Football: Keep your Aaron…

The Premier League Saturday tea-time fixture sees Arsenal travel to Stoke in the bellwether fixture that is the traditional n test of title credentials.

Arsenal’s opening fixture, a 4-3 topsy-turvy defeat of Leicester City, was the same old same old – score for fun, can’t defend for toffee, whilst Stoke’s defeat at Everton was also the same old same old – defend for fun, can’t score against Toffees.

The markets point at a narrow win for the Gunners and we expect that to be about right with the risks possibly more in the direction of a bigger Arsenal win rather than points for the Potters.

Mining our beloved Man of the Match market we have some firm views with Arsenal whilst Sanchez-less.  Mesut Ozil is one clear option as playmaker although this fixture may not be ideal, rather our anticipation of this being Granit Xhaka’s season as commentator’s darling makes 25/1 look sorely tempting. Finally the 33/1 for Sead Kolasinac looks two big for the robust defender.

This fixture though has a unique edge which simply has to guide our investment.  It is seven years since Aaron Ramsey had his right leg broken in two places by a horror tackle from the now Stoke Captain, Ryan Shawcross.  For reasons that reflect the occasional worst of soccer mob mentality, he gets a routinely hostile reception at the Bet365 Stadium ever since, complete with nasty songs, almost as though he had feigned a double-leg break and a year out from football.

Ramsey looked sharp scoring off the bench in Arsenal’s comeback win last weekend and should be fit enough to take his place from the start.  If he has any hand in an Arsenal win, it will surely behove any co-commentator to stuff it to the boo-boys be giving him the gong.  Well worth a 2pt bet.

Recommendation:  Aaron Ramsey, Man of the Match, 2pts win, 12/1 Paddy Power.

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