Sports Betting Weekly

Arsenal v West Ham

When: Saturday, 14 March 2015 @ 20:00 (FINISHED)
Where: Emirates Stadium
Having faced a brutal battle with Manchester United during the week, Arsenal will be relieved to return to Barclays Premier League action this weekend in one of the most one-sided London derbies on the footballing calendar as they entertain out-of-sorts West Ham United at the Emirates.

With the two sides meeting 37 times since the Premier League’s inception, the Gunners have won a staggering 24 games to West Ham’s seven – and having already picked up a 2-1 win at the Boleyn Ground this season, Arsene Wenger’s men will be confident of extending a streak that now stands at eight consecutive wins against the Hammers and 13 since their last Premier League defeat.

The Gunners’ cause will be further aided by the fact that West Ham’s impressive start to the season has come skidding to a halt in recent months, with Sam Allardyce’s men having lost three and won none of their previous six games to slide into the bottom three of the current league form table.

After mulling over the stats, it’s not hard to see why the home side have been named as cast-iron bankers for this one, with 4/9 the best price you’ll find anywhere in the market on a Gunners win. West Ham, meanwhile, are available at a prohibitive 15/2, with the draw deemed more likely at 7/2.

Given such short odds on the home side are unlikely to set the pulse racing, those looking to get behind the Gunners in this one may be better off turning to the first goalscorer market, where there are a couple of trends that could potentially be exploited. In his last four league games against West Ham, Theo Walcott has scored five and set up three, making the 6/1 on him being the game’s first scorer initially tempting. However, given Walcott’s starts have been limited since he returned from injury, the 18/5 on Olivier Giroud – who has four in four against the Hammers – may be preferable.

Another interesting statistic is that despite Arsenal’s overall dominance in this fixture, West Ham have scored the first goal in four of their last five meetings with the Gunners and gone on to lose the game. If you fancy that trend to continue in this one – presumably with the Hammers going in front courtesy of Diafra Sakho (9/1), Enner Valencia (11/1) or the in-form Cheikhou Kouyate (bizarrely priced at 65/1 with 888 and Unibet) – then you can get 8/1 on Arsenal to again win from behind.

For those of you out there who do fancy Allardyce’s men to buck the odds, meanwhile, there is hope to be found in the fact that the Hammers were the first team to beat Arsenal at the Emirates and have also scored the most headed goals in the league with 15. With only two teams conceding more headed goals than Arsenal this season, it is worth returning to those unfeasibly long odds on Kouyate scoring first or the 27/1 on him scoring anytime given his undoubted threat from set-pieces.