Wolves v Arsenal: Both Teams to Score – 13/20
Arsenal continue to baffle us all. It’s like Unai Emery wants to keep people guessing.
They managed to turn around some atrocious away form to beat Watford 1-0 at Vicarage Road, but then suffered a European hangover following their midweek win over Napoli and ended up losing 3-2 to Crystal Palace at home. It was a second reverse in three league games and hurt their top four credentials.
The Gunners’ home form is the main reason they’re still in contention for top four and the Palace defeat is only the second time Arsenal have lost at the Emirates in the league this season. Oddly enough, though, Chelsea seem to want top four less than Arsenal do at the minute after the Blues produced a Sarri performance during their 2-2 draw with Burnley on Monday night.
That point put Chelsea into fourth for now, but the right result here will see Arsenal leapfrog them yet again, and Emery has something else going for him heading into the final stretch of the season.
Arsenal’s run-in consists of precisely zero teams from the top six and only two teams who, at the time of writing, occupy spots in the top ten: Wolves and Leicester City. Chelsea, however, face United next and will also play Watford and Leicester before their season comes to a close.
As evidenced by the spectacular fashion in which The Gunners imploded against Palace, though, it hardly matters who they take on – what matters is what version of Arsenal turn up on the day, and Emery really can’t afford any more of this Jekyll & Hyde stuff when he also has two legs of a Europa League semi-final to navigate in early May.
Meanwhile, recent patchy form has seen Wolves slip to tenth in the table and they’ll be looking to finish the season strongly to maintain a top-half position. Their results have been curious in that they drew with Brighton and lost to Burnley and Southampton, yet took points off both Chelsea and Man United, so they only seem to really turn it on against the big sides – which is bad news for Unai Emery’s men.
A good reverse psychology tactic for this one might be for Arsenal fans to spend the build-up tweeting about how they’re really just a small club. That’ll feed back to the Wolves lads who will then turn in a sh*te performance. It should work, as long as the Nuno Espírito Santo’s players don’t realise they’d actually be mixing Arsenal up with London’s smallest club, Spurs.
All that said, you have to go back to September 1979 for the last time Arsenal lost to Wolves in any competition, though their most recent meeting ended 1-1 at the Emirates in November.
It’s a tough one to call given Arsenal’s penchant for hitting the self-destruct button, so we like the look of both teams to score at 13/20 for leg one of our double.
Man United v Man City: Man United and Draw – 17/10
“Ole’s at the wheel,” they said, and this might be true, but once the Norwegian was handed a cushy three-year deal, the wheels came off as United have since been eliminated from the Champions League and have lost two of their last four league games – including Sunday’s bizarre 4-0 demolition by Everton. Suddenly, all the goodwill earned during his caretaker spell has dissipated.
United now face the unenviable task of trying to bounce back against a Man City outfit who have won their last 10 league games on the spin, all while knowing that any kind of result in their favour pushes the Premier League title more firmly into Liverpool’s grasp. Most United fans will tell you that when choosing between the lesser of two evils, they’d sooner see City win the league than the Scousers.
Yet defeat to the Citizens would almost certainly quash any lingering hope Solskjaer’s men have of sneaking into the top four ahead of Arsenal and Chelsea. What a conflicting time to be a United fan.
As for City, now that they’re out of the Champions League and have their FA Cup final place secured, they can focus all their attention on this incredible title race. Given that Liverpool still have the Champions League to distract them, there is a risk that their attention could be split, so the Reds will be looking to the Red Devils (of all people) to do them a favour here.
That’s right, Liverpool fans – you need United to be your friends. Imagine the look on their faces when that realisation sets in. What kind of sick world has this become?
In any case, recent derbies have favoured Pep Guardiola’s charges as they’ve won three of the last six encounters, with another of those games ending in a draw. Their most recent trip to Old Trafford was also successful as they claimed all three points in this fixture last season, and with their recent blistering form domestically, City will be heavily favoured in heading into this one.
Despite that, we reckon United sleepwalking their way to an embarrassing defeat at Goodison Park was an overdue shock to the system which should eliminate any complacency.
We fancy Solskjaer’s side to reluctantly take something from this one and inadvertently help Liverpool to Premier League glory, so we’re going for the Double Chance market here, specifically United and Draw at 17/10.
* All odds correct at time of posting.