Danny Welbeck’s pesky last-knockings equaliser against Hull spared Arsenal’s blushes in the Premier League last time out, but denied this author from predicting a Tigers victory at handsome 7/1 odds. Flippin’ Welbz, he’s not meant to be scoring goals.
Anyway, the theory behind such a brash tip was that Arsenal’s injury problems, specifically at the back, would render them mere mortals in a clash they would otherwise dominate. As the Gunners travel to Anderlecht in the Champions League, that school of thought remains.
The number of absentees for Arsene Wenger isn’t quite as dizzying this time, with Aaron Ramsey and Theo Walcott both available again after lay-offs, but the lack of recoveries in the defensive ranks still makes for a worrying case.
Most disconcerting of all is that the tussle-loving French boss is down to his third-choice keeper, Emiliano Martinez, for an encounter that Ladbrokes think the north London side should win at 4/5.
The 22-year-old will make his long-awaited debut for the Gunners in Belgium, having signed for the club as a youth in 2010, and is sure to be nervous with only 12 senior appearances to his name from loan spells with Oxford and Sheffield Wednesday.
In-front of Martinez the wobbly tripod of Nacho Monreal, Per Mertesacker and Mathieu Flamini which failed the test against Hull is sure to be troubled again against the Pro League holders.
Calum Chambers can return to add stability, but Wenger must decide whether he displaces unnatural centre-back Monreal in the middle or the green Hector Bellerin on the right.
Such troubles boil down to make the 1/1 on Anderlecht in the double chance market a particularly pleasing price, with 7/2 available on a Purple and White win for those feeling more confident in the outcome.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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