Arsenal can halt recent dip in form with Champions League win against Sevilla
Arsenal can steady the ship by beating Sevilla.
Mikel Arteta has a huge problem threatening to derail Arsenal’s season and it has nothing to do about the rights and wrongs of VAR.
The trouble is that it’s not working out as well as it should. There wouldn’t have been the ballyhoo about triple VAR checks if Raya hadn’t flapped at the cross which led to Anthony Gordon’s goal and he also made mistakes when trying to play the ball out from the back against Manchester City and West Ham.
Arteta’s reluctance to splash out on a quality striker can also be questioned as his side lack a ruthless finisher to convert their exciting build up play.
Surely they will surely spend big to bring in a player of the calibre of Ivan Toney, who is being touted to leave Brentford, in the January transfer window.
Arsenal need a spark as they were outfought, outthought and outplayed at Newcastle with the defeat hot on the heels of the Carabao Cup exit at West Ham.
They now face a Sevilla side used to passing the test in crunch matches and last year’s Europa League winners will be smarting at the 2-1 defeat they suffered in the reverse fixture in Spain a fortnight ago.
Despite the recent dip in form, though, Arsenal are in fine overall fettle and even a point from their opponents from LaLiga should be enough to put them on the cusp of a place in the last 16 in the Champions League.
They will want to go into next month’s draw as one of the top seeds, however, and a win against the Spaniards would help them repel the threat from Lens, who beat the north London club in France on match-day two.
Sevilla have won just one of their last eight matches but five of those games have ended in draws so it’s tempting to back them at 19/4 with SpreadEx and Sky Bet for the draw.
However, while Arsenal don’t really justify being 1/3 favourites they will be fired up by their sense of injustice at St James’ Park and will go hell for leather from the start with all guns blazing. Coral’s 19/20 for them to lead HT/FT looks to be the bet.
Bukayo Saka is 6/1 with BoyleSports to open the scoring and send the home side to a 2-1 victory which is 8/1 with William Hill.
• Manchester United lived precariously in Saturday’s 1-0 victory against Fulham after also riding their good fortune when beating Copenhagen by the same score at Old Trafford a fortnight ago. The Danes are worth a dabble to win at 19/5 with BetUK and to win with a goal start at 21/20 in bet365’s handicap market.
• Ben Stokes is 8/1 with Paddy Power and Betfair to be the top run scorer when England face Netherlands in their Cricket World Cup match in Pune.