say ‘In Arsene we trust’, but the patience of Arsenal fans must be wearing pretty thin. The dust mites in the Emirates trophy cabinet have had the run of the place for so long now that they have probably been joined by woodworm and it looks like another summer transfer window will slam shut with the Gunners squad significantly weaker than when it opened.
I’ll reserve making a final judgment on either Olivier Giroud or Lukas Podolski’s ability to replace Robin van Persie, but it was clear in toothless displays at home to Sunderland and away to Stoke that they both have some way to go to fill the Dutchman’s boots.
It’s fair to say we saw that coming at the Britannia last Sunday, having suggested a no goalscorer bet in last week’s column. And, with a trip to Anfield this weekend, there’s every chance Arsenal’s wait for a Premier League goal in the 2012/13 season will stretch into at least their fourth game, against Southampton in two Saturdays’ time.
After a shocking start, when they lost 3-0 at West Brom on the season’s opening day, Liverpool looked far better at home to Manchester City last time out. In fact, they would have beaten the reigning champions but for an horrendous error by Martin Skrtel, whose dodgy backpass was gladly intercepted by Carlos Tevez to steal a point. Brendan Rodgers is beginning to stamp his authority on Liverpool and I think the long-term prospects are positive under the Northern Irishman. A victory here would be a huge endorsement of his work so far and, though they’ve not beaten Arsenal at Anfield in the league since 2007, I think his charges can take maximum points, with Coral offering 11/10 about the home win.
Although Liverpool’s two top flight games have mustered seven goals between them, I think this match will be more in keeping with Arsenal’s drab affairs. Spread bettors are advised to sell total goals at 2.6 with Sporting Index.
Punters will notice Chelsea missing from their weekend Premier League coupon and that’s because the Blues face Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup tonight.
Roberto Di Matteo’s men are rightly favourites to follow up their Champions League triumph against the Europa League holders. It is 8/13 that they lift the trophy but I prefer Coral’s 5/4 that Chelsea win in normal time. The same firm is also refunding losing first/last goalscorer and correct score bets in this match – and any televised domestic game this weekend – if the first goal is a header, so back Fernando Torres at a best price of 6/1 to open the scoring against his old club.