Andy Schooler says Arsenal’s dominance over West Ham is far from certain to continue in Saturday’s lunchtime game and has a 15/2 shot for the televised clash…
West Ham v Arsenal
Sky Sports Premier League/Main Event
Not all will agree, but I believe it’s worth taking note of long-term trends – at least to some extent – when it comes to head-to-head records when there’s a clear pattern to be seen.
This is one such fixture, with Arsenal having won 18 of their last 23 meetings with West Ham, whose last home win over the Gunners came back in 2006.
The theory is that as the bad run continues, the talk about it affects the latest set of players, who are made all too aware of the problems the opponents have caused.
Many will therefore be happy to take odds-against about another Arsenal win in this one, but recent form arguably warns against doing so.
Hammers in good form
With Felipe Anderson in fine form, Marko Arnautovic fit again and back among the goals and Fabian Balbuena ready to return, West Ham are in good shape.
They’ve won six of their last nine games, despite Christmas bringing a relative dip. Across the last 10 league matches, they’ve collected just one point less than Arsenal.
While the vast majority of their points have been earned against sides in the bottom half of the table, West Ham have beaten Manchester United at home and held Chelsea.
Arsenal, in contrast, have hit a sticky patch and are arguably in their worst form of the season so far.
They’ve won just three of their last seven and have had just one clean sheet during that run – against League One Blackpool in the FA Cup. In the league, it’s just one away win in their last six.
No-one has scored more goals in the division than Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang but the fact that Arsenal have conceded in every away game highlights their main problem – a long-standing one which Unai Emery is yet to fix.
At least defensive personnel are returning with Hector Bellerin and Laurent Koscielny among those in contention to play here. Mesut Ozil is also fit again although a return to the starting XI has to be in doubt.
As suggested, trends followers will likely be happy to back Arsenal at [2.1] in the match betting. In addition to their historic strength, they are also 13 points better off.
West Ham are [3.6] for the win, with the draw the possible value at [3.95].
However, other markets look more enticing.
Trends suggest goals
For example, the stats suggest plenty of goals – 12 of the pair’s last 14 meetings have produced over 2.5 goals. They include Arsenal’s 3-1 win at the Emirates back in August.
This season, 64% of West Ham’s home games have seen over 2.5 goals with a whopping 90% of Arsenal’s away matches also meeting the criteria. Over 2.5 can be backed at [1.57].
However, over 3.5 is also worth considering at [2.32]. On that front, 55% of West Ham’s home games and 70% of Arsenal’s away ones fit the bill. Both figures are unusually high.
However, I’m going to take a chance of something even bigger and it revolves around Arsenal’s poor first-half efforts this season.
They’ve led at half time in only two of their 21 league games thus far and neither of those was away from home.
They’ve won a league-leading 12 points from losing positions, winning three, drawing three and losing four in games in which they have fallen behind.
West Ham led at the Emirates in the reverse fixture (although not at half time) and also found themselves in front in three of the last six games in which they’ve hosted the Gunners.
They are 15/2 to lead at half time and not win this one which looks worth a small interest.
Another potential angle involves Samir Nasri, who could make his Premier League debut for the Hammers against one of his former clubs. His departure to Manchester City left a bitter taste among fans and he’s sure to be targeted by the boo-boys.
Last weekend’s FA Cup tie against Birmingham was Nasri’s first game in more than a year due to his drugs ban so he’s unlikely to be up to the pace of a London derby like this and during his previous spell in England the midfielder had a propensity to pick up plenty of cards.
He probably won’t start, but if he does it will be worth backing him at 4/1 to be booked.
Same Game Multi
Marko Arnautovic has scored three goals in his last two games and has also netted in his last two meetings with the Gunners.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is also in good form with four in four over the festive period.
In a game which traditionally produces goals, you can get 4.86 about both scoring.
Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored in each of his last four Premier League London derby matches, netting six goals in total while also providing two assists.
Andy Schooler’s P/L 2018/19
Source: Betfair Premier League