Arsenal v Wolves
Saturday November 2, 15:00
A turbulent week for The Gunners
Arsenal have dominated domestic football news this week as the fall-out from Granit Xhaka's outburst against Palace rumbled on, with the club captain waiting until Thursday to offer a statement. Briefly, there was positivity as Mesut Ozil made only his third start of the campaign - playing very well against Liverpool in the astounding 5-5 draw against the Reds - but the cup tie was notable for Arsenal twice giving up leads before going out on penalties. Jose Mourinho is now rumoured to be the next man in should Unai Emery get the boot (the Spaniard is third favourite to be the next top-flight manager out of a job).
Emery has plenty of big calls to make for Saturday's game against Wolves. Does Xhaka play - and is he still captain? Has Ozil done enough to at least get a place on the bench? Will Gabriel Martinelli be rewarded with a first Premier League start following some impressive cup performances?
All those decisions will be even more under the microscope than usual as Emery is a man under pressure. The Gunners are still fifth in the table, but they have won just one of their last four league matches, and two of their last eight.
Wolves on the up despite Cup defeat
Wolves also exited the Carabao Cup on Wednesday evening, as they went down 2-1 at Aston Villa. That result ended a run of eight games unbeaten in all competitions - a spell that included an away win at Manchester City.
Nuno Espírito Santo rested his first team players for the trip to Villa Park during the week, so I wouldn't be too concerned by the defeat. The likes of Raul Jimenez will be back in the XI at the Emirates, with the Mexican now showing the level of form he achieved last year.
Following a slow start to the season, Wolves are up to 12th, but with just six points covering the teams from fifth (Arsenal) to 17th (Newcastle), a good or a bad run can still have a huge effect on their league position, going into the festive period.
Tight game expected
The hosts are the odds-on favourites for this match, with their price currently being around the [1,82] mark on the Betfair Exchange.
Unai Emery's side are yet to lose in front of their own fans this term, but their win record in the league isn't overly great. They have won three and drawn two, and they have only faced one of the perceived top six clubs.
The visitors are priced up at 4.84/1 at time of writing, but they have recorded just one league victory away from Molineux this season. They have only been beaten once too though, and that was a narrow 3-2 reverse at Everton, back on September 1st.
Draw backers have odds of 3.953/1 available to them, and for me, that is the bet I would make out of the three. As mentioned, Arsenal have drawn 40% of their league games at the Emirates this season, and Wolves have shared the spoils in 60% of their ones away.
This fixture last year also finished all square - a 1-1 draw - and under Espírito Santo, Wolves have reserved their best performances for the better teams in the division.
A lay of the home team is an option for those who want the away win and draw on their side.
Don't expect a glut of goals
The Betfair Layers are expecting at least three goals in this match, as Over 2.5 is at 1.768/11 on the Betfair Exchange, while the Under is 2.285/4.
There are contrasting stats for the teams involved in this regard, as the Gunners have had 4/5 at the Emirates finish with at least three goals this season, while the visitors have had 4/5 away from Molineux go Under 2.5.
I expect Wolves to soak up plenty of pressure in this game - especially early on - and look to hit Arsenal on the break. That worked for Crystal Palace here last Sunday, and it certainly worked for Wolves at the Etihad a month ago.
Out of the two, I definitely favour a low-scoring affair, at the prices. I also have some slight concerns about the form of Arsenal's main marksman, as Opta tells us that having scored seven goals in his first seven Premier League games this season, Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has failed to score in his last three in the competition.
The beauty of the Betfair Exchange is that you can make a profit by backing or laying a selection that doesn't even end up happening.
Trading a market can be a very profitable betting tactic - read more here and there is an opportunity for it in this fixture.
As the goal-markets are favouring a high-scoring game, the price of 0-0 as a Correct Score is rather large. It can be backed at 17.016/1, and while I am not suggesting that this match is destined to finish goalless, I am not convinced that there will be a glut of goals either.
If we can avoid an early goal, the odds of 0-0 will come tumbling down, and we can lock in a guaranteed profit by trading our bet.
For example, we put £10 0-0 at 17.016/1, giving us a profit of £160 for that scoreline and a loss of £10 on any other scoreline. If the game is still 0-0 at half-time, the 0-0 will be much shorter - let's use 8.515/2 in this instance. We can either trade out our position completely and level out our profit on all possible scorelines - much like a Cash Out on the Sportsbook - or we can just take back our £10 stake and have a book that's +£80 on the 0-0 or £0 on the other scorelines. You can also do values in-between.