Arsenal to be gunned down by Fulham?
What are we to make of Arsenal? Leaving aside their transfer market frustrations, Arsene Wenger’s men continue to perplex both fans and punters, who at the moment haven’t got a clue how they are going to perform out there on the pitch from one game to the next.
Aston Villa at home looked a comfortable enough introduction to the new season, especially after Oliver Giroud had netted in the opening few minutes, but then it all went pear-shaped and Arsenal are immediately playing catch-up with their five biggest Premier League rivals, who all won.
But then, amidst all the doom and gloom, the Emirates enigmas then proceeded to put in a classy shift in Istanbul to brush aside Fenerbahce and virtually guarantee themselves a place (yet again) in the lucrative Champions League group stage.
So now it’s Fulham away this weekend and Arsenal’s fans, many of whom made their feelings only too clear to Wenger after their opening day defeat, will be much more hopeful after Wednesday’s Turkey trot. The Cottagers were somewhat flattered by their win at Sunderland last weekend and, all things considered, Coral’s 23/20 Arsenal looks the bet, but they are certainly not a team to have your mortgage on these days.
As for Villa, their fans must be delighted with the way they have started the campaign. It should be stressed that their win at Arsenal was largely down to their own efforts and Paul Lambert’s youngsters again impressed in midweek when giving Chelsea a run for their money at Stamford Bridge.
This is a hard start to the season for Villa, who now face Liverpool at home, but they have done more than enough in their opening two fixtures to suggest they can take all three points. Coral go a tempting 14/5.
Others to appeal this weekend include Everton (8/13) to beat West Brom at Goodison and Southampton (3/4) to take care of Sunderland at St Mary’s. Everton are expected to enjoy another solid season under new manager, Roberto Martinez, while West Brom will do well to finish as high in the table as they did last time, especially with Nicolas Anelka now out of the picture for personal reasons.
Southampton left it late to beat West Brom at the Hawthorns last Saturday, but were the better side for long stretches and have been strengthened further since by yet another record signing – Italian striker Pablo Osvaldo for around £13m.
Manchester United looked pretty good when beating Swansea 4-1 at the Liberty Stadium – a game that had all the makings of a banana skin for David Moyes’ debut – but they didn’t seem to impress the bookies all that much.
Indeed, Coral have pushed the Reds out to 3/1 for the Premiership from 5/2, although that has as much to do with the subsequent dominant display of neighbours City (now 7/4) in their opener against Newcastle.
Whatever, every game is crucial, even these early skirmishes, and none more crucial than United’s clash with Chelsea at Old Trafford on Monday. Coral go 7/5 United and 21/10 Chelsea, but this is a game that is so hard to call for so many reasons, not least the Wayne Rooney factor (will he play?) and the draw, also 21/10, looks the safest call.