Arsenal vs Stoke City Betting Preview
Arsenal – Stoke, Sunday 14:30h
The crisis has been averted
First time after a while, Arsene Wenger looks completely calm. Aaron Ramsey’s strike in the second minute of stoppage time brought a win at Marseille and continued Arsenal’s great current form (after a terrible start of the season). The Gunners have won five out of last six competitive games (with one painful defeat though, in the North London Derby vs. Spurs). Even more, the most critical line in the team – defence looked rock solid, keeping the clean sheet against French. Robin Van Persie has regained some of his old form as well and while their fans expect “place number three” till Christmas, Wenger insists the recent win is just a small step forward. However, bad luck with the injuries continues and he’ll miss several of his key players. Sagna, Vermaelen, Wilshere and Diaby are certain to miss out, while Jenkinson and Gibbs are doubtful. Beside them, this match will be very emotional for Aaron Ramsey who suffered a horrifying injury against Stoke two seasons ago.
Problems outside Britannia
The Potters have been showing two different faces, when they play at home and away. At Britannia, they always look like a safe choice for bet. Just one defeat of last 21 competitive games (vs. Wigan at the last day of previous season, in a game without any importance for them), this season defeated Fulham and Liverpool and stopped Man Utd and Chelsea on just a point. Meanwhile, they look clueless on their trips. In last two away games (vs. Sunderland and Swansea), Stoke haven’t even scored (conceded six). Tony Pulis’ intention to be competitive in Europa League additionally makes them vulnerable in the game after. For the visit to Emirates, probably Pulis won’t make any big surprise. He’ll leave the possession to Arsenal and try to make something from set pieces and with Rory Delap’s long throw-ins (which worked well against Arsenal in the previous season and made Wenger crazy). No big worries about injured players (only Ricardo Fuller is definitely out), while Crouch, Walters and Delap were all rested against Maccabi Tel Aviv. There’re some concerns about Palacios and Higginbotham, but they’re expected to play.
Different football philosophies
Arsenal have technically dominant players and like passing game, Stoke’s players are physically very strong and like aerial combats. The Gunners will try to keep the ball down and look for possession, The Potters will try to bully home defence waiting for Delap’s missiles from the touchline. If Arsenal establish their style of play (and I think they will), home win should be a certain thing. And quite frankly, I am well surprised with the odds. Also, Lee Mason is a strict referee and I like the possibility of a penalty kick.
Betting Picks Recommended bet:
Arsenal -1 (asian handicap) @ 2.03 (Pinnacle)
Penalty In Match – Yes @ 3.25 (Victor Chandler)