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Arsenal v West Brom Betting Tips and Boxing Day Multi-Bet

West Bromwich Albion(6-5-6) @ Arsenal(10-4-3)

  • Where: Emirates Stadium. London, England
  • When: December 26, 2016 10:00 am EST
  • Spread: Arsenal -1.5 (-115) vs. West Bromwich Albion +1.5 (+105)
  • Moneyline: Arsenal 3/10 vs. West Bromwich Albion 8/1; Draw 9/2
  • Over / Under: Over 2.5 goals (4/7) vs. Under 2.5 goals (27/20)

Premier League title contenders or top-four pretenders once more? That is the question facing Arsenal as they try to regroup from a bruising week with a tricky Boxing Day match against West Bromwich Albion.

The Gunners (10-4-3) have slipped to fourth in the table, nine points adrift of front-runners Chelsea, after a pair of 2-1 defeats at Everton and Manchester City. Arsenal scored the first goal in both matches, only to be pegged back as their opponents got stuck in and took the match to the London side. The Gunners were second-best in the second half of both defeats, a worrying trend for a team that handed Chelsea one of their two losses on the season.

Manager Arsene Wenger cited fatigue and a daunting fixture list that saw Arsenal play four of five matches on the road, including a Champions League fixture in Switzerland, so the few extra days of rest between the defeat at City and this contest against the Baggies may prove pivotal.

As has been the case of late, the offence continues to flow through Alexis Sanchez (5/2 first/last goal-scorer odds and 8/13 anytime goal-scorer odds at bet365.com) and Theo Walcott (4/1 first/last goal-scorer and 21/20 anytime odds). Sanchez set up Walcott’s goal five minutes into the match at Manchester City, and the Chile international has factored on 18 of Arsenal’s 38 goals with 12 tallies and six assists.

Walcott has three goals in his last five league matches and hit for a first-half hat trick in the 2014-15 home match between the teams as Arsenal ran out comfortable 4-1 winners. Sanchez, who has had a goal or an assist in Arsenal’s last six games in all competitions, had a brace in the other match between the teams, a 2-0 victory in last season’s corresponding fixture. Thus, taking a flyer on either Gunner as an anytime goal-scorer is recommended, with the obvious better return on Walcott the more attractive pick.

West Brom (6-5-6) have done well to punch above their weight in the first half of the season and enter this contest eighth in the table, ahead of Everton on goal difference. The Baggies, though, have dropped two of three after a four-match unbeaten streak following a 2-0 setback to Manchester United last weekend.

Much like their 1-0 defeat to Chelsea, Tony Pulis’ side were resolute on defence but were done in by a world-class player. It was Diego Costa who condemned the Baggies to a loss versus Chelsea, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic took the honors for United with a brace on either side of halftime.

That has been part of the season-long trend for West Bromwich, who are 0-1-4 against teams above them in the table while being outscored 10-2 in those matches. That doesn’t bode well for a Baggies side with just one win in the last 12 matches (1-3-8) between the teams in all competitions and has been outscored 12-1 in losing five on the trot at the Emirates since a 3-2 win in 2010.

While Baggies striker Salomon Rondon is an intriguing anytime goal-scorer option at 13/5 odds, he is a microcosm of his team’s season. The Venezuelan striker has netted all of his team-leading seven goals against teams below the Baggies in the table, and failed to score in any of the matches against the five sides above them.

With the over/under of 2.5 goals, the when of that first goal being scored for Arsenal will be pivotal. The Gunners have scored in the opening 45 minutes in each of their last five league matches, so I advise a Half-time/Full-time punt at bet365 (10/11 odds), which is a far better play than tabbing the Gunners for a victory at Full time at 3/10 odds.

Premier League matchweek 18 multi-bet

Arsenal v West Brom Best BetsFor the other Boxing Day matches, this will be a three-team multi-bet that tips Burnley (15/8) to beat Middlesborough, Manchester United (1/5) to ease past Sunderland and short-handed Chelsea (4/11) to record a 12th straight victory by defeating Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge.

Let’s start with the Clarets, who are a far tougher out at Turf Moor than when they take to the road. Burnley have gotten all but one of their 17 points at home this season and are 5-1-3 at home. Additionally, Eddie Howe’s men are comfortable on the front foot at Turf Moor — they’ve scored 14 of their 16 league goals there. While new boys Middlesbrough have shown some fight outside the Riverside, they’re also winless in seven on the bounce on the road (0-5-2) and have just one clean sheet in their last six there.

Manchester United appear to be on the right track and lurk just four points behind Arsenal for fourth place. The Red Devils have won three straight and are unbeaten in seven (4-3-0) in league play, and facing former manager David Moyes should provide plenty of motivation for those winning ways to continue. It may also be the match to take a punt on Wayne Rooney as an any-time goal-scorer (6/5) to finally equal Sir Bobby Charlton’s all-time goals record at Manchester United.

Though Sunderland’s improved play has lifted them to the top of the drop spots, they are 1-2-13 at Old Trafford in the Premier League era, with that lone victory coming in May 2014 after Moyes was sacked by United.

Facing the Cherries could be a tricky proposition for Antonio Conte since he will be without both star forward Costa and do-everything holding midfielder N’Golo Kante since both will be serving one-match bans for yellow card accumulations. But like most things this season for Chelsea, it falls at an opportune time for the Blues, who are six points clear of Liverpool atop the table and have a chance to set a club record with their 12th consecutive league triumph.

Chelsea have conceded just two goals during their win streak and enter this match having posted three consecutive clean sheets. While Bournemouth did record a famous 1-0 victory in London last season in the dying rages of Jose Mourinho’s failed title defence, Eden Hazard had two goals in a 4-1 victory in the return encounter. That makes the Belgium international a strong anytime goal-scorer play at 7/5 odds.

Chris AltrudaThis article was written by Chris Altruda

Chris Altruda has spent more than two decades as a sportswriter, first for ESPN SportsTicker in Jersey City, New Jersey, where he rose to the level of college sports coordinator and was NCAA Men's Basketball Columnist. From there, he moved onto The Associated Press, where Chris started as an editorial assistant in their MegaSports division in the AP's headquarters in New York City before taking on the role of Scores Manager. He most recently served as an editor for nearly 11 years for STATS' editorial department based in Northbrook, Illinois, writing game previews for all US professional and major college sports as well as the English Premier League and international soccer. Currently a freelancer, Chris is still working the international soccer beat and other assorted projects. A native New Yorker and graduate of Marquette University who still refers to them as the Warriors, Chris is now holding out hope the Jets will reach a Super Bowl in his lifetime since the Cubs proved miracles are possible by winning the 2016 World Series. Chris can be found on Twitter at @AlTruda73

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