How the Bookies See it
- Winner: Arsenal 4/11, Draw 4/1, Sunderland 7/1 - Sky Bet
- First Goalscorer: Alexis Sanchez (ARS) 7/2, Olivier Giroud (ARS) 7/2, Theo Walcott (ARS) 4/1 - BetVictor
- Half Time/Full Time: Arsenal/Arsenal 11/10, Draw/Arsenal 3/1, Draw/Draw 6/1 - Coral
- Sunderland have endured a rotten start and remain the only club in the top five tiers of English football without a win this season. Defeat to West Ham in their last outing meant that the Black Cats became the first top flight club in 110 years not to win any of their opening nine league fixtures in consecutive seasons. Seven league losses and a negative double-digit goal difference have left the side from the North East firmly rooted to the bottom of the division. Two 1-1 draws, against Southampton and West Brom, have been the high points of David Moyes’ time in charge, a run that surely points to the Mackems being prime candidates for the drop come May.
- Arsenal may have started their campaign with a high-scoring defeat to Liverpool, but that remains the Gunners’ only loss in over seven months. Despite their early season setback, which saw Arsene Wenger’s men fail to register a win until the end of August, the team have rallied, putting together a run of nine victories in 11 matches, including a 3-0 win over title rivals Chelsea. The side from the Emirates are also one of the top scoring teams in the league with 19 goals in nine games, one shy of the tally set by Manchester City and Liverpool.
Sunderland enter this game in crisis, but it’s a crisis with a very familiar feel for fans of the club. The perennial Premier League strugglers are without a league win since April and face a tough test this weekend against a team that they haven’t beaten in the league since November 2009. Moyes’ men are the rank outsiders to win this game, and rightly so considering some of their performances this season. However, should the likes of Jermain Defoe, an 8/1 shout to score first with William Hill, and Victor Anichebe, available at 11/1, finally find their scoring boots, the visiting team could be in for a rough ride. Middlesbrough’s resolute defending last weekend proved that the Arsenal’s front men can be stopped, and a 0-0 draw in this game fetches odds of 16/1 with Bet365, while a sneaky 1-0 win for the Black Cats is priced at 28/1 with BetVictor.
Arsenal fans will be hoping that their side can make light work of a team that are currently propping up the division. A number of impressive domestic and continental performances have led to talk of the club from the capital challenging for silverware this season and a weekend win is expected by bookmakers and fans alike. The Gunners are being tipped to thoroughly dominate this game, with an Arsenal/Arsenal bet in the Half Time/Full Time market offering odds of 11/10, however, for those with a little less faith in the away side’s ability, a bet of Sunderland to lead at halftime and Arsenal to win offers odds of 25/1 with BetVictor. For the visitors to triumph, they will need goals, and who better to bulge the net than top scorers Theo Walcott and Alexis Sanchez? Both players are well tipped to break the deadlock, but a goal anytime may prove a safer bet.
- Sports.net’s top tip: Theo Walcott to score and Arsenal to win 2-0 - 16/1 with William Hill
*Please note that odds may fluctuate in the run-up to kick-off.