Arsenal 2018-19 Betting Preview: What Are Realistic Expectations Under New Coach Emery?
Arsenal 2018-19 Premier League Betting Odds
- To Win Title: +2500
- To Be Relegated: +50000
- Point Total: 69.5 (over -155/under +125)
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Arsenal enter the 2018-19 season with a new manager for the first time in 22 years, with Unai Emery replacing Arsene Wenger. A popular comparison to the current situation is when Manchester United’s longtime manager Sir Alex Ferguson retired after 26 seasons, but it’s not quite the same. Arsenal have been long overdue for a change, while United were still winning titles upon Ferguson’s departure.
Arsenal’s upper management also made a bunch of early and necessary player signings over the summer, which is another change of pace from recent seasons:
Tranfers IN: Lucas Torreira (midfielder from Sampdoria), Stephan Lichtsteiner (defender from Juventus), Bernd Leno (goalie from Bayer Leverkusen), Sokratis Papastathopoulos (defender from Borussia Dortmund), Matteo Guendouzi (midfielder from Lorient).
Torreira will be the most vital signing to the success of the club. He’s a young, tough and tenacious defensive midfielder who made a big impact for Uruguay at the World Cup. Lichtsteiner and Papastathopoulos will provide experience, leadership and depth on the backline, while Leno will aim to compete for the starting goalkeeper spot. Guendouzi may not get into the first team, but he’s a confident young player to keep an eye on for the future.
Over the summer, Arsenal only lost Jack Wilshere (to West Ham) and Santi Cazorla (to Villarreal) from the main squad. Wilshere had been a longtime Gunner despite being just 26, but injuries hampered him throughout his career. Unfortunately for Cazorla, another fan favorite, he’s also dealt with serious injuries, and his career has been stalled for two years due to 11 operations on his Achilles/foot.
The existing Arsenal squad is full of talent with the likes of Mesut Özil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, Alex Iwobi, Héctor Bellerín and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, to name a few. If there’s a glaring weakness, it could be at center back, with longtime stalwart Laurent Koscielny (Achilles) already set to miss a big portion of the season.
Fans should be optimistic heading into the year and not as divided as they were toward the end of Wenger’s reign. Even staunch fans of the longtime manager can recognize that the club needed to make a change to really start pushing forward again. Methods became stale, especially against top clubs, and the Gunners even fell out of qualification for Champions League for the first time in 19 years. The arrival of Emery will force opponents to adjust against Arsenal, something they’ve rarely had to do lately.
Expectations should be a top-four finish, which would qualify for Champions League the following season, even though the odds of that happening are +200. The other two goals should be to win a major trophy in the Europa League and/or FA Cup. Arsenal’s odds to win the Europa League are +900 and FA Cup +1000, so they should be right in the thick of both.
A more counterattacking and pace-driven style, rather than just holding possession and condensing the field, should keep opponents on their toes in all competitions. Emery also likes his teams to press hard, and they brought in the right players to do that.
The Bet To Watch
As much as I’d love to have a future bet at plus-money to offer, I think the real value on Arsenal is to finish in the top six at -350 odds (SkyBet). Arsenal lost 13 league matches in a difficult 2017-18 campaign, yet they still finished nine points ahead of Burnley for sixth place in the table.
This season, Arsenal’s point total is listed at 69.5, which would land them in sixth place again, but consider the gap. Next on the list is Leicester City at 51.5, a full 18 points and six wins behind. I don’t envision another surprise title run from them, and even an overperformance from another middle-of-the-pack squad likely won’t crack the top six.
All odds current as of July 30