Which is the more reliable gauge; history or the formbook?
If its what you’ve seen with your eyes of late that sways your judgement, you’ll believe Arsenal are wrongly installed as 2/1 underdogs.
Unbeaten since the opening day, and with just one Premier League defeat in 21 away trips this year, the North Londoners will rock up at Old Trafford feeling bright, breezy, and brimming with self-belief.
They are producing classier football than Manchester United, and will play for the win.
Aside from a set piece rout at home to Leicester City we’ve not really seen Manchester United hit top groove, and they must do without the suspended Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
That said Marcus Rashford will make Arsenal feel twitchy.
The teenager bagged a brace in this fixture last February, leading them a merry dance, and as an 11/2 shot to score either the first or last goal, he’s priced up attractively.
Remember, this is Rashford’s big chance to prove to Jose Mourinho he’s a number nine, not a winger.
If past results influence your thinking, you’ll ignore what’s happened so far, and side with the hosts.
Manchester United have the Indian sign over the Gunners at Old Trafford, and as Wenger is ever-so-gently reminded each year, he’s yet to beat Jose Mourinho in 11 feisty Premier League encounters.
In fact, the last six times (excluding the Community Shield) Wenger has encountered his nemesis, Arsenal have failed to score.
The Portuguese boss knows how to nullify the Gunners, so 21/10 for under 0.5 Arsenal goals may look appealing to some.
With no love lost between the two gaffers and a raucous atmosphere guaranteed, I sense a red card could swing this contest one way or the other too. It’s no surprise to see the combative Francis Coquelin and Granit Xhaka as the lowest-priced 20/1 shots to be sent off. Both men must tread carefully and show discipline.
My own view is that Arsenal are now good enough, and resolute enough mentally, to lay down a marker by winning at Old Trafford. They will take a draw, but they’re capable of better.
The Premier League’s two most popular results so far in 2016-17 are the most likely outcomes.
You can get 1-1 at 27/5 (17% of games this season have finished that way) or 1-2 (9%) at a healthier looking 19/2.
Whatever happens, you won’t want to miss it. This clash will tell us plenty about what each club can achieve this term.
Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham
On the eve of his 50th Premier League game in charge of West Ham United, some might say it was a touch defeatist of Slaven Bilic to confess this week that he thinks they are in a relegation battle, but you have to applaud his honesty.
The Hammers shouldn’t be anywhere near the drop zone, but I concur with the Croatian’s thoughts. With injuries galore and morale damaged, it could be a long hard winter ahead.
Bilic actually won 1-0 at White Hart Lane on his Premier League debut as a West Ham player in 1996, and will be plotting a repeat. With Spurs short on goals, and the West Ham chief a wily tactician, what price a shock repeat on Saturday night?
At 16/1 don’t dismiss the chances of a 0-1 score line completely.
It’s hard not to fancy Mauricio Pochettino’s men though.
Shipping just two goals at home all season, using a well-constructed blend of power and skill to dominate opponents, they should have too much strength for the Hammers.
It will probably be a typically fraught derby-type contest early on, but Tottenham’s superior quality should help them kick on after half time. Therefore the Draw/Spurs forecast looks decent value at 16/5.
Who’ll be the star of the show?
After a mini-drought of sorts, I have a hunch this might be Son Heung-Min’s day to return to form. The South Korean has the pace to destroy West Ham’s new five-man rearguard, and is a 41/10 chance to open the scoring.
What are the best football odds this weekend?
Friday 7:45pm: Brighton vs Villa
Glenn Murray 11/2 (from 19/5)
Jordan Ayew 12/1 (from 8/1)
Saturday 12:30: Man Utd vs Arsenal
Marcus Rashford 13/2 (from 11/2)
Alexis Sanchez 7/1 (from 11/2)
Saturday 5:30pm: Spurs vs West Ham
Harry Kane 4/1 (from 37/13)
Dimitri Payet 13/1 (from 21/2)
Sunday 1:15pm: Leeds vs Newcastle
Dwight Gayle 4/1 (from 57/17)
Chris Wood 7/1 (from 6/1)
Sunday 4pm: Middlesbrough vs Chelsea
Alvaro Negredo 12/1 (from 10/1)
Eden Hazard 11/2 (from 22/5)
Image Credits: Flickr (Creative Commons – Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0))