Saturday, November 28, 2020

Prediction: Arsenal vs Dundalk

Verdict: Arsenal to win both halves

Best Odds: 4/6

Bookmaker: Unibet

Desperate to make a return to winning ways on Thursday night, Arsenal will turn their attention back to Europa League duties when Irish outfit Dundalk come to North London.

Arsenal

Starting with the hosts, while the mood in Arsenal’s camp might have been at a real high as they lifted both the FA Cup and the Community Shield over the summer, the Gunners now find themselves in the midst of a sluggish patch. Hit with a late 1-0 defeat at home against Leicester over the weekend, it appears that Mikel Arteta is now firmly out of his honeymoon period in North London. Dropping out of the top half of the Premier League table and appearing someway off securing a Champions League return this time around, Pep Guardiola’s former right-hand man has seen his new squad lose three of their last four top-flight appearances. While the midweek hosts might have managed to avoid a real Europa League scare on their travels last week as they came from behind to grab a 2-1 win against Rapid Wien, Arsenal fans have been open about their side’s extended issues at the back. Along with failing to record a clean sheet in any of their last four appearances on the bounce, the Gunners also have just a sole Premier League clean sheet to their name so far this season.

Team News

With David Luiz limping off with an injury over the week, it looks like Shkodran Mustafi will replace the Brazilian at the heart of Arsenal’s defence.

Also pushing for a start on Thursday, Eddie Nketiah should lead the line and the likes of Cedric Soares, Mohamed Elneny and Reiss Nelson could feature.

Dundalk

As for the visitors, although Dundalk might have stormed their way to the Irish Premier Division last season, the Reds have rather drastically failed to match that level in what has been a disappointing campaign for the Lilywhites. Already sat 13 points adrift of runaway leaders Shamrock Rovers despite making two more top-flight appearances, many were surprised to see the unknown Filippo Giovagnoli take over at Oriel Park. With what has been a string of issues behind the scenes, Dundalk were last seen over the weekend getting hit with a shock 1-0 loss away at Waterford and they have now managed to win just one of their last four matchups across all competitions. Rightfully seen as a landslide pick on what is a famous trip to North London on Thursday evening, it should also be noted that the Irish outfit were hit with Europa League heartbreak in their opener against Molde last week. Despite taking a 1-0 lead on home soil, they slumped to a late 2-1 defeat and should be in for another overwhelming test on foreign soil.

Team News

Number one keeper Gary Rogers looks set to return between the sticks in North London.

Defender Dane Massey is still dealing with a hip injury.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Including a 1-0 defeat against Leicester over the weekend, Arsenal have lost three of their last four Premier League contests.
  • The Gunners have also managed to record just a single top-flight clean sheet since opening the New Year.
  • Dundalk have managed to win just one of their last four matchups across all formats, including a 2-1 defeat against Molde in their Europa League opener last week.
  • Seven of Arsenal’s last eight Europa League contests at the Emirates have seen over 2.5 goals by the final whistle.
  • Dundalk have drawn a blank in four of their last five Irish Premier Division appearances.

Conclusion

While Arsenal might still find themselves in the midst of what has been an extended Premier League blip, there is no doubt that the Gunners will be hugely confident of making a much-needed return to winning ways on Thursday night. Managing to come from behind and grab a late 2-1 win away at Rapid Wien last week, Mikel Arteta’s men should be in for a far more routine night’s work in North London. Up against a Dundalk side that are seen as a landslide underdog and enduring what has been a torrid domestic run so far this season, Arsenal will be looking to cash in and find a morale-boost. In a contest that could see a flood of goals in the capital, we’re backing a free-scoring night at the Emirates.

Verdict: Arsenal to win both halves

Best Odds: 4/6

Bookmaker: Unibet

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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