Arsenal’s tenacity in front of goal took a step forward last season, failing to net in just four Premier Leauge fixtures, but if they are to deliver on Ladbrokes’ latest special they need more firepower in their front-line.
The bookmakers make it a 66/1 shot that the Gunners find the back of the net in every Premier League fixture in the season ahead, and one Gonzalo Higuain is the man that can make the difference.
The Napoli striker has been constantly linked to a move to England, and while his club’s president has said he will not leave, he did let slip that he has a £66m release clause in his contract, meaning he could still be set to bolster Arsene Wenger’s attack should the Frenchman not baulk at his price tag.
Their tally of scoring in 34 of their 38 top-flight fixtures was the best return in seven years for the Londoners, and marked a third-straight year-on-year increase in front of goal.
Looking closely at the four matches they drew blanks in there is every reason to believe they can go even closer to a full house again in 2015-16.
A 2-0 defeat to Southampton is the one fixture that you can say the three-time Premier League champions frankly didn’t deserve to score as they suffered defeat at St Mary’s with ‘keeper Wojciech Szczesny’s clangers proving their undoing.
That preceded a goalless draw against “Boring Boring Chelsea” in which the champions-in-waiting were more than happy to sit back and play for the draw.
A pelting of the Swansea goal in May in which they had 23 attempts, many of them kept out by former man between the sticks at the Emirates, Lukasz Fabianski, was their penultimate ‘nil’ score of the season.
Another stupendous defensive display, this time from Sunderland in their penultimate Premier League game of the season, kept Arsenal out with the Black Cats securing a point.
So given that three of those four matches could have quite conceivably seen the capital club find the net, they are clearly not far away from a clean sweep.
They have achieved a goal in every match of the season once before in the Premier League era, back in 2001-02.
That season they had a certain Thierry Henry to lead the line, and the signing of original “Fox in the Box” Francis Jeffers to fall back on.
OK, Jeffers didn’t deliver on his early promise, but with Henry and Bergkamp at their brilliant best the Gunners marched to the Premier League title with real ferocity in front of goal.
The arrival of Higuain at Ashburton Grove may be all that is needed for another challenge to Chelsea’s crown, if they can persuade the Italians to sell.
The Argentinean was a real menace up front for Gli Azzuri last season, scoring 18 Serie A goals, his sixth campaign in seven years that he has netted 15 times or more.
With Alexis Sanchez to support him there is no reason to believe the 27-year-old couldn’t push for 20 goals at Arsenal, and in doing so could prove instrumental in helping those optimistic punters to a 66/1 windfall.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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