|Arsenal win 1-0||8/1||Genting Bet|
|Under 2.5 Goals||29/20||SportNation|
|Crystal Palace Score Under 0.5 Goals||19/10||BetHard|
It’s snuck under the radar, but Crystal Palace’s goal famine at Selhurst Park stretches all way back to May, and with in-form Arsenal in town, they desperately need to break their cycle of gloom.
The Eagle's last goal at home was a Patrick van Aanholt strike against relegated West Bromwich Albion on May 13. Wasting a host of gilt-edged chances, but also appearing increasingly short of confidence, the Eagles have now played four games in front of their own fans this season - and fired blanks every single time.
For obvious reasons, they absolutely need to, but it won’t be a straightforward task against the Gunners on Sunday. The bookmakers fancy Roy Hodgson’s men to do it though, and to me that’s a slight surprise.
It may be the law of averages; it could be Arsenal’s often brittle-looking back four; or perhaps its a combination of both that’s spurred the call, but you can get 19/10 with Bethard on Crystal Palace scoring under 0.5 goals this weekend.
Given that Liverpool, Southampton, Newcastle and Wolves have all come and gone from South London with clean sheets intact, I feel that’s a pretty generous price.
Recent history could be a factor.
On Arsenal’s last four trips to Selhurst Park they have conceded goals to a team who traditionally pose their greatest threat on the counter attack. With the pacy Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend likely to spin down the channels at every opportunity, Unai Emery’s high line is in danger of being exposed.
Rob Holding, Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis are not the quickest trio of defenders, so it may be advisable not to leave too much empty turf in behind for runners.
The aforementioned Townsend, a former Spurs man of course, loves to get one over on the Gunners too. He has notched goals in this corresponding fixture for two seasons running, and is a 7/2 shot (888 Sport) to make it three in a row.
Claiming victory in 11 successive contests in all competitions, it is little wonder Arsenal are rated odds-on 3/4 (Bet365) to make it a round dozen. They were scintillating in the second half of a 3-1 success at home to Leicester (a final score that was predicted here on Free Bets!) and any kind of continuation of that standard means Palace are bang in trouble.
Messrs Ozil, Iwobi, Lacazette and Aubameyang are all in terrific form, so even if one of them is below par you’d still fancy them to click as a unit sometime during this match. If you’d like a flutter on Aubameyang to bag two goals for the third successive Premier League match (both from the bench incidentally) you will get a price of 15/4 with Karamba.
In my view, Palace are less likely to crumble in the way Fulham did in the 5-1 demolition at Craven Cottage. Under Roy Hodsgon the Eagles are nothing if not disciplined and well organised. They have not been swept aside by anyone, with a two-goal margin the heaviest loss incurred. For that reason I’m predicting a low-scoring affair.
It goes against the grain for me to tip up a tight contest when the free-scoring Gunners are involved, but Palace will show them plenty of respect by battening down the hatches. The last thing they need is to be ripped apart so I like the look of Under 2.5 goals at 27/20 (SportNation).
Can Arsenal really keep it tight you ask?
While it’s clear their main frailty is in defensive areas, I’ve seen signs of improvement and the stats do back this opinion up.
Emery’s men have kept four clean sheets in their last seven games in all competitions; a record that doesn’t fit the narrative. You’ll be offered 11/10 on Crystal Palace or the Draw (Bet365) to end this phenomenal win streak, but that’s not how I see things panning out.
Just like they did in Sporting Lisbon on Thursday evening, I believe Arsenal can pinch another 1-0 away victory. That’s on offer at 8/1 with Genting. Sooner or later the Gunners will come a cropper, but based on what I’ve seen of Crystal Palace, it doesn’t feel like they are good enough to take their scalp.