Lee Dixon, as he looks at the concluding match of Super Sunday...

The chaps at Betfair showed me some independent research of my tipping record and it seems that I enjoy my best Match Odds results when betting on Arsenal - who'd have thought it?! 

(editor's note: our last investigation of Lee's entire season long tipping record showed him to be nearly £400 in profit on bets up to the Christmas period). 

I guess it's what you'd expect. Most people would assume that I know more about Arsenal than any other Premier League team - and they'd be right!  

Of course, I'm not in the dressing room at Arsenal anymore but I still have friends there and I speak to the physio quite a lot. There's no doubt I take more interest in their results as a supporter as well as being an ex-player and now a TV analyst. To me it makes sense that I call the results right more often than not - though I notice that Mark Lawrenson's tipping record with Liverpool is woeful. Go figure! 

Anyway let's try to extend that good record with a look at Sunday's game at The Emirates. 
Looking at the match odds market, this perhaps isn't the ideal weekend to pick a result. Betfair customers are finding it hard to pick a winner with Arsenal and City almost identically priced around 2.89/5 and the draw at 3.55n/a.

At the prices, the stalemate has to be the bet with the game taking place in London. Though City are gamely pursuing United at the top of the table and Arsenal are not far off the Champions League qualification places and have made the last-16 in that competition, neither team is having the season they wanted or expected.

There two are hard to split. Both are struggling for consistency and have shown weaknesses at times but are capable of putting on a strong performance. I imagine both will score - a 1.68/13 chance on Betfair - but that after 90 minutes this will be level. If I had to pick one scoreline it would be 2-2.

In Sergio Aguero's absence, Edin Dzeko will lead the City attack and that will please the Arsenal defence who will know that cutting off the supply lines will do much to nullify his threat. I'm not underplaying the Bosnian. I think he can be really dangerous, but as a former defender I would prefer to see Dzeko in the opposition lineup over the unpredictable Aguero. 

A more likely goalscorer for the visitors comes in the form of Carlos Tevez. He is one of my favourite players and I think he'll enjoy The Emirates. It's new, big and expansive; you walk in there and think it's really nice! It's not as intimidating as old stadiums.    

Theo Walcott has dominated much of the Arsenal chat in recent months and at the time of publishing still hasn't signed a new contract. I hope he does soon, because there are signs that he is settling into the central role and I think he's becoming a real threat. OK, he's not Thierry Henry, but the way he makes his own space reminds me of my former team-mate. 

We could be in for an entertaining game here but when the whistle blows it'll be honours even. That's not much good for either side in the long run but it should round off the weekend nicely. 

Recommended Bets 
Back the draw @ 3.55n/a
Back 2-2 final score @ 15.014/1 
Back Theo Walcott to score @ 3.55/2 or above (if he starts)

***

Special Offer:

Get up to £50 Cashback if Cazorla or Tevez scores last!

If Tevez or Cazorla scores last in the match we'll refund first losing Fixed Odds bets on correct score, first goalscorer or last goalscorer.


The Tactical View: Michael Cox

"Arsenal versus Manchester City is consistently a dull Premier League fixture - since Roberto Mancini took charge of City, the results have been 0-0, 0-0 and 1-0 in this game. And in the 1-0, the deadlock was broken after 87 minutes. Mancini will be more adventurous than usual - David Silva hasn't yet started for him at the Emirates - but I think this will be a game of patience, so a half-time 0-0 at 3.6 looks good to me."

The Betfair Trader's View: Alan Thompson

"Lee has done well with Arsenal this season but for me they are one of the more difficult sides in the league to predict. Even in terms of goals it’s either feast or famine with four of their nine home games finishing over 5.5 goals and four under 2.5 goals. These games have produced an average of 4.22 goals per game at the Emirates but the numbers are heavily distorted by freak results. City, meanwhile, have only conceded 19 goals so far this campaign; the joint lowest (with Chelsea) in the league.

"I suspect this will be light on goals. Arsenal have been drawing at halftime in six of their nine home games and City have recorded the same halftime outcome in seven of their 10 away trips. I’m going to be backing the draw at halftime at nothing shorter than 2.34 in the Half Time market."

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13 January 2013

Premier League

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