Mark O’Haire looks to continue his recent hot streak with a selection from Wednesday night’s crucial Premier League action.
It was a welcome and timely return from this column on Saturday as all three selections from across the continent copped. Augsburg did the business in the Bundesliga, sending Stuttgart to the cleaners to scoop a home success, as well as Over 2.5 Goals at kind prices.
Bologna continued their newfound lease of life with a comfortable victory over a limp Sampdoria side in Italy to bank Over 2.5 Goals profit. Following last midweek’s clean sweep in the Champions League, I’m hoping for another strong showing from Wednesday’s domestic card.
WOLVES CAN EXCEL AGAINST LEAGUE’S ELITE
Wolves have taken a solitary point from their two Premier League tussles since losing a two-goal lead in the FA Cup semi-final and suffering heartbreaking elimination at Wembley. But whilst their no-show at Southampton cost them a 3-1 reverse last weekend, Nuno Espirito Santo’s side deserved much more than a goalless draw at home to Brighton on Saturday.
Dropping to ninth in the standings, the Old Gold felt it was definitely two dropped points in their quest to be the ‘best of the rest’ by finishing seventh. With a reputation for struggling to breakdown low defensive blocks, Wanderers played up to that stereotype during a first half they dominated throughout without managing a shot on target.
Even so, Wolves never looked likely to surrender an unbeaten home record that stretches back to 2nd January, and created enough opportunities and openings to seal a vital victory. Diogo Jota came closest when he headed against a post as Nuno’s troops generated 2.76 Expected Goals (xG) at Molineux, the most in the Premier League this weekend.
Whilst Wolves have collected just W3-D2-L6 against the bottom-six since promotion – 1.00 point-per-game – Wednesday night’s hosts have put together a string of impressive efforts against the division’s Big Six. The Old Gold have returned W3-D4-L3 against the Premier League’s big guns – 1.30 points-per-game with only Liverpool and Manchester City picking up maximum points by a margin of two goals or more in that sample.
GUNNERS EASILY OPPOSED ON THE ROAD
Such a streak should encourage home supporters this midweek against an Arsenal outfit that saw their hopes of a top-four finish dented by a surprise home defeat to Crystal Palace on Sunday. The Gunners 10-match winning league run at Emirates Stadium was ended by a 3-2 loss, a result that sees Unai Emery’s loosen their grip on fourth.
Not for the first time this season, an awful defensive performance was to blame for Arsenal. The marking for Christian Benteke’s goal was non-existent, Shkodran Mustafi’s failed attempt to block Wilfried Zaha ended in embarrassment and a second Palace goal, while James McArthur was also left unmarked to head home the third.
The Gunners monopolised possession but it required a double change at half-time to help them get back on level terms before relinquishing control again and being unable to restore parity as time ran out. Now the capital club must take to the road again on Wednesday where Arsenal have struggled to string positive performances together domestically.
The Gunners have claimed top honours in only six of 16 away days – three of those arriving against the bottom three. If exclude the current bottom-three, Arsenal’s road record reads a paltry W3-D4-L6 and the visitors have only managed to keep a sole shutout on the road.
Incredibly, since the start of last season, Arsenal have lost 17/35 (49%) of their away Premier League games, with that aforementioned disastrous defensive return deeply concerning. With Sokratis’ suspended, options are also limited at the back as Emery’s men bid for only a sixth away Premier League clean sheet since the beginning of 2017/18.
There’s a decent case to be made to oppose Arsenal this midweek and odds of 1.81 on Wolves with a +0.25 Asian Handicap start appeal. The Old Gold are ranked above their guests in the xG and xG from open play ratio rankings and are well capable of picking up at least a point in their quest for seventh spot.
- Wolves +0.25 – 2 units @ 1.81