Of course, with the participation of Van Persie in doubt for that match, one of the decisions that the boss must make beforehand is who will captain the Gunners at Stadium of Light.
It does not appear to be a straightforward decision for the French manager and, thus, Paddy Power have opened a market on which Arsenal player will wear the captain’s armband on the opening day of the season.
|Arsenal captain v Sunderland
|Odds courtesy of Paddy Power
|Robin van Persie||9/4|
However, Paddy Power's 4/7 (1.57) quote on Vermaelen to lead the side out might not represent outstanding value given that he is somewhat injury prone and has managed just 67 appearances in three seasons for the Gunners.
Of course, Van Persie may resume captain’s duties should he not leave Arsenal prior to the opening day clash with Sunderland and Paddy Power will reward those who believe that the striker will remain at the north London club with a tempting 9/4 (3.25) quote that the Netherlands striker leads the side out on the first day of the season.
Mikel Arteta comes next in the betting at 10/1 (11.0) while Bacary Sagna has been a stalwart for Wenger’s men in recent seasons.
He is chalked up at 16/1 (13.0) with Paddy Power to captain the Gunners at Sunderland but the broken leg which kept him out of Euro 2012 may well preclude him from the season’s opener too.
Wenger has a reputation for putting his faith in the younger players and, with that in mind, the 20/1 (21.0) quote from Paddy Power on Jack Wilshere to lead the side against Sunderland may tempt a few while Aaron Ramsey, who will represent Team GB at the Olympics this summer is another 20/1 (21.0) chance with the same firm.
There is no doubt that Vermaelen, if fit, is a deserving favourite here but Wenger will have a real dilemma should the Belgian not be fit to lead the side out on the opening day of the campaign and that could mean that value is on offer for punters here.
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Willie Duncan is a freelance sports journalist. Willie, from Edinburgh, has covered Scottish football for over 10 years and he specialises in football betting markets from across Europe. You can also follow Willie on Twitter here.Follow GoalBetting on