English Premier League co-leaders Arsenal will be hoping to retain their share of the division lead when they host newly-promoted Middlesbrough at the Emirates Stadium in north London this Saturday, October 22nd. The Gunners were 3-2 winners over Swansea City at home last week even though they were reduced to 10 men in the 70th minute. They then hammered Ludogorets Razgrad 6-0 at home in a European Champions League encounter on Wednesday. Middlesbrough’s last outing resulted in a 1-0 loss at home to Watford last weekend.
Arsenal vs Middlesbrough – 5Dimes Soccer Betting Line:
- 5Dimes currently lists Arsenal as the favorites to win the game at -375 with Middlesbrough +1158 and a draw at +527
Arsenal vs Middlesbrough – Head to Head:
These two clubs last met in the English FA Cup in February of 2015 with Arsenal winning 2-0 at home at the Emirates. Their two previous meetings came in the 2008/09 Premier League season with Arsenal winning 2-0 at home and drawing 1-1 in Middlesbrough. Four of the past seven encounters have been draws. Arsenal has lost just one of the last eight along with three wins and four draws. Middlesbrough has won four of the past 14 games with four draws and six defeats. Overall, these two sides have met 130 times in the past with Arsenal winning 64, losing 34 and drawing the other 32.
Arsenal – A Closer Look:
Arsenal enters the weekend in a first-place tie with Manchester City as both clubs have 19 points, with City having a better goal difference. The Gunners have six wins, a draw and a loss with 19 goals scored and nine allowed. They’ve won six straight Premier League contests as well as seven in a row in all competitions and are unbeaten in their last 11. Their only loss of the season came on opening day when they were downed 4-3 at home by Liverpool. English international forward Theo Walcott is on a roll with a pair of goals against Swansea last week and one more against Ludogorets.
Walcott now has seven goals in his past six contests. German international midfielder Mesut Ozil led the way on Wednesday though with his first career hat trick. As usual, manager Arsene Wenger has a lengthy injury list as midfielders Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey are questionable along with striker Olivier Giroud. Meanwhile, defender Per Mertesacker and forward Danny Welbeck are out with long-term injuries. Defender Carl Jenkinson is recovering from knee surgery and midfielder Granit Xhaka is suspended.
Middlesbrough – A Closer Look:
Middlesbrough enters the match in 17th place in the 20-team league with just six points in eight games. They have one win, three draws and four defeats with seven goals scored and 11 allowed. They’re 13 points behind Arsenal and Manchester City and tied with Stoke City for the last relegation spot. The team is winless in its last six outings under manager Aitor Karanka.
Middlesbrough was beaten by Watford last weekend when Jose Holebas scored in the 54th minute for the visitors on Watford’s first shot on net. The only bright news at the moment for Middlesbrough is the fact they have a relatively healthy squad to choose from on Saturday. The only player on the injury list at the moment is midfielder Grant Leadbitter and he’s not expected back in the lineup until just before Christmas.
Arsenal vs Middlesbrough – Takeaway:
These two teams are heading in separate directions as Arsenal is a serious title challenger and Middlesbrough will have a hard time staying out of the relegation zone. The points are crucial for both squads and Arsenal can’t afford to shoot themselves in the foot with a home loss or draw here.
by Ian S. Palmer