|Arsenal to win 2-0||6/1||Bet365|
|Lacazette Anytime Goalscorer||10/13||888Sport|
A draining December schedule will sort out the men from the boys in this season’s Premier League, so Arsenal have no choice but to summon up the energy to see off the Terriers this Saturday afternoon.
Following on from two physically sapping contests against Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United, Unai Emery’s men will be hoping for some light relief at home to Huddersfield Town.
Unfortunately for them, they won’t be handed anything on a plate.
David Wagner’s snappy side is nothing if not spirited, and with the threat of relegation looming large I’m expecting another high-octane effort from the visitors, who rarely roll over without putting up one heck of a fight.
The way they pressed and hunted in packs to unsettle Wolverhampton Wanderers a couple of weeks back is the blueprint the Yorkshiremen are likely to follow at Emirates Stadium.
Whether they are good enough to pull off an upset remains to be seen, but I suspect they will have their moments.
Fifteen games in, and Arsenal are still waiting for their first taste of a half-time lead. The situation is beginning to feel like a jinx!
What’s in their favour this weekend is the fact that Huddersfield Town are slow-starters themselves.
Conceding 17 first half goals (the most in the division) Wagner’s side are one of very few Premier League outfits who tend to tighten up after half time.
They have only scored two second half goals, which is a worry, but the nine goals they have leaked between 45 and 90 minutes is only bettered by six top flight teams.
For this reason I like the chances of an Arsenal/Arsenal forecast coming in on Saturday afternoon at 5/6 (BetHard).
Providing the North Londoners start with the right attitude and a decent tempo this should be the day they break this really strange sequence.
If you study his performance levels this term it was harsh of Emery to leave Alexandre Lacazette on the bench for the last two matches, but the importance of having a plan B to unleash from the bench is vital to Arsenal’s new head coach.
In this contest I see the Frenchman being handed a start, either alongside Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang or in place of him.
Lacazette is in good shape, and looks hungry for goals, so I would certainly be interested in selecting him as first goalscorer at 29/10 (888Sport).
Midfield maestro Granit Xhaka will also return from suspension, with Lucas Torreira possibly given a rest, and the Swiss playmaker has impressed me greatly this term.
In this encounter I’d expect Xhaka to see plenty of the ball, and for him to push on a little more often than usual, so don’t be surprised if he unleashes a goal bound strike with that hammer left boot.
Xhaka at 22/5 (888Sport) to score anytime is a tempting side bet.
Keeping clean sheets hasn’t been easy for the Gunners, and although I’d favour them to manage it this weekend (last season they beat the Terriers 5-0 and 1-0) I don’t know if the Evens (Genting Bet) on Winning to Nil is worth the risk.
If Huddersfield Town do breach them, the source is likely to be a set piece.
Wagner’s men have grabbed six of their ten league goals from corners and free kicks, with just four open play goals netted in 15 matches; a pretty pitiful return.
So if you’re seeking value in the scorers’ market, tall defenders Matias Jorgensen (13.25), Chris Schindler (13.25) and Terence Kongolo (23.00) are all worth consideration with K8.
You can make good money by backing the underdogs to end Arsenal’s long 20-match unbeaten streak, but even at 10/1 (Sport Nation) I don’t give Huddersfield too much hope of slaying the Gunners.
The Draw with a +2 Handicap for the Terriers comes in at 3/1 with Bet365, and I do see plenty of takers at that price.
Six of their nine losses have been by margins of two goals or less.
To me the standout score line is 2-0 to Arsenal.
Five of their home wins have been by two goals, and I don’t know if they will have the energy levels or inclination to push on for a flood of strikes even if they do get their noses in front early.
As outlined earlier, Huddersfield are also defensively better the longer games wear on.
My pick is a 2-0 home win with Lacazette scoring anytime. You can get 12.00 with Red Bet on that scenario playing out.
This may not turn out to be a vintage display, or one that lingers long in the memory bank, but I am confident the Gunners will prevail.