Premier League Update from the Trading Floor

The English Premier League is back to full speed following a quieter-than-usual January. February helps kick the campaign back into gear, with a hectic few weeks ahead for soccer fans, players, coaches, and all those concerned with making the EPL the best league in the world. The scene is set for a grandstand finish, and Arsenal is right in the mix after opening February with a huge win over table-toppers Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium.

This time last year, Arsenal fans were optimistic about continuing their 2022/23 form through winter and into spring to challenge for the Premier League crown. Unfortunately, a drop in the Gunners’ form coincided with an impressive fightback from Manchester City, who soon hit the front and went on to win the league title. It was a bitterly disappointing end to a campaign that offered so much promise for Mikel Arteta’s side, and fans hoped they’d never have to sit through the pain of another near-miss this year.

Fast forward to winter 2024, and Arsenal is right back in the hunt for silverware, pushing hard for the Premier League trophy. Gambling apps allowing members to make soccer bet picks and predictions believe the Gunners are worthy contenders, offering them as one of the current favorites to win the title. But will Arsenal live up to the demands of their loyal support and finally regain the Premier League trophy? That remains undecided, but sports fans worldwide can’t wait to find out.

Gunners aiming high

When it comes to choosing the best Arsenal performance of the season, fans are spoiled for choice. The Gunners have impressed throughout the campaign, climbing into the top four early in the season and contesting pole position. They’ve given followers many reasons to cheer since the curtain went up back in the summer, and regulars at the Emirates hope there’s more to come. They dream of becoming kings of English soccer and making up for the pain of last season’s near-miss and runners-up finish behind Man City.

A check on the Premier League table following the first round of results in February shows Arsenal sits in third place, with their stats for the season to date showing 15 wins, four draws, and four defeats with 47 goals scored and just 22 conceded. When looking closely at those numbers, we note Arsenal is the lowest scorer of the top five teams in the league, with Manchester United in sixth, scoring 31 goals. That shows the Gunners must be more ruthless in attack if they are to sustain pressure on the leaders. The 22 goals conceded is the joint-best defense in the league with Liverpool.

Arteta and his troops opened February with that stunning home win over Liverpool on Sunday 4th, February. Saka opened the scoring inside 14 minutes that day in North London, but Jurgen Klopp’s visitors responded with an own-goal from Gabriel to ensure a 1-1 draw at the break. It was a case of which team would play better in the second 45 to win the match, and Arsenal had the character needed. Martinelli scored on 67 minutes to put this team back in front before a stoppage-time strike from Trossard put the game to bed. 

Bookies’ reaction

Will Arsenal do as fans hope and win the 2023/24 Premier League title? Only time will tell, but we can get an idea of what to expect from the remainder of the campaign by looking at the current betting. Traders working at the leading sportsbooks in London and across Europe offer odds on the EPL winner. Their quotes make no difference to the results, of course, and bookies have been famously wrong in the past, but it’s fair to say the industry is correct more than it’s wrong.

What do they make of the Gunners’ hopes? Looking at the updated EPL outright betting odds following Arsenal’s dramatic but deserved win over Liverpool, we see traders stick with their initial thoughts and make Man City the red-hot favorites. The Cityzens are priced as the most likely winner of the trophy, ahead of second favorites Liverpool, with Arsenal third in the betting and Spurs fourth. 

That means the gambling industry thinks Arsenal is the third most likely team to win the league, with a probability of around 12.5%. That’s not great, but, as mentioned, the betting odds don’t change results and form. The fact that odds-makers overlook the Gunners will give Arteta’s team confidence and fight to silence their critics.

Upcoming fixtures

Which upcoming games will help decide the destination of this season’s title? Arsenal has a packed schedule, and February sees them visit West Ham in an eagerly-anticipated London derby in Stratford before going to Burnley. The team is then in Porto for a UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg before returning to host Newcastle United in the league. With a total of nine more points up for grabs this month, Arsenal fans budget for the top prize.

When Arsenal last played West Ham United at home in December, the Hammers left with a surprise 2-0 victory. Surprisingly, West Ham also beat Arsenal 3-1 at the London Stadium in the League Cup. That’s two games against the Hammers and two defeats. The Gunners must remedy that if they are serious about challenging for the top prize.

Arsenal had more joy against Burnley, beating the Clarets 3-1 at home in November thanks to goals from Trossard, Saliba, and Zinchenko. They grabbed all three points despite finishing the game with ten men following the dismissal of Veira near the end. Fans would love to see more of the same, as points are more important than performances at this crucial stage of the season.

What can we expect when the Gunners and Magpies clash at the end of February? The stats show Newcastle won 1-0 when Arsenal visited St James Park in November. With Arsenal winning just one of their last four meetings with Newcastle, Arteta’s men face another huge task that will prove their character and fight.

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