Sports Betting Weekly

Arsenal v Liverpool

When: Saturday, 04 April 2015 @ 18:45 (FINISHED)
Where: Emirates Stadium
Arsenal will have the opportunity to leapfrog Manchester City and move into second in the Barclays Premier League with a victory in the early kick off on Saturday – and a win for the Gunners will also severely damage Liverpool’s top four aspirations as two of England’s biggest clubs go head-to-head.

The Gunners are on a truly ridiculous run of form at present – with 16 wins from their last 19 games in all competitions – and their extended winning streak has seen them reel in Manchester City while also opening up breathing space between themselves and Brendan Rodgers’ men in fifth place.

Their current run is in complete contrast to how Arsene Wenger’s side started the season, when they laboured to just five wins in 14 across the board, and who knows, had they started the campaign in good form they could be challenging Chelsea for the title going into the final few weeks.

Unfortunately for the Gunners that ship has now sailed, with Chelsea likely to be 10 points clear of them even if they win this match given the Blues have a game in hand against struggling Leicester City and also host Stoke at Stamford Bridge, where they are yet to lose a game this season.

Nevertheless, Arsenal’s strong second half of the season will leave Wenger confident that he can close the book on his time at Arsenal with a Premier League title in the near future, providing he can keep this current team together and add sufficient quality in the summer.

One name who has been rumoured to join the club is Liverpool’s star forward, Raheem Sterling, who is stalling on signing a new deal with his current contract expiring in the summer of 2017. Liverpool would no doubt be against selling a prized asset to a club they see as a direct rival, but should Rodgers’ side miss out on the top four, it may prove hard for them to hold onto their key players.

Arsenal are in a position where they can probably afford to look forward to featuring in the group stages of the Champions League next season, however, and this is an assurance that Liverpool can’t yet give to their biggest names – especially now that they’re five points behind Manchester United.

The 2-1 defeat to the Red Devils at Anfield before the international break was a hammer blow to Liverpool’s chances of reaching the top four, with Rodgers now knowing that the race to qualify for next season’s Champions League is out of his hands.

To make matters worse for the Merseyside club, talismanic captain Steven Gerrard will not only be unavailable for this fixture, but also against Blackburn in the F.A. Cup and Newcastle United in the league after receiving a straight red card 38 seconds after coming on as a sub against United.

Really, then, Liverpool desperately need a win, but they are certainly going to be up against it – something which is reflected in the betting market. Arsenal are favourites at 17/20 to win, with a draw being the second most common choice at 14/5 and Liverpool priced at 7/2 to claim victory.

To do so, they will have to keep the in-form Arsenal striker, Olivier Giroud, at bay, which will not be an easy task. The Frenchman is high on confidence having scored nine goals in his last nine games – in fact, in Arsenal’s last five fixtures, Giroud has opened the scoring four times. With this in mind, Giroud is listed at 19/4 to break the deadlock or 5/4 to find the net at any time, and given he has already scored past Liverpool once this season, it’s hard to see him not doing so again here.

With Arsenal fans now excitedly monitoring Sterling’s involvement, meanwhile, the odds on him giving them a taste of what he can do in front of goal aren’t bad by any stretch. The England international is 3/1 to score at any point in the game or 19/2 to open the scoring at the Emirates.