Since the return it’s been nothing but doom and gloom for Arsenal. From flying to Manchester a couple of hours before the match with City to get hammered, to throwing away a 1-0 lead to Brighton, to losing Bernd Leno and signing David Luiz up for another year. You Gooners really needed a break…
Given the mediocrity in the league, the FA Cup can be a glorious distraction which the Arsenal know very well in the past decade winning the trophy 3 times. Mikel Arteta shouldn’t have to remind the current crop of players of what a deep run in the cup can do to transform fortunes around but they just don’t make em how they used to!
The 1-0 to the Arsenal chant used to be the norm coming from the stands in bygone eras. Under George Graham and in Arsene Wenger’s early years, the Gunners were recognised for being a tough bunch of b*stards who could also play a bit.
When you think back of names like Adams, Keown, Vieira and Gilberto Silva and compare it to what currently trots out on a weekend afternoon the difference couldn’t be greater. It used to be substance mixed with style way back when, but now it’s a case of looking flashy but not delivering a whole lot!
Looking at the League, which gives the fairest description of a team’s performance over a year, Arsenal’s form reads P31, W1O, D13, L8. They’re sitting in 9th at the time of writing and have slipped to being nothing more than a flashy mid table team.
Even their goalscoring exploits have been curtailed this year, notching a meek 43 times and shipping 41 goals. Both of these numbers put them firmly down as an average mid table team and for this weekend’s game with Sheffield United it won’t help them that it’s an away fixture.
What will help them though is the fact that Sheffield United have over performed all season and it seems to be catching up with them.
Expected goals (if you’re a fan of that) has United over-performing by a whopping 8 goals and has their resulting expected points at 4 less. Why does that matter for this match? Well, it just puts a certain Arsenal team narrowly ahead on both tables.
The recent slump of Sheff United, in statistical terms at least, is to be expected. They were simply over-performing their metrics all season and a slight regression or downturn has occurred.
What this means is that we should get a very close match up between these two come Sunday. With a mind on a few bets let’s look at a few more numbers…
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is in joint 2nd place with 17 goals in the league’s golden boot, he has proven to be an exceptional forward in a poor team the past couple of years. How he didn’t score against Southampton, only he will know. He is favourite to score the first goal of the match but due to Arsenal’s defensive failings, I like the price for him to be first to score for Arsenal.
Sheffield United will be sticky opponents and have already beaten Arsenal this season and scored in both meetings. They haven’t scored as of yet on their return to EPL action but with Arsenal keeping a clean sheet in just over a quarter of their total matches (26%) I can’t trust them at all.
BTTS is a safe Acca builder at 4/5 but if you feel as I do that Arsenal may just edge a high scoring game the play of Arsenal to win & BTTS looks cracking value.
When goalmouth action is expected to be at a premium in a contested affair it always encourages a likely corners and goals related bet. So, if you’re a fan of bigger prices the WhatOddsPaddy Arsenal to win & BTTS & Each team 4 or more corners at looks good.
Tips for Sheffield United v Arsenal
- No win, no tree! PP to plant 6,000 trees each time Arsenal fail to win this season
- Emmanuel Petit: Luiz should say a prayer of thanks to Arsenal directors