Arsenal return to the Emirates after mixed results away from home against league leaders Manchester City and Aston Villa in recent weeks. While the gunners recorded a win and a loss in those two fixtures, the form shown by Arsenal looks strong and no doubt the likes of Van Persie would be expected to bag all three points against a Wolves team that is lying a lowly 17th on the Premier League ladder.
A major talking point coming into this fixture has been the sensational form of captain Robin van Persie in 2011 and his attempt to break Alan Shearer’s record of 36 goals in a calendar year, with this match being the Dutchman’s second to last tie in 2011. So far Van Persie has scored a remarkable 34 goals in 34 games and needs 3 more goals to surpass the record of and cement his place in history.
On the defensive front, with Wenger stating that Djourou has little chance of returning at right-back for this match, it seems likely that Coquelin will return to his unfavoured position. The Frenchman had a poor game last week against Aston Villa and will definitely have to improve his positioning and general play in a position he is not really familiar with.
Staying on the topic of defence, with Wenger confirming Gibbs will be out for an additional month due to surgery it is likely Vermaelen will start at left full-back with Mertesacker and Koscielny paired up in the middle of defence. The make-shift defence seems like the only chance Wolves will have in stealing some valuable points in their relegation battle, but it is expected that Arsenal will easily bag all three points.
on the Wolves game…
Johan Djourou has a little chance to come back for the Wolves game. Apart from that nobody got injured the other night against Aston Villa but we had bad news yesterday for Kieran Gibbs, who had surgery on his left groin. He will be out for a month.
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on Kieran Gibbs…
It was a blow but first what is important is that if he cannot play you have to make the decision that we had to make and arrange surgery for him. Hopefully it will only be one month because Santos will not come back before March.
on Bacary Sagna’s return to training…
You could see that he’s a bit ahead of schedule. We have to [be careful] but physically he will be ready very quickly because he worked very hard in the gym. We think the end of January is a reasonable target for him.
Arsenal – Robin van Persie – The flying Dutchman has been impressive form this calendar year and will look to continue his fine form and break Alan Shearer’s record of 36 goals in a calendar year..
Wolves – Steven Fletcher – The Scotsman has been Wolves’ biggest source of goals and will look to trouble Arsenal’s makeshift defence.
Coquelin Mertesacker Koscielny Vermaelen
Walcott Van Persie (c) Gervinho
With Song serving his suspension last week, expect the Cameroon midfielder to slot straight into midfield after Frimpong’s disappointing performance against Aston Villa. The back-line should be the same as the one used against Aston Villa with Wenger confirming Gibbs and Djourou are out with injury.
Arsenal to win:
Skybet, Paddypower are all offering odds of 2/9 for the Gunners to win at home.
Paddypower also have the highest paying odds for a draw at 5/1.
Wolves to win:
Skybet are paying out a massive 14/1 for Wolves to win away at the Emirates.
allArsenal’s Special Bet:
allArsenal’s Special Bet: Correct score–Arsenal to win 3-0 =13/2.
*Special bet facts:
The Gunners have won the last seven matches at home against Wolves and haven’t lost to the Midlanders since a 2-3 defeat at Highbury in September 1979.
The Gunners have won six and lost none of their last seven Premier League games at home and have never lost a midweek Premier League game at the Emirates (W10 D2).
Wolves have lost all six of their eight away games in the league this season.
Wolves have conceded 32 goals this season, the third most in the division, and are currently placed one spot above the relegation zone. Their defence has been extremely slack at times, so expect them to concede a few against a high flying Gunners side at home (if Van Persie starts).