In-form Arsenal can see off Boro with the minimum of fuss on Saturday.
Arsenal v Middlesbrough - Saturday 15:00
Since falling five points behind in the title race after just two games, Arsenal have crept up to join Man City level on points at the top. It is now seven straight victories across all competitions having pulled Ludogorets to pieces in the Champions League, and they’ve scored 23 goals during this winning streak. Whilst the Gunners made life more difficult for themselves than necessary against Swansea, missing some gilt-edged chances and then Granit Xhaka receiving his marching orders, they still held on to take the points in a game they might have lost in previous seasons.
Theo Walcott scored twice against Swansea and added another in midweek, but was guilty of squandering other chances in both of these games. The lingering suspicion is that he will always lack that truly clinical edge and need multiple chances before getting his goal, but playing alongside the likes of Ozil and Sanchez he gets played in to some great positions. Indeed, Middlesbrough’s left back George Friend has shown a susceptibility to pace, especially against Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha, and with Arsenal’s current form we fancy Walcott to score two or more goals at 7.0.
Middlesbrough have won only one of their eight matches this season, losing four of their last five, and Aitor Karanka will be looking for greater influence from the more talented members of his squad. Neither Alvaro Negredo nor Gaston Ramirez have produced enough in attack, with Cristhian Stuani the only player to deliver consistently for Boro and the only player to score more than once this season. In what should be a routine victory for Arsenal we think the win to nil makes sense at 2.0, with Arsenal having kept a clean sheet in five of their last six matches across all competitions as Koscielny and Mustafi have developed an impressive partnership already.