Saturday Premier League Tips: Improving Arsenal a big price to beat Blades

A draw between two new managers, a team moving up the table to win again, and a 'big six' club that look a huge price to record a third successive home win. It's all in Mike Norman's weekly tipsheet...

A Gunners punt purely based on price

Arsenal 1.90 v Sheffield United 4.80; Draw 3.75
I doubt Arsenal have ever been available to back at 1.90 in a Premier League game at home to a newly-promoted team, and I for one don't get it, especially given the improvement in results and performances since Mikel Arteta took charge.
To put that price into perspective, against the two other newly-promoted clubs, Arsenal were available to back at around the 1.40 mark at home to Aston Villa, and AWAY to Norwich they traded around the 1.80 mark. True, Villa and Norwich are performing far worse than the Blades this season, but I still don't get the Gunners' price here.
Perhaps a better indication as to why I'm surprised they are being offered at 1.90 is that Arsenal hosted Wolves in November and they were just 1.82 to back. At the time the Gunners - quite ironically - had just lost away to Sheff Utd (despite dominating for large periods) and been held at home by Crystal Palace, so they were hardly in blistering form. Wolves had won three of their previous four on the road including winning 2-0 at Man City!
Or another example if you want it; a struggling Everton team - towards the bottom of the table - were 1.69 to beat Sheff Utd.
So why are Arsenal 1.90 to win?
Going into Saturday's game Arsenal have won their last two at the Emirates - one an impressive victory over Manchester United - without conceding and their overall form reads just one defeat in six. And even that loss was down to a late collapse against Chelsea.
Perhaps the perception that Sheff United are a very good away team is swaying the price. For the record Chris Wilder's men have won just two of their last eight away games, both of those victories coming by a single-goal margin at Brighton and Norwich. So I'm not having United's away form as the reason either.
Undoubtedly then the biggest reason why Arsenal are 1.90 to back is because top goalscorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is suspended. That's a huge blow obviously, but it's one I'd expect Arsenal to overcome.
If both sides play at their best on Saturday then I'd expect Arsenal to win at least seven our eight times out of 10, and that would make the Gunners far shorter than 1.90 to win in my book. Of course, Saturday could be one of the two or three times out of 10 that Arsenal don't win, that's betting and the chance you take, but put simply I think the price on a home win is very much on the generous side.

In-form Saints can go marching on

Southampton 2.42 v Wolves 3.30; Draw 3.45
When you oppose teams that win 3-0 (Chelsea) and 4-0 (Man Utd) respectively then you really shouldn't have had a good betting weekend - and I didn't - but at least laying Wolves to beat Newcastle last week saved the humiliation of opposing three short-price jollies only for them all to go on and win.
But a bit like my 'draw' streak - see my final recommended bet - I can't complain with the success I've had opposing Wolves in recent weeks.
It absolutely does my head in when managers constantly go on about the number of games their team has to play - as if they just woke up one day and were told they've got another match later that afternoon - while others just get on with it, as they should.
So hats off to Nuno Espirito Santo for not making too much of a meal about his side's poor form despite his team playing upwards of 10 games more than some Premier League clubs. For the record, Wolves have played 13 games more than Newcastle this season, managed by Steve Bruce who has never missed an opportunity in recent weeks to complain about fixture congestion.
But the fact that Wolves have played so many games is the reason I've opposed them recently, especially given that Santo rarely rotates - not by huge amounts anyway - his starting XI. As I keep saying, fatigue has to have been a factor around the festive period.
I can't put my hand on my heart and say that's the reason Wolves are now winless in thier last five games, or why they've only won one - late on against hapless Norwich - of their last six away games, but the games keep coming thick and fast, and until their form improves then I'm happy to keep opposing Santo's men.
On Saturday we're opposing them with an in-form Southampton team - thanks in large to the prolific goalscoring form of Danny Ings - a side that has won five out of their last six in all competitions and taken 13 of a possible 15 league points.
The Saints are up to 12th in the table and remarkably, a win here will take them level on points with their opponents who currently sit seventh in the table. I'm happy to wager that's exactly what Ralph Hasenhuttl's will do.

Stalemate beckons between meeting of new bosses

West Ham 3.05 v Everton 2.50; Draw 3.55
I only keep a running total of my profit/loss for every recommended bet I provide but I'm pretty certain that on my draw recommendations alone I'd be way out in front. From the top of my head I think five of my last six such bets have been successful.
That's not to blow my own trumpet in anyway whatsoever, it's more to back-up my theory that if you can't split two teams and yet the Draw price is the biggest option in the Match Odds, then it's worth chancing. And that's the case when West Ham host Everton on Saturday.
I'd have very little confidence in backing West Ham to win at the price, and the same comment applies to Everton. I think both David Moyes and Carlo Ancelotti will be happy to avoid defeat and at 3.55 the draw really is the logical choice.
The Hammers have improved since Moyes took charge and they really should be three games unbeaten but for last week's late disallowed goal against Sheffield United, while the Toffees are a tough nut to crack since getting rid of Marco Silva, drawing three of their last eight games while the other five were all decided by a single-goal margin (three wins, two defeats).
And if you look back at the last four meetings between these two sides at the home of West Ham then there's been one win for the Hammers, one for the Toffees, and two draws, indicating again that there's no dominant team in this fixture and that the draw is just as likely as any other outcome.

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