Arsenal will look to boost their hopes of a top-four finish in the Premier League when they welcome Stoke to the Emirates on Saturday afternoon. The Gunners are currently sixth in the league table, just four points adrift of Tottenham in that all important fourth spot, and they will fancy their chances of taking all three points against an out-of-form Stoke.
Arsene Wenger's side go into the game as 4/9 odds on favourites with William Hill, who price Stoke 11/2 and the draw 16/5. This might be a fixture that Arsenal would traditionally struggle in as they attempt to get to grips with the physical nature of the opposition but they have actually won the last 10 in a row at home against Stoke.
The Gunners have only lost two of the last nine Arsenal v Stoke fixtures home and away after the teams played out a 0-0 draw at the Britannia Stadium in August. Goalless matches have been a regular feature of Stoke's season, particularly away from home where they have scored just eight goals in 13 outings, while they have failed to score in four of their last five on their travels.
Arsenal are 13/10 to win to nil on Saturday but it is tough to see their flimsy backline keeping too many clean sheets this season, even against this limp Stoke attack. The news that left back Kieran Gibbs is out injured means the much-maligned Santos is likely to get a chance on Saturday and Stoke will look to take full advantage.
The Gunners have struggled defensively all season and both teams to score could be worth backing at even money. Their last four games have featured 18 goals and their home games alone are producing an average of 4.17 goals per game this season. It is their defensive fragility that continues to hold them back though and they were left to rue another dismal start in mid-week.
They conceded first for the fourth game in a row on Wednesday as they went 2-0 down against Liverpool at the Emirates. They recovered impressively to draw 2-2 in the end and they could have won it, with Hills going 10/1 for Arsenal to come from behind and win on Saturday. They were indebted to the continued fine form of striker Olivier Giroud against Liverpool and the Frenchman is 7/2 to score first against Stoke after scoring five in his last three matches.
Giroud's physical stature will be important against Stoke, who threw away a 2-0 lead of their own in a 2-2 draw with Wigan on Tuesday. It means they have now won just two of their last 12 in all competitions and they will have their work cut out to improve their recent poor record against Arsenal. The Gunners look worthy favourites at this stage and they are 5/4 to win with a -1 goal handicap.
Arsenal v Stoke Form
Check the season's statistics for both Arsenal and Stoke, plus the odds ahead of Saturday's match.
Arsenal v Stoke Tips
Tip #1: Arsenal win with -1 goal handicap @ 5/4 with William Hill.
Tip #2: Both teams to score @ evens with William Hill.
Tip #3: Arsenal to come from behind and win @ 10/1 with William Hill.
Correct Score Odds
6/1 Arsenal 1-0
6/1 Arsenal 2-0
15/2 Arsenal 2-1
11/1 Draw 0-0
15/2 Draw 1-1
20/1 Draw 2-2
16/1 Stoke 1-0
40/1 Stoke 2-0
18/1 Stoke 2-1
First Goalscorer Odds
7/2 Olivier Giroud
4/1 Theo Walcott
9/2 Lukas Podolski
6/1 Santi Cazorla
15/2 Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
8/1 Kenwyne Jones
8/1 Mikel Arteta
9/1 Andrei Arshavin
10/1 Peter Crouch
10/1 No Goalscorer
10/1 Jon Walters
10/1 Aaron Ramsey
Odds supplied by WilliamHill.com, who offer live in-play betting for all Premier League matches.
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