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New-look Arsenal a good bet to finish back in the top 4

By on August 27, 2019

After missing out on Champions League football for three successive years now, Arsenal FC will be desperate to return to Europe’s elite club competition this season. The Gunners’ activity in the summer transfer window undoubtedly confirms that intent, as they’ve managed to beat fierce competition to the signatures of Nicolas Pepe and Dani Ceballos among others.

Arsenal’s most expensive signing in history, Nicolas Pepe, has yet to showcase his full talent, but the £72m acquisition has already displayed glimpses of his enormous potential. Once he gets comfortable with the Premier League style of football, the pacey forward should become a leader of Arsenal’s devastating attack. Meanwhile, brought in from Real Madrid on a season-long loan, the Spanish midfielder made an instant impact against Burnely, which has earned him a MOTM award in his full Premier League debut for Arsenal. Ceballos has taken full advantage of Granit Xhaka’s absence to dictate Arsenal’s game and ensure a pinpoint passing in his first game at the Emirates Stadium. While he has struggled to replicate the same performance against Liverpool, the 23-year-old is expected to add a new dimension to the Gunners’ midfield.

Although Arsenal started the 2019/20 Premier League campaign off on the right foot, a 3-1 demolition at Anfield shows they are still short of quality and determination to fight Manchester City and Liverpool for the league title. A lack of sharper passing and build-up play against Liverpool proves Unai Emery and his men still have work to do before interfering in the title run-in. Bet365 seems to share that opinion, as they rate Arsenal at 50/1 (51.00) to claim the title this year. According to the bookies, the long-awaited Premier League title is still out of reach for the Gunners, who last wrapped up the ultimate prize in 2003/04.

However, a top-four finish is well within reach, especially given the way other Arsenal’s rivals have opened the new season. Manchester United, Chelsea, and Tottenham Hotspur have a little bit of everything (W1, D1, L1), which puts Arsenal (W2, L1) in firm control in the early stage of the season. A 1-0 away win over Newcastle United in the Premier League curtain-raiser and a 2-1 home triumph over Burnley in the subsequent league fixture showed the North Londoners still successfully negotiate their ties with the teams from the bottom half of the table. Picking up ‘routine points’ against such opponents can ultimately prove decisive in Arsenal’s bid for a top-four finish. Well aware of the attacking quality Emery currently has on his books, Bet365 back the Gunners to secure one of four Champions League slots at 1/1 (2.00).

The one thing that was troubling Arsenal fans in the 2018/19 Premier League campaign was the Gunners’ performance when away from home. If Emery’s men look to take a step forward, they will need to improve on their last year’s achievements on the road. The London giants picked up just 25 of a total of 70 Premier League points away from home the last term (35.71%), which is far too insufficient comparing to City’s and Liverpool’s 44. After beating Newcastle at St. James Park, Arsenal travel to Vicarage Road to take on Watford for their second Premier League away fixture this season. The Gunners are given 17/20 (1.85) to walk away with all three points, which sounds like a tempting bet. The North Londoners have come off better in five of their previous six Premier League visits here, and there’s a good chance they can do it again. For the ones thinking Arsenal can beat the Hornets, 888sport are offering nice bonuses to start your online betting adventure.

Interestingly, four of those Gunners’ away triumphs over Watford have seen them score two or more goals, although just two have witnessed them keep a clean sheet. Hence, Arsenal’s win with both teams score at 9/4 (3.25) seems to be a gamble worth taking.

With two goals scored in the opening three rounds of the Premier League fixtures, the Gunners’ headline performer, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, has announced his candidacy for the Premier League top goalscorer. Although he is the likeliest candidate to finish the season as Arsenal’s most prolific forward, the Gabonese star will found it difficult running for the league’s top goalscorer given how Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero started the new campaign. Therefore, the 30-year-old could be a valid dark horse in the Premier League top goalscorer battle, with Bet365 providing a tempting return of 10/1 (11) for Aubameyang to prevail in this race.

But, to make sure his team can challenge for a top-four finish, Unai Emery has to fix Arsenal’s defensive frailties. Only last season, the Gunners conceded 51 goals, far more than any other top-five club. Such a defensive output has forced the Spaniard to secure the services of Celtic’s Kieran Tierney and Chelsea’s David Luiz. While waiting for Tierney to recover from a groin injury, Emery has already introduced the Brazilian defender into this starting line-up against both Burnley and Liverpool. Although Luiz impressed against the Clarets, he once again proved to be a liability against the Reds, giving away a chip penalty against Mohamed Salah just when his side seemed to be moving up a gear.

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