Premier League Soccer Picks: Manchester United vs. Arsenal

Lee Phelps

Thursday, May 14, 2015 10:58 PM GMT

Two old rivals have something to play for this weekend, with Champions League group stage qualification the carrot. William Hill's Lee Phelps is looking at the odds between Manchester United and Arsenal for his free betting pick.

The title is wrapped up and so are the Champions League places, but an easier route to the group stages is still up for grabs. Arsenal and Manchester City occupy those places, but Manchester United are only two points behind the Gunners, although Arsene Wenger’s team do have a game in hand.

 

Manchester United
United need one more point to secure qualification for next season's Champions League, but it’s a formality because they have a 14 superior goal difference than Liverpool, who are six points behind.

The Reds returned to winning ways against Palace at Selhurst Park last weekend after a run of three consecutive defeats, thanks to goals from Juan Mata and Marouane Fellaini. Louis van Gaal's men now have an opportunity to complete a double over Arsenal.

Luke Shaw and Wayne Rooney picked up injuries in the first half of United’s 2-1 win at Palace, but as soccer odds makers know, van Gaal has confirmed both should be fit to face Arsenal. Marcos Rojo is edging closer to a comeback, but no such positive news on Angel Di Maria or Robin van Persie. Michael Carrick and Rafael are both out for the rest of the season.

As usual my eyes are on goals and early ones for Manchester United. They are the second highest scorers at their own stadium in the division, with 40 goals. They have scored 11 goals in five home games against the fellow top seven teams, including four against City and three versus both Liverpool and Tottenham.

Shop for the best Premier League Odds offered by top sportsbooks

Arsenal
Wenger’s team is often criticized for its inability to beat the teams around them. This season they have picked up 13 points from 11 games against the top seven, but only four of those have come away from home. They won at Manchester City and drew at Liverpool.

There is some good news on the injury front with striker Danny Welbeck in contention to face his former club. The 24-year-old has been sidelined for the last two matches but has now returned to full training and could feature at Old Trafford, where he scored the winning goal in the FA Cup quarter-final victory on his first return to the club he left for £16 million last summer.

However, it’s not all good news! Opta-powered fantasy football game www.oulala.com has analysed Welbeck’s stats from both last season at Manchester United and this season at Arsenal and, on the surface, it appears that the striker’s return will benefit his old club more than it will his new after an inconsistent year at the Emirates.

He has played 25 Premier League games this season, the same amount of appearances in the league as he clocked up last season for Manchester United. However, Welbeck has only managed four goals this term, a rate of a goal every 419 minutes. In comparison, his nine goals last season took him 162 minutes to net each one. A big drop from a forward that was already carrying a stigma of not scoring enough goals.

Those nine goals in the red of Manchester United came from just 46 shots, while the North London red has seen his four goals come from a total of 58 shots.

 

Soccer Picks
Regular readers will know I love backing goals from United in the first half at home, with 24 of their 33 coming before the break. Arsenal’s away record shows 18 goals in the opening 45 minutes from a total of 35. I’m playing over 1.5 first half goals with my soccer picks in a match I think will see the home team take the game to the Gunners.

Free Soccer Pick: Over 1.5 first half goals 3.0 (2/1) at William Hill

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":299908, "sportsbooksIds":[43], "LineTypeId":2, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]