Hull v Arsenal - Saturday 15:00
Arsenal’s match against Southampton last weekend saw the return of Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin as the midfield axis. It was noticeable last season that the demise of their title challenge began when the former got injured, as they lack another player capable of controlling the tempo of the game from deep. His last minute penalty in a man of the match performance at home to Southampton saved Arsenal from falling further behind in this season’s title race, and prevented them from picking up what would have been just one point from a possible six at home.
Hull also found themselves scoring late on to rescue a point at Burnley, though Mike Phelan of course has plenty of experience of “Fergie Time” from his days at Man Utd. The Tigers now have a very respectable seven points from a possible 12, and thus the pressure is really on the visiting team to find the breakthrough in this game. With this in mind, Arsene Wenger will have been pleased by new centre-half Shkodran Mustafi’s willingness to receive the ball. The World Cup winner may need time to form a complete understanding with Laurent Koscielny, but he had more touches and passes than anyone on the pitch, often finding himself in possession just inside their opponents half.
In Europe it was a familiar story for Arsenal where they created unnecessary problems for themselves before Alexis Sanchez salvaged a point for them after sustained pressure in the second half.
They were fortunate that it was the profligate Edison Cavani on the end of PSG’s chances rather than Zlatan, and they’ll be lucky to keep clean sheets with defending like that against most teams. Indeed, the Gunners have kept just one clean sheet in all competitions this season and as a result we’re backing Arsenal to win and both teams to score at 3.55.