Manchester United make the trip to the red half of north London on Saturday in a state of disarray after succumbing to a 4-0 loss at the hands of Liverpool in midweek at Anfield. Ralf Rangnick’s troops were woeful from the first whistle, and they have plenty of work to do if they want to finish in the top four and gain a coveted Champions League spot and keep their EPL title odds alive.
Similarly, Arsenal are trying to arrest a run of three defeats on the spin, although they may have taken some satisfaction from seeing their bitter rivals Tottenham slip up at home last weekend to Brighton.
While this fixture may not be as combustible as it once was when Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger used to duke it out on the touchline in the 1990s and early 00s in epic title battles, there is still a lot riding on this game.
I’ve picked out a few tips for you to feast your eyes on ahead of the Emirates showdown.
The Gunners have lost their way of late. After a 1-0 win away to Aston Villa, Mikel Arteta’s men have tripped up against Crystal Palace, Brighton and Southampton, and they were mediocre against all three. If anything, not replacing Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang in the January transfer window has come back to haunt them, and they desperately need a proven goalscorer.
United, meanwhile, were very flat against Liverpool and Rangnick looks like he is devoid of any lateral thinking that could inject some creativity and guile into his side. But then again, he was only warming up for the seat for the next permanent manager, which looks likely to be Ajax incumbent Erik ten Hag.
Anyway, the last time these two sides met at the Emirates, the game finished goalless, but it wasn’t the stereotypical goalless draw. In terms of EPL odds and the moneyline, the tie seems to represent good value as it is currently available at +230, which could be rewarding.
Steer Away From a High-Scoring game
As mentioned, this game could well end up being a draw if I were to use the previous Emirates encounter as a barometer. Of course, United won the corresponding fixture 3-2 at Old Trafford earlier in the season in which Emile Smith-Rowe arguably scored a contentious goal while David de Gea lay on the pitch stricken.
The total goals over/under market always make for interesting betting, and while it may not be a goal-fest, there could still be goals. So, you can get -375 for there to be Over 1.5 goals during regular time. These two sides have played out 18 ties in the Premier League, so two goals and a 1-1 tie could be worth exploring further.
Emile Smith-Rowe To Find the Target
Smith-Rowe has been instrumental for the Gunners this season, and he has a knack for scoring vital goals. He was on target against United earlier in the campaign, and he knows where the back of the net is – he’s netted nine times, and he’s the club’s joint-top scorer this term.
The midfielder may not have scored in any of his last six Premier League outings, but that barren run could come to a halt this weekend. Smith-Rowe is valued at a long-looking +650 to score first for the Gunners, and it could be worth a cheeky punt.