Everton had their most disappointing result of the season last weekend as they were well beaten at home by a Man Utd team they’d enjoyed a good recent run against and things won’t get any easier this week as they make the trip south to North London. Arsenal have won their last three matches by three clear goals and have also added a European win over Bayern to fully justify the faith we had in tipping them for the title this season.
Everton are proving a tricky team to predict this season as three times they’ve scored three goals but on four occasions they’ve failed to score at all. They’ve had a fairly settled side so far this term so that can not be blamed for this inconsistency but looking at the calibre of opposition we start to see a clearer trend. The four times they’ve fired blanks have been against the two Manchester clubs and away at Spurs and Swansea – all definitely in the toughest half of matches they’ll face this season. In fact it’s been a tough opening quarter of the season for the Toffees and they should be fairly confident of moving up from their current ninth position. However, their recent record against the top teams suggests they will have to wait a week before starting that improvement. In the past two seasons they’ve picked up just two points from 11 trips to top-six finishers as they’ve scored only five times. They are rarely turned over, however, and six of those losses were by just a one-goal margin while only one was by more than two. The head-to-head between the teams also highlights that robustness as four of their six meetings since 2012/13 have finished all-square.
The improving Gunners will expect to change that though, but at 1.44 they do look a touch skinny and we’d put the handicap line at just a single goal rather than the -1.25 that is being quoted. That being said, the last two teams to go to the Emirates have been Bayern Munich and Man Utd and both left well beaten and maybe the match outcome is best left alone.
Instead the goals market looks much better value. Seven of those previously mentioned 11 Everton trips to top-six finishers had fewer than three goals with none of the last eight having more than three and we know they usually struggle to score against the best teams (they did score three against Chelsea but that’s a different story). Arsenal have five clean sheets in their last seven matches and six of their last eight at home have had fewer than three goals. Furthermore, against teams that have finished 5th-11th in the past two seasons nine of their 14 home games have had fewer than three strikes. Of course given this and the fact they are likely winners this brings in the Correct Score chances for 1-0 and 2-0 at 17/2 and 8/1 respectively with perhaps a saver on the 2-1 at 17/2 worth considering.
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