Neither Arsenal or Wolves have been in peak form this season, and Alan Dudman believes the visitors can take something from Sunday's game at the Emirates...
"Arsenal don't offer a lot of penetration and have scored just one goal in their last five PL games."
Arsenal v Wolves
Sunday 29th November, kick-off 19:15
Live on Sky Sports Premier League and Main Event
Will Arteta budge and move Auba inside?
The Gunners breezed past Molde for the second time in the Europa League on Thursday and played with a bit more freedom with four attackers as the shackles were released. But the overriding view of Arsenal under Mikel Arteta is whilst defensively they may have been shored up, they struggle for goals in the Premier League and are unlikely to carve teams open with their glaring lack of penetration.
However way you slice the stats, and there are plenty of them regarding the paucity of goals, it keeps coming back to a team that have scored just nine in nine. And with Arteta often favouring a stifling game with the counter-attack on the road, they are in danger of becoming, well a bit dull.
If he persists in using captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the left, I can't see this changing. As my colleague Kevin Hatchard pointed out on this week's Football Only Bettor podcast, he was more effective down the middle in the Bundesliga. Maybe Arteta is just plain stubborn?
Arsenal fans might have some pre-xmas cheer if midfielder Thomas Partey is fit enough for Saturday. The 27yo Ghanian gives Arsenal a bit more drive and control and has looked a class act. Willian could also return from a calf strain.
Defence the bedrock for solid Wolves start
Whilst Arsenal are rebuilding, Wolves are undergoing something of an evolution process since losing some of the big names. However, if we are judging Nuno Espirito Santo's team over the last nine months, they have been excellent. Defensively they like a clean sheet and have kept 13 in the calendar year - which is more than any other team in the Premier League.
That record ties in with goals conceded in the league this season, as only Spurs have shipped in fewer.
With Arsenal playing on the Thursday and the extra day in Norway due to the fog restricting their flight plans, Wolves have enjoyed a clear week to prepare following last Monday's 1-1 draw with Southampton. That could turn out to be a good point as the Saints are improving, even though Wolves lacked a cutting edge. That has been the case in a few of their games this season, so it isn't surprising. Raul Jiminez was isolated for long periods in that, so it's an issue that will need to be addressed.
Wolves are in ninth and should have skipper Conor Coady available following a period of self-isolation. He missed the Saints game which ended a run of 84 matches ever-present in the team.
Once again to refer you to this week's podcast, as Kev was astonished to find Arsenal trading at around 2.186/5. I share his thoughts, it's a poor price, as I had chalked them up in my head on the Monday at around 2.35/4 to 2.47/5. Whilst the latter might be a bit on the generous side from me, I think that's a fair reflection as to where Arsenal are at the moment. And one thing we should never do is take a price shorter than we believe a team should be.
By Friday evening the Gunners had gone to 2.226/5, a tiny drift perhaps due to the flight problems?
With neither in peak form the outright back of the draw could come under some pressure before kick-off on Sunday at odds from 3.45. However, I am leaning towards getting the draw onside but taking a hit on the odds with the Double Chance at around 2.26/5.
With Arteta favouring the 3-4-3/4-3-3 counter-attack, there's every chance the two could play similar styles and just cancel each other out. I like the draw, but I also prefer to have two running.
All roads lead to few goals. Therefore you won't be spitting out your cornflakes in shock that the Under 2.5 trades at 1.645/8. Arsenal don't have a lot of penetration and have scored just one goal in their last five PL games, whilst Wolves as I outlined previously, have a knack for keeping a clean sheet and have two on the road this season. Whilst it's an obvious bet, I don't really enjoy backing or tipping something at 1.645/8.
The Under 1.5 is an obvious alternative at a healthier 2.942/1, but there isn't a lot of margin for error with that, especially with an early goal conceded. The Correct Score trade to half-time could yield a nice green book given Wolves tend not to score in the first-half. The 0-0 starts at 9.28/1.
Using a similar plan with the SAME GAME MULTI on the SPORTSBOOK; backing the Half Time Draw at 10/11 and Under 2.5 at 8/13 pays out 2.55.
With just two goals in 807 minutes and just one in his last eight, Aubameyang at 2.26/5 in the To Score market is not quite the "go-to" bet that he has been for the majority of his career. Layers of this bet recently have done well, and they were the smart ones latching onto the Gabonese forward marooned out on the left. It really makes no sense to force him out wide, and whilst I understand the press higher up the pitch for Arteta, the best needs to be up front.
If you are looking to Jiminez, he has 32% of Wolves' goals since promotion and four this term, and he can be backed at 3.02/1 in the same market.
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Alan Dudman's 2020 Premier League P&L