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Opta Previews: Gunners must address poor Britannia record

Expect defences to be on top at the Stadium of Light this Saturday.

Since being knocked out of the FA Cup Sunderland’s form has tapered off and they have now not scored in their last 405 minutes of Premier League football.

Jaymes Monte looks at the Opta stats and picks out his best bets from three of this Saturday's 3 o'clock kick-offs...

Sunderland v Bolton, KO: Saturday 1500 BST, Match Odds: Sunderland 2.0621/20, Bolton 4.1n/a, The Draw 3.65n/a
Martin O'Neill will tell us, as will most managers in charge of mid-table sides, that Sunderland are just looking to finish as high up the league as possible. I don't doubt his integrity and I'm sure that is their goal, but it appears that attentions have already turned to next season at the Stadium of Light.

Sebastian Larsson and Kieran Richardson have both been allowed to undergo surgery that could have waited until the end of the season; in the case of the Swede, the decision was made in order to give him a chance of playing in Euro 2012.

Since being knocked out of the FA Cup Sunderland's form has tapered off and they have now not scored in their last 405 minutes of Premier League football; a run that includes three 0-0 draws and a 4-0 loss at Everton.

However, Bolton's record against Sunderland is miserable. The Trotters have lost each of their last five meetings and have failed to score on their two previous visits to the Stadium of Light.

The Match Odds market looks one to avoid but, given Sunderland's dire goal scoring record and Bolton's inability to find the net on Wearside of late, the 2.01/1 available on Under 2.5 goals looks way too big.

Everton v Fulham, KO: Saturday 1500 BST, Match Odds: Everton 1.910/11, Fulham 4.84/1, The Draw 3.711/4
If Manchester City go on to win this season's Premier League title Roberto Mancini will certainly owe David Moyes and his Everton players a few pints by way of thanks. The Toffees could have been forgiven for going to Old Trafford last week and rolling over once 3-1 and 4-2 behind, but their professionalism and desire were evident for all to see.

Which is why, although this could be interpreted as a meaningless end of season mid-table kickabout, it could still turn out to be a decent, if not intense, game.

Our Opta stats tell us that Moyes has a particularly impressive record against Fulham. Everton have won all 10 of their Premier League home games against The Cottagers, and won six of the last eight meetings in all competitions, including a 2-1 victory at Goodison Park in the FA Cup earlier this season.

The last three meetings on Merseyside have all ended with a 2-1 scoreline in favour of the home team - odds of 9.28/1 can be backed for that to become four in a row.

My best bet of the match, however, is the 2.47/5 on Nikica Jelavic to score anytime. The former Rangers striker has six goals in as many Premier League starts since joining Everton and has all the makings of being a top player in the division for years to come.

Stoke v Arsenal, KO: Saturday 1500 BST, Match Odds: Stoke 4.67/2, Arsenal 1.910/11, The Draw 3.7511/4
Arsenal's record at The Britannia Stadium is fairly poor, with Stoke having won three of the previous four meetings on the banks of the Trent. It's a statistic that they must address this weekend as the importance of finishing this season inside the Premier League top three intensifies due to Chelsea's potential Champions League success.

Peter Crouch is the man they need to look out for as our Opta stats tell us that the striker has scored six Premier League goals against Arsenal over the years. Only Blackburn have suffered his wrath on more occasions and it is 3.55/2 that he scores against the Gunners this weekend.

Four of the last five meetings between the teams have ended 3-1, while six of the eight since Stoke's promotion have produced more than 2.5 goals. Over 2.5 goals is available to back at odds of 2.0421/20 this Saturday and looks to be the best bet of the fixture based on the stats at hand.

Best Bet:
Back Under 2.5 goals @ 2.01/1 in Sunderland v Bolton
Recommended Bets:
Back Over 2.5 goals @ 2.0421/20 in Stoke v Arsenal
Back Nikica Jelavic to score @ 2.47/5

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27 April 2012

Premier League

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