Southampton v Arsenal: Take shot at big profit

Andy Schooler has a 47/1 shots Bet Builder for Saturday's Premier League game between two out-of-form sides, Southampton and Arsenal.

Two sides in something of a funk meet at St Mary's on Saturday and it makes for a tricky betting heat.

Arsenal looked well on course for a top-four finish only a few weeks ago and traded as low of 1.38 on the Exchange but three defeats in their last four games have seen those odds move out to 3.25 with traders feeling that fourth spot is now Tottenham's to lose.

Feel the pressure

Spurs have turned up the heat with a recent winning run and perhaps Mikel Arteta is feeling the pressure.

He made some strange selection decisions last weekend against Brighton when despite having Thomas Partey absent due to injury, he moved Granit Xhaka out of midfield to play left-back. They duly struggled in the centre of the park.

Arteta has also been extremely loyal to Alexandre Lacazette given the centre forward's struggles to score, although a record of five goals in his last six league appearances against Saints may save the Frenchman from the axe here.

The most recent of those came in December's 3-0 victory in the reverse fixture and the Gunners will be desperately keen for something similar here given the fact that they sit three points behind Spurs with a game in hand.

Out-of-sorts Saints

Southampton's form should give them a much-needed confidence boost.

Ralph Hasenhuttl's men have drawn one (against Leeds) and lost five of their last six games, a run which is bringing back depressing memories of the way they ended last season (14 points from the last 19 matches).

They hit a new low last Saturday when Chelsea waltzed to a 6-0 win at St Mary's - and frankly it could easily have been a third 9-0 loss in as many seasons with the Blues hitting the woodwork three times and forcing Fraser Forster into a string of saves.

Those previous 9-0 defeats (to Leicester and, last season, Manchester United) were both followed by games in which Saints conceded three times, history that doesn't bode well.

Arsenal short enough

But, that said, last week's result is very much an outlier when it comes to Southampton's home record against the top sides; Man City, Spurs, West Ham and Man Utd have all failed to win at St Mary's this season.

Combined with the other factors, that makes Arsenal look short enough at 2.02 to win the game, particularly given their recent run, one which has seen them score just twice in their last four.

Yet it would also take a brave man to lay the Gunners given Saints' form and that shocking result a week ago.

Likewise, the goals puzzle looks a difficult one to solve.

Goals line tricky to call

The 2.5 goal line slightly favours the overs (1.91), although neither side has scored more than once in those recent runs - Southampton's six-game winless streak and Arsenal's of three defeats in four.

It's also occurred in only four of the nine meetings at St Mary's since Southampton returned to the top flight.

When I'm struggling to find an angle I usually look for a value punt and I reckon I've found a half-decent one in the shot markets for this game.

Take shots punt

It comes via the Southampton defenders Mohammed Salisu and Kyle Walker-Peters, both of whom look too big to fire off a shot or two in this contest.

Salisu has been a big threat from set-pieces throughout the season and he's managed 1+ shot in 15 of his 31 starts. His recent form on that front is even stronger. Despite that fact, he's 15/8 to have a shot in this contest.

Only Man City, Liverpool and Chelsea have won more corners (per game) than Southampton so he should get an opportunity.

Meanwhile, Walker-Peters has been given greater licence to get forward of late and has had a shot in eight of his last 13 starts.

Here he'll be up against a stand-in full-back whichever side he plays down - Kieran Tierney and Takehiro Tomiyasu remain injured - and the new England cap could profit.

A Bet Builder featuring both players to have 1+ shot pays around 4.5 which looks worth backing but the big price I'm after comes from backing them for 2+ shots each.

Salisu has had 2+ shots in five of his last 11 games, while Walker-Peters has managed it in four of his last eight.

Yes, Arsenal's defensive record has been better than many sides but they are also lacking confidence right now and have two of their first-choice back four missing.

Given last week's humiliation in front of their own fans, I'd expect Saints to be busting a gut to get on the front foot in this one and if that happens there's a considerably better chance than 48.0 about this landing.

Opta fact

Only Chelsea and Manchester City (6 each) have conceded the first goal in fewer Premier League games this season than Arsenal (8). However, the Gunners have gone on to lose on seven of those eight occasions (88%), with only Norwich (90%) and Wolves (92%) having a higher loss rate when conceding first.

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