What happens when a fearless wolf faces off against an imperial cannon? Your instant reaction would be to undervalue the wolf’s chance against machine might, but this is no ordinary wolf.
Wolves are going to face off with the Gunners this weekend and we can expect a highly entertaining battle between Nuno Espírito Santo and Mikel Arteta.
For the home side, they have a chance of catching and surpassing Leicester, Chelsea and Man Utd. What’s more impressive is the fact that the last loss they suffered in the league was nine games ago against the newly-crowned champions Liverpool.
They have won five games in that period and have had solid draws against Leicester and Man Utd, we can forgive them for a dour draw to Brighton; who knew a wolf would pass up a seagull?
This is a team founded on the strong principle of structure. They narrow the opposition offensive angles so well that it forces a hasty ball through or cross in that the backline of Boly, Coady and Bennet/Saiss can easily deal with.
Wolves hunt as a pack, with winning the ball back one of their biggest strengths. When you force an opponent into a pass he didn’t really want to play, it usually means he is stretched and not in a defensive position. Jota and Adama Traore have proven to be major threats on the counter, along with Jonny and Ireland’s best player at the moment, Matt Doherty. The four of these share a staggering 14 assists so far.
The main beneficiary of this devastating counter-attack has been the highly rated Raul Jimenez, who has a mightily impressive tally of 15 goals so far this campaign. It won’t be long ’til the big boys come knocking for him.
Containing this lot wouldn’t be easy for any team – just ask Man City, who lost home and away to Wolves this season. Mikel’s men better have something up their sleeve.
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In the earlier meeting between the two side Wolves won the xG count by 1.51 to 1.03, Arsenal took the lead and backed off. Wolves eventually made them pay and if there’s one thing you can trust about Arsenal, it’s that you can’t trust them to defend.
And when we look at Arsenals Home v Away performances their points per game drops from 1.8 to 1.1 and goals scored drops from 1.88 to 1.06. Those numbers are a strong indicator that this team are rarely ready for a tough away battle. Wolves disparity between home and away is so small it bears little significance. This is a solid Premier League side that will put it up to Arsenal.
Looking at a few other tables in the league this season would make you believe that this could be a little closer than the prices suggest. Wolves are ranked 11th in the home table, Arsenal are ranked 11th in the away table. Offensively, Arsenal have scored two more goals than Wolves – they can thank the hapless Canaries for that! And defensively Wolves have conceded seven fewer.
Both sides are in the top 3 in the recent form table (last eight games) and there are just six points separating them.
All in all, I think we can discount the chance of an Away win here. For me, the prices look just about right in the match odds and if it was Unai Emery taking charge like back in November I would happily side with the home win, but I think the Draw at more than 2/1 is the play in what should be a very tactical affair.
Jimenez and Aubameyang are each teams’ highest goalscoring threat, and they also notched in the earlier meeting and, more importantly, have been in stellar form recently.
The featured #WhatOddsPaddy punt of both of them to score looks a nice price at 11/2.
For those who like a combo bet, I think we can expect some goals, some corners and lower fouls by Arsenal who will not want Boly and co raining in from dead-ball situations.
Wolves should target corners as a means of scoring. The #WhatOddsPaddy of BTTS, Wolves 5 or more corners & Arsenal Under 2.5 cards at 11/4 looks a nice way to enjoy the match.
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