Shaky Palace to crumble under Gunners’ assault
Away clean sheet seem beyond Eagles
Sky Sports 1, 4pm Sunday
Sam Allardyce couldn’t prevent Crystal Palace from conceding yet another away goal on his first outing as Eagles boss, and a clean sheet may well be beyond them at the Emirates.
Troy Deeney’s penalty for Watford saw Palace held to a 1-1 draw at Vicarage Road in Allardyce’s first match in charge and means his new side have now gone a calendar year since their last away clean sheet.
What will encourage Palace fans is that they restricted the Hornets to few openings – but against that, Watford are fairly toothless at the moment and Arsenal are a step up in terms of attacking class.
Palace, with key absentees, are worth taking on but they can definitely pose the Gunners a few problems. Arsenal and both teams to score at 2-1 could be a more fruitful way of getting with Arsene Wenger’s men.
That’s just preferred to the Arsenal-Arsenal double result, a bet which has strong statistical support. Arsenal have never trailed at the interval whereas Palace have been behind at half time 11 times, the worst record in the Premier League.
Palace are obviously going to be a little bit different under Allardyce than they were under Alan Pardew, and there will doubtless be Big Sam apostles who reckon Arsenal are a decent lay.
The disgraced England manager has built a reputation – rightly or wrongly – as a hired firefighter who comes in when things are going wrong and in fairness he seems to have the knack of instilling fight and self-belief in sides.
That said, he was happy to deploy a pacy front four at Vicarage Road and given that Palace are hardly going to see any of the ball and need quality on the counter, the Zaha-Puncheon-Townsend trident ought to be retained.
Ought to be – though may not be. Allardyce might want a third body in midfield and may also have eyes on Tuesday’s home clash with Swansea, a match which is far more winnable than this one. And he has shown before that he’s not afraid to target games.
In eight of Arsenal’s 11 victories this season the opposition have found the net, recent victims West Brom a rare exception.
Given the way Tony Pulis sets up his sides, however, that’s no surprise, and anyway the Baggies had no reason to come out of their shells while they were holding Arsenal at bay, which they did for 86 minutes.
Olivier Giroud’s late winner broke Baggies hearts and snapped a two-game losing streak following losses at Everton and Manchester City.
An early Arsenal goal is what the bet needs with added encouragement coming from the fact that only Liverpool, Man City and Arsenal have scored more away goals than Palace.
Arsenal to win and both teams to score
1pt 2-1 Betfair
Shkodran Mustafi returns after a three-match absence. Theo Walcott and Kieran Gibbs are doubts. Danny Welbeck is back in training but Santi Cazorla is still out.
James Tomkins, James McArthur and Joe Ledley will be assessed this morning. Damien Delaney is suspended. Loic Remy is a week away.
Arsenal are the only team in the Premier League yet to be behind at the interval