Manchester United and Arsenal to go over line again

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Manchester United versus Arsenal at Old Trafford is the big game of the English Premier League round and Sunday’s match throws up the most attractive betting opportunity as well.

The bet in which one is interested is over two and a half goals at odds of -120 with BetVictor and Bwin. First, there is the statistical data. Twenty-one of Manchester United’s 36 English Premier League games have gone over two and a half goals, including a division-high 13 of its 18 home matches. Twenty-three of Arsenal’s 35 English Premier League games have gone over two and a half goals – only Tottenham has a higher ratio – including 11 of its 18 away matches.

Second, there is the head-to-head ledger. Manchester United and Arsenal have met twice this season and both games went over two and a half goals – the Red Devils won 2-1 at the Emirates Stadium in the English Premier League and the Gunners won 2-1 at Old Trafford in the English FA Cup.

Third, there is the situational argument. Barring a major change in goal difference, Manchester United has qualified for the UEFA Champions League via the English Premier League and now its objective must be to catch Arsenal and thereby go straight into the group stage. So one expects Manchester United to throw the kitchen sink at Arsenal because anything less than a home win is not going to help the Red Devils in their quest. And one expects Arsenal to fight with fire, not least because it has back-to-back English Premier League home matches versus Sunderland and West Bromwich on which to fall back if it drops below Manchester United on the ladder.

It is the situational aspect of the English Premier League game between Southampton and Aston Villa on Saturday that makes one think that over two and a half goals at odds of +100 with several bookmakers, including Bet365 and Boylesports, represents the next best bet on the coupon.

One cannot make a purely statistical case for this punt – only 13 of Southampton’s 36 English Premier League matches have gone over two and a half goals, including seven of its 18 home games, while just 15 of Aston Villa’s 36 divisional matches have gone over two and a half goals, including six of its 18 away games. But one thinks that there is a good argument for expecting Southampton and Aston Villa to go for each’s other jugular vein in their St Mary’s showdown.

Southampton’s UEFA Europa League qualification dream may blow up in its face unless it accrue three points from its last English Premier League home match of its unexpectedly successful season, while Aston Villa has all but secured its top-flight status thanks to a attack-minded approach since Tim Sherwood replaced Paul Lambert as Villans manager in February. Seven of Aston Villa’s 11 English Premier League games under Sherwood have gone over two and a half goals.

Finally, another English Premier League situational pick is Sunday’s match between Swansea and Manchester City to go over two and a half goals at odds of -149 with numerous bookmakers, including Betfred and SkyBet.

Three consecutive English Premier League victories have put Swansea in with a shot of qualifying for UEFA Europa League so one thinks that the Swans will have a red-hot crack at Manchester City, which is easily the division’s top scorer.

Although the English Premier League data does not yell two and a half goals from the rooftops when it comes to this clash, the reverse fixture resulted in a 2-1 home win for Manchester City over Swansea – Wilfried Bony scored for the Swans a couple of months before moving to the Citizens.

Tips Summary

Man Utd v Arsenal Over 2.5 goals
17th May 16:00 GMT
Odds:  -120
Where to Bet: BetVictor, Bwin

Southampton v Aston Villa Over 2.5 goals
16th May 12:45 GMT
Odds:  +100
Where to Bet: Bet365, Boylesports

Swansea v Manchester City 2.5 goals
17th May 13:30 GMT
Odds:  -149
Where to Bet: BetfredSkyBet

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