The countdown is on. David Moyes has four more chances to win a league game away from home against one of the Premier League’s big six clubs, else he will have gone a full decade without doing so. Since a 2-1 victory for Everton at Manchester City in December 2010, Moyes’ teams have collectively drawn 10 and lost 26 of their away league matches against the big boys.
It shouldn’t be beyond him. West Ham (prior to his arrival) and five other teams who finished in the bottom half last season managed to do it. And while Arsenal were the weakest of the top teams in 2019/20 so might represent a good opportunity for a victory, they have won 10 of their last 11 home games against the Hammers in all competitions.
West Ham won 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium on the opening weekend of 2015/16, but their five losing visits since have seen the home side rack up an aggregate scoreline of 12-2.
The opening match of a team’s season can prove to be very telling. The Hammers flew out of the traps five years ago, winning at Liverpool and Manchester City as well as Arsenal in their first six matches, and went on to finish seventh. It must feel like a lifetime ago to West Ham supporters. Newcastle United – who were the worst team in the Premier League last season according to the underlying statistics – won comfortably at the London Stadium last weekend, and fully deserved to do so.
A 3-0 Carabao Cup win in midweek will have repaired the Hammers’ battered confidence a little, though playing Charlton at home is obviously a kinder fixture than what lies ahead this weekend.
Meanwhile, Arsenal won easily at Fulham last Saturday, and it’s hard not to conclude that the gap between themselves and West Ham will be much wider this season than the 17 points which separated them in 2019/20.
If Moyes has proven adept at anything in tough away games, it’s avoiding a pasting. Only five of the aforementioned 26 losses in the past 10 years have been by more than two goals.
But with Arsenal unbeaten on home turf in the league in 2020, they should have enough to overcome the handicap and win by a couple.
The formbook in the ‘both teams to score’ market offers an interesting conundrum for this match. Thirteen of Arsenal’s 19 home league games last season saw both teams find the back of the net, which was the highest total in the Premier League.
However, only four clubs saw this happen fewer times on the road than the eight matches in which it occurred for West Ham. So which way should we bet?
A closer look at the records can enlighten us. Four of Arsenal’s six home games in which one team failed to score were against teams who finished in the bottom eight, with the Gunners winning to nil each time. Similarly, five of the eight West Ham games where both teams scored were when they faced their fellow members of the bottom eight.
Put that together and it looks likely that West Ham will draw a blank here. They did so away from home against six of the top 10 teams last season.
With six goals in his last four competitive games, and a shiny new three-year contract tucked in his top pocket, the obvious choice for a scorer bet would be Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
And I certainly wouldn’t dissuade you on gambling on the guy from Gabon. But for better value, Alexandre Lacazette is worth your consideration.
He scored the winner when these sides last met, shortly before lockdown, and he also scored a brace in a 4-1 Arsenal win in April 2018. The only English side Laca has bagged more goals against is Fulham, thanks to his opening goal in the Gunners’ stroll last weekend. The French international can double up and open the scoring here too.
Arsenal v West Ham Same Game Multi bet
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