Arsenal v West Ham: Take Gunners to overcome handicap

Arsenal manager Unai Emery
Unai Emery's side created plenty of chances last week v Chelsea

Arsenal have a strong record for covering a one-goal handicap at home and can repeat the trick against West Ham, says Andy Schooler.

"Eleven of Arsenal's 15 home wins last season were by two or more goals."

Back Arsenal (-1) @ 10/11 (Sportsbook)

Arsenal v West Ham
Saturday 15:00 BST

Anxious times for both clubs

Have we already entered must-not-lose territory?

There will be two anxious managers on the touchline at the Emirates on Saturday, both knowing defeat will mean their season has begun with three straight losses.

That's unacceptable for a club of Arsenal's stature, and unacceptable for one for another which has spent an awful lot of money in the transfer market this summer.

Maybe that makes the draw value in the win-draw-lose market at 5.85/1 and it will certainly tempt some.

Yet, of what we've seen so far, the better play has come from Unai Emery's Arsenal, who have had the misfortune of having to play the last two champions - Manchester City and Chelsea - in their opening two fixtures.

Though well beaten by City, there were some encouraging signs, while on another day they could easily have won at Stamford Bridge. The Gunners created a number of chances - high-quality ones too - and surely if those come their way again in this game they are unlikely to be so profligate.

Arsenal's woes of last season (and beyond) at the back have, however, continued and that has been their biggest problem thus far.

Errors at the back

However, if Arsenal have issues at the back, so do West Ham - and boss Manuel Pellegrini knows it, bemoaning defensive errors last weekend. They shipped four at Anfield (no disgrace perhaps but better had definitely been expected) and losing a lead at home to Bournemouth, who scored two preventable goals, has put them under pressure heading around the North Circular.

For those players who aren't new to the club, the trip will provide plenty of unhappy memories - the Hammers have an awful record there and against Arsenal in general, losing 17 of the last 22 against these opponents.

Perhaps that more than anything explains why Arsenal are so short to win - 1.384/11. West Ham are 9.617/2 for the upset.

Stats say: Expect goals

Over 2.5 goals - 1.454/9 - also looks short at first glance but when you consider the stats, it's with good reason.

In 10 of the last 13 league meetings between these two, Arsenal have managed over 2.5 on their own.

Meanwhile, 79 per cent of league games (15 of 19) at this stadium last season broke 2.5 goals with 10 of the 19 seeing over 3.5. That's 2.1211/10 on this occasion.

Handicap appeal

While over goals is tempting, turning to Arsenal on the handicaps makes more appeal.

Giving up a one-goal start, they've covered in six of the last eight league meetings between the sides at the Emirates.

Eleven of their 15 home wins last season were by two or more goals and they beat every team which finished below them.

On the flip side, West Ham struggled against the top sides, conceding four at Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Everton, while five of their six losses to teams finishing in the top half were by at least three goals.

OK, much has changed at both clubs over the summer but parallels can still be drawn. Arsenal lost at home to City 3-0 last term; it was 2-0 earlier this month. As for the Hammers, they've already shipped four at Liverpool again.

If Arsenal can cut Chelsea open time and again at Stamford Bridge, then they are more than capable of repeating the trick at home to West Ham. Yes, the Hammers will likely sit deeper but Arsenal are well equipped to pass through teams - many have come to the Emirates and tried to defend over the years and been dismissed, often worn down in the second half due to the relentlessness of the hosts' ability to keep probing with the ball.

Emery is trying to change Arsenal for the better but old habits die hard, as the defence has shown. Now looks like the time for the attacking players to do the same.

Same Game Multi

Over 3.5 goals and both teams to score could be worth a play when building your own bet with Sam Game Multi.

The stats above show Arsenal home games usually deliver goals, while their defensive issues have been prevalent in their two games so far - they've already conceded five times.

Opta stat

Arsenal have lost one of their last 22 matches against West Ham in all competitions (W17 D4), losing 2-0 on the opening day of the 2015/16 season.

Click here for previews of the other Premier League games this weekend.

Andy Schooler's P/L, 2018/19

Staked: 4pts
Returned: 3.75pts
P/L: -0.25pts

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