West Brom are unlikely to put up much resistance to Arsenal on Sunday lunchtime, thinks Luke Moore, who fancies the Gunners to put together another decent performance at home and secure Champions League football next year...
"Arsenal don't concede many at all at home, and they're sure to have the lion's share of possession. I don't see Sunday's away side scoring, to be perfectly honest, but I wonder if they can keep Arsenal at bay for a decent period of the game."
Arsenal v West Brom
Sunday May 4, 13:30
Live on Sky Sports 1
The Gunners are now pretty much guaranteed to finish fourth in the Premier League after a convincing win over an ailing Newcastle on Monday night. Everton slipped up in a bad way at Southampton and are now four points behind Arsene Wenger's men. That said, Wenger and his charges won't want to risk any final day drama, so it's important they do a professional job against a West Brom side who are now probably safe from relegation.
Arsenal are still suffering from a huge number of injuries, and Bacary Sagna, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Kieran Gibbs are all likely to join long-term injury sufferers Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere and Abou Diaby on the sidelines.
West Brom all but secured their Premier League status last week with a nervy 1-0 win over West Ham, and one more point from their remaining three games should see them a top-flight side again next season. It's been a funny year for the Baggies; Pepe Mel has come in and struggled, stuttered and flattered to deceive, and assuming they stick with him long-term, his real work will start this summer.
Mel's men are actually in reasonable form, they've won three of their last seven. They know a trip to the Emirates will be tough though, and it'll be a job very well done if that point they need for safety comes on Sunday lunchtime.
Arsenal, who have only lost once at home in the league this season (on the opening day to Aston Villa), are obviously huge favourites for this tie, currently trading at 1.292/7. As I said in my preview of their game against Newcastle last week, it's not a bet of value unless you want to pile on at big stakes to buy a bit of money.
West Brom are trading at a big-looking 13.5; as I've already said, they've won three of their last seven. However, winning against Arsenal away is a different kettle of fish to Swansea, Norwich and West Ham and I think the price, although big, is probably about par.
The Draw is currently available at 6.411/2, which is not a terrible look if you fancy Mel's men to frustrate their hosts early on before looking to trade after half an hour or so.
Over/Under 2.5 Goals
Two of West Brom's last three have been big scorers, and six of Arsenal's last seven have also gone over 2.5 goals. It was a case of 'score how many you want' against a flat Newcastle United side last time out for the Gunners, but West Brom were desperate for a vital second goal against the Hammers and couldn't find one.
Arsenal don't concede many at all at home, and they're sure to have the lion's share of possession. I don't see Sunday's away side scoring, to be perfectly honest, but I wonder if they can keep Arsenal at bay for a decent period of the game. Over/Under 2.5 Goals is a borderline shout for that reason, and 1.574/7 for Overs doesn't really appeal.
If you do indeed think Arsenal will be frustrated you can back Unders at a pretty big-looking 2.747/4.
I don't like the price on Overs, but Arsenal are a decent side in May; Opta tell us that they're the team with the most points won in May in the history of the Premier League. West Brom, on the other hand, don't tend to fare so well at this stage of the season - just three of the 20 they've played in May have resulted in wins.
On balance, a reasonably easy home win is the course of action to take here and Arsenal-1 should become available at around 1.855/6ish when the market firms up. I like the look of that bet; Arsenal are unlikely to concede and so would need to score just twice for the bet to pay out, something they've done easily in each of their last three games.
Arsenal Win Both Halves
Arsene Wenger's men have won their last four halves of football, fairly easily. Put simply, they're in excellent form especially at home. I don't really think West Brom are a better side than Newcastle or Hull either, and so this could represent a nice angle.
Arsenal winning both halves should become available at around 2.89/5 or better between now and kick off and I'd fully recommend getting on at that price.
Back Arsenal-1 at 1.855/6
Back Arsenal Win Both Halves at 2.89/5 or better
Luke Moore's 2013/14 P/L (1pt per bet)