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Premier League: Title Tilt Begins Here Against Shot-shy Eagles

Arsenal vs Crystal Palace

So, is this the moment where the unlikely Premier League title contenders can sow a seed of doubt in the minds of the established challengers?

Certainly, with champions Manchester City not in league action this weekend, Arsenal know victory at home on Sunday will move them eight points clear at the summit – a position that will remain unchanged until at least after the international break.

Psychologically, could that be a tangible step on the path to glory?

Standing in their way, a Crystal Palace side managed by a figure who was skipper of Arsenal the last time they were champions of England – 19 years ago.

Talking Points

Can Patrick Vieira stir Crystal Palace to a win against Premier League leaders Arsenal?
Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira and Albert Sambi Lokonga look dejected after their match against Brighton

Patrick Vieira played a key part in all three of Arsenal’s Premier League triumphs (1998, 2002 and 2004 – the last one when they went through the league campaign unbeaten).

Now, after a good first season in charge in east London, the resurgence of Palace has been hampered somewhat, even though they are in a mid-table position many clubs of a similar stature would be content with.

On their day they remain tricky opponents as City found out last weekend when only a late Erling Haaland penalty separated the sides.

It is clear where their main concerns lie, however, because while the return from injury of Joachim Andersen has clearly strengthened their backline, they have not been anywhere near clinical enough at the other end of the pitch.

Indeed, the Eagles have managed just four goals since the turn of the year –only fellow strugglers Everton, Wolves and Southampton have scored less than their 21 league goals to date.

A 1-0 reverse at rivals Brighton in midweek prompted manager Vieira to urge his side to change their “mindset”.

While they had opportunities in that game which they failed to take, against City they became the first team on record to go three Premier League games without registering a single shot on target.

Furthermore, Palace are yet to record a victory in 2023 in 12 matches and one media report has even suggested the club has begun sounding out potential replacements for Vieira.

Given those factors, Sunday would be a good time for them to not only find their shooting boots but deliver some Premier League highlights as, while placed in what you would think would be a relatively comfortable 12th place, they remain just three points clear of the drop zone.

A lack of goals has never been an issue for Arsenal this season, of course, although they have had mixed news on that front in recent days.

That’s after 23 year-old striker Eddie Nketiah, who has proved important to their title charge and shouldered some of the goalscoring duties in the absence of Gabriel Jesus, was ruled out of action.

On the upside, the Brazil international – who suffered medial ligament damage against Cameroon while on international duty at the World Cup – made his first appearance in more than three months when he came off the bench at Fulham last weekend.

The fact remains that the Gunners have coped with his absence extremely well, something I feared what put an end to their title bid.

If Jesus, who returned to London from the tournament for surgery on his knee before being enrolled on a lengthy rehabilitation program, can rediscover the form he displayed before the World Cup, it could be crucial as he aims to win a third successive title following back-to-back triumphs with City.

His return to fitness, coupled with their exit from the Europa League in midweek, could be just the boon they need as their focus will solely be on the title race.

Premier League


Over the years Palace have endured a miserable time against the Gunners with only six wins alongside 16 draws and 30 defeats.

Although one of their most memorable triumphs came at Selhurst Park just under a year ago.

That was when the Eagles were 3-0 winners at Selhurst Park, a result which proved costly Arsenal in their bid for a top four spot as Jean-Philippe Mateta, Jordan Ayew and Wilfried Zaha (penalty) found the net.

Earlier this season, in the very first match of the new campaign in fact, Arsenal won 2-0 at Palace, thanks to Gabriel Martinelli and an own goal.

The corresponding fixture last term ended all square when it took a 95th minute equaliser from Alexandre Lacazette to earn a point after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s opener had been cancelled out by Christian Benteke and Odsonne Edouard.

Their very first clash came in the fourth round of the FA Cup at Highbury in 1934 – a day when Arsenal ran out 7-0 winners and a contest in which the legendary Cliff Bastin netted twice.

That set the tone really, although the gap between the clubs meant they did not meet again for 35 years – a first ever league meeting in 1969 in which Arsenal were 5-1 victors.

Betting Tip

It is almost impossible to go against the hosts, given they seem in buoyant mood and as Palace seem to be in a bit of a rut.

The hosts are priced 1X2 @ 1.24 and Asian Handicap -1.75 @ 2.07 with the SBOTOP Premier League betting odds.

That contrasts with the visitors 1X2 @ 8.50 and Asian Handicap +1.25 @ 2.42.

Or could the Eagles unsettle the Gunners again and claim a point with 1X2 Draw @ 5.60 and a repeat of last season’s encounter – Correct Score 2-2 – on offer at a whopping @ 46.00.

Goal options include total goal 0-1 @ 3.70, 2-3 @ 2.01 and 4-6 @ 3.15.

I do expect a close game actually and my *** tip is over 2.75 goals @ 2.01.



⭐⭐= €10 (CONFIDENT)


Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.




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