To add to the departure of captain Cesc Fabregas and the likely exit of Samir Nasri, the Gunners have injury and suspension problems with Gervinho and Alex Song banned and Jack Wilshere not expected to return.
For large parts of Tuesday’s game against Udinese, the Londoners were outplayed, so Liverpool supporters have grounds for optimism.
However, to emphasise how perceptions of these two title challengers have changed, Liverpool were 10-3 to win this fixture in April with 4-1 available in places – they are 9-5 to get the points today and that price could yet shorten.
It is clear that Arsenal remain vulnerable but 9-5 is too much of an over-reaction to the current problems.
Sergio Aguero wasted little time making an impact in the Premier League with his pair of goals against Swansea, but do not rush to back him to score in tomorrow’s game at Bolton. The little Argentine is still likely to be on the bench as he builds his fitness. Instead, back Edin Dzeko to find the net – the improving Bosnian has scored in his last three games, including City’s 2-0 win at the Reebok on the final day of last season.
Blackburn have done little to improve a weak squad. They go to Aston Villa today and punters will be eager to snap up the 8-11 about a home win.
In the Championship, Leeds restored some faith among supporters with a 4-1 win over Hull on Tuesday and have Max Gradel and Jonny Howson available again after suspension for tomorrow’s trip to West Ham.
With Ross McCormack in confident mood after a couple of goals, the price of 4-6 about a Hammers win no longer looks as appealing as it did at the start of the week. Sam Allardyce has galvanised his side after the opening day defeat to Cardiff, but this is not the miss-match the prices suggest. It is no surprise that Leeds have yet to keep a clean sheet, so back both teams to score.
While Leeds impressed at Elland Road, Hull were disappointing and will do well to pick up three points against an improved Crystal Palace at the KC Stadium. The Tigers’ home form has been poor for some time and backing them at 5-6 could prove a costly mistake.
Derby have started the season with three successive wins and Doncaster with three defeats, so the Rams look good value at 8-11 to see off Rovers at Pride Park.
Huddersfield’s long unbeaten run has surpassed the previous club record they set in 1925 and there is no reason to think they can not extend it further when they face Colchester.
However, their last four league games have been draws so there has been no profit in backing them to win at short prices. Avoid them once again at 8-11.
Sheffield Wednesday’s defeats at Bournemouth and Bury show how far away they remain from being title challengers and they face a difficult game as Notts County visit Hillsborough. Martin Allen’s side gave neighbours Forest a fright in the Carling Cup and can take the points from this short away trip.
Sheffield United showed their fighting spirit to come back from two down to beat Walsall and will need that to be in evidence again at Tranmere. A draw would be a decent result for the Blades.
In League Two, Rotherham’s Adam Le Fondre has scored 12 goals in his last 13 matches in the month of August. Back him to hit the target again as Barnet visit Don Valley.
This weekend’s best bets...
Arsenal v Liverpool – Draw;
Bolton v Man City – Dzeko to score;
Aston Villa to beat Blackburn;
West Ham v Leeds – Both teams to score;
Notts County to beat Sheffield Wednesday;
Rotherham v Barnet – Adam Le Fondre to score.