Premier League Betting, Liverpool v Arsenal
Back Arsenal to win @ [3.7];
Back Over 2.5 goals @ [2.0];
Lay 9 Pts and above @ [2.2] in Bookings Odds
Media attention has surrounded the injury concerns of both sides' star strikers in recent weeks; one of them is likely to return for this important top of the table clash but Jaymes Monte doesn't believe it will be enough to stem the tide. Best bet: Back Arsenal to win @ [3.7].
After the defeat against Chelsea two weeks ago Arsene Wenger refused write off his sides title chances, but a loss at Anfield this weekend would surely force him to reassess.
Their struggle to find the back of the net since Robin van Persie's injury has been well documented and another three points dropped against a struggling Liverpool side would certainly leave Arsenal with an uphill battle in their quest for the Premier League title.
Wenger has the luxury of being able to recall Alex Song, who is available again following suspension, and both Eduardo and Abou Diaby are also expected to shake off knocks which kept them out of the Stoke game. Nicklas Bendtner and Thomas Rosicky remain sidelined until the New Year.
Football matters may be decidedly gloomy on Merseyside at present but there is cause for optimism on the injury front for Liverpool fans. Alberto Aquilani made his long awaited first start for the club in midweek defeat against Fiorentina whilst Fernando Torres's appearance from the bench is expected to have shown enough to mean he makes the starting 11 this weekend.
The match odds market for this game has Liverpool at a surprisingly short [2.24] whilst Arsenal are available at [3.7] and the draw at [3.4].
Those prices shocked me a little given Liverpool's recent form and I would say it is an overreaction to the contrasting injury status of each side's star striker. Arsenal still have a plethora of match winners in their team including Cesc Fabregas and Andrei Arshavin and are more than capable of taking something from the game. Backing Arsenal at [3.7] looks to be a stand out value bet.
It seems that punters can't make their mind up on the Over/Under 2.5 goals market as each selection is poised at the [2.0] mark. For me the Overs has to be the one to back even allowing for Arsenal's recent lack of prowess in front of goal and especially if Torres is involved from the start. A draw won't particularly suit either side meaning we should see a decidedly open affair.
This fixture last season produced one of the most memorable games in the history of the Premier League ending in a thrilling 4-4 draw. That match will be forever remembered for the contributions of a man who goes by the nickname of 'the little Russian' and I wouldn't bet against him stealing the show again this weekend. He got the first of the game last week and is available at around [8.0] to be the first goal scorer and [3.4] to get his name on the score sheet at any time in this game.
That game was officiated by Howard Webb who had cause to reach for his cards on just one occasion; he will also take charge of this game. Webb is one of the most respected referees in the game and often prefers a stern word with players before deciding to issue a card, which for me means a lay of '9 pts and above' in the Bookings Odds market at around the [2.2] mark would be a wise play.
Liverpool will hope that their win over Everton was the turning point to what has been a disastrous season so far, but the result masked the realities of yet another poor performance and it will take a great deal of improvement for them to get the win they need here.