Two or three of the Premier League’s elite teams can claim to have endured a horror start to 2014/15, but after eight rounds of fixtures it is Arsenal who currently find themselves furthest behind in the expectations game.
Their 2-2 draw when hosting Hull, which was only procured thanks to a last-minute equaliser from Danny Welbeck, means Arsenal have won just once in the top flight since an opening day 2-1 victory at home to Crystal Palace, against whom they also had to come from behind.
While punters may be wary of going off a team that has achieved this feat in each of the last 17 campaigns, it may pay to row behind Louis van Gaal’s men before their Hawthorns clash with West Brom.
A 7/10 United win would see them shoot three points ahead of the Gunners, despite Van Gaal’s shaky start in charge at Old Trafford, which saw the 13-time title winners fail to win any of their first four all-competition fixtures.
The Red Devils have won three of their last four Premier League games while their defenders dropped like flies; over the last two matches Marcos Rojo has been the only available senior centre-half, and he only signed in September.
With backline reinforcements trickling through from the treatment room, and over £100m of attacking talent bedding in further forward, United look poised to hold their ground under the ‘Iron Tulip’ as the season progresses.
Even Liverpool rate a better bet than Arsenal right now, as Brendan Rodgers’ side have overcome injuries and dreadful form to take six points from their last two top-flight outings, despite looking far from convincing against either West Brom or QPR.
Arsenal are clearly light in deep midfield, but with only questionable trio Abou Diaby, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini realistically available to play there, Wenger can’t get to January quickly enough.
Of course, with matches against United and Liverpool to come before then, plus a trip to bogey side Stoke, they could be out of the top-four picture completely by the time Christmas is over.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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