The end is nigh for Arsene Wenger. The Frenchman took charge of his final Arsenal game at the Emirates on Sunday, a 5-0 win which secured a sixth-place finish for the Gunners. That is significant in as much as it brings a spot in the Europa League group stage and means the north London outfit will not have to take part in the qualifiers in July, but there is no doubt that 2017/18 has been a disappointing campaign.
Wenger’s hopes of going out on a high by winning this season’s edition of the Europa League were dashed last week, when Atletico Madrid’s 1-0 victory at the Wanda Metropolitano earned them a place in the final against Marseille.
Arsenal’s failure to reach the showpiece in Lyon means Wednesday’s trip to Leicester City will be Wenger’s penultimate game in charge of the club he first joined back in 1996 (the Foxes, incidentally, have made 16 permanent managerial appointments since the 68-year-old first arrived at Highbury).
There is likely to be an end-of-term feel to this game, so it would be wise for Premier League betting enthusiasts to back goals at the King Power Stadium. Leicester’s season has tailed off dismally, with Claude Puel coming under pressure after a run of one draw and four losses in their last five Premier League outings.
Their latest defeat came at home to West Ham United, who scored either side of half-time on Saturday to deservedly triumph 2-0 against a side who may yet finish in the bottom half of the table. It is hard not to have a little sympathy with Puel, largely because this Leicester squad has developed a habit of kicking up a fuss when things are not going well.
A strained relationship between manager and players may not be the sole reason for the East Midlanders’ poor run of form, but it will certainly not have helped matters, while the fact that Leicester’s Europa League hopes ended a few weeks ago means motivation is likely to be low ahead of two tricky looking encounters against north London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham.
There is still some hope for the Foxes, however, not least in terms of their upcoming opponents’ dismal record on the road. Arsenal have lost all six of their away games in the league in 2018, with their last victory at a ground other than their own coming back in late December when they edged out Crystal Palace 3-2.
Remarkably, only four teams in the division have collected fewer points on their travels than Arsenal, whose 17 matches have brought just three wins and four draws. In that light, Leicester should not be fearful ahead of Wednesday’s clash.
That is not to say Arsenal should be taken lightly by football betting fans; regardless of their meek performances away from home for much of the season, this is a team featuring several highly gifted players who will not want to end the campaign on a whimper.
Mesut Ozil could be a particularly key figure here, with the Germany international likely to thrive in the spaces that will probably be left in behind midfield duo Vicente Iborra and Hamza Choudhury, particularly as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s pace will force Wes Morgan and Harry Maguire to defend close to their own penalty area.
Leicester, though, have the attacking quality to pose a significant threat of their own, even if they did not show it in recent defeats by Crystal Palace and West Ham. Jamie Vardy has enjoyed a terrific season, scoring more goals (17) than all but four Premier League players, and the England international’s speed has caused Arsenal’s backline problems in the past.
Vardy is an expert at sniffing out chances and applying pressure high up the pitch, and the fact that the Gunners defence is susceptible to switching off at key moments could leave the Leicester man licking his lips. Riyad Mahrez is another player who has the talent to make the difference, particularly if he is able to drift infield and peel off Granit Xhaka between the lines.
With all that in mind, we could be in store for a high-scoring affair at the King Power. 888sport offer 6/11 on both teams to find the back of the net, but the better value option is the 24/13 price provided by the same bookmaker on over 3.5 goals in total. BetBright have odds of 31/20 available on that wager, while an Arsenal win in a game featuring more than 3.5 goals is offered at 33/10.
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