South meets North tonight in this London derby as Arsenal travel to Selhurst Park to meet Sam Allardyce's Crystal Palace, who will want to build on their recent good form to help ease last week's reversal against Southampton.
Arsenal, who remain 11/4 shots to finish in the top four, need the points on the board to continue Wenger's record of never finishing outside the top four since taking over at the Gunners. It's finely poised, but who will come out on top?
Join us as we run the rule over tonight's game and suggest a couple of punts that could net a result and leave Stan floundering - back of the net!
Crystal Palace remain three points off relegation despite winning four on the trot before their midweek blip against Southampton, where they took the lead through a Christian Benteke goal only to go down by three goals to one. Sam Allardyce will be keen to get them back to winning ways, and tonight's visit of Arsenal allows them to do just that, despite the fact that they haven't beaten Arsenal at Selhurst since 1979. In fact, Palace have the worst home record in the Premier League this season, with just 13 points accrued in south London.
Of Benteke's thirteen Premier League goals this season, only four have come at home. That said, he has netted in his last two games (against Chelsea and Southampton) and the big Belgian seems to be building a good relationship with Zaha and Townsend, who will look to test a makeshift Arsenal defence
Yohan Cabaye looks unlikely to feature, having strained his calf, whilst Patrick van Aanholt, Connor Wickham, Scott Dann, Pape Souare, Fraizer Campbell, and James Tomkins all remain sidelined. The Eagles will welcome back Joe Ledley with open arms, and James McArthur will face a late fitness test on his back.
Arsenal have never lost an away Premier League match against Crystal Palace, with five wins and four draws. They arrive having put struggling West Ham to the sword, with Oliver Giroud adding the third in a three-nil home win. The Frenchman has scored in each of his previous three Premier League appearances at Selhurst Park and is 6/5 to score at anytime.
Prior to the West Ham game, Arsenal showed their mettle in a battling draw with Manchester City, where they twice came from behind to snatch a point. Those results stemmed the tide, where they had been on a six-game winless run, though it should be remembered that Arsenal have lost five of their last seven away matches... a point Sam will be drumming into his charges tonight.
The Gunners remain without first choice goalkeepers Petr Cech (calf) and David Ospina (muscular), and centre-back Laurent Koscielny, who has an Achilles injury. Francis Coquelin should return after an absence of leave for personal reasons.
What we sayin'
This could be a real humdinger of a match, with both sides needing the points, for differing reasons. Both sides can be suspect at the back so there could be goals in this. Benteke and Giroud anytime goalscorers looks nice, but Zaha to open proceedings at 9/1 has a certain appeal. Speculation continues to surround Oxlade-Chamberlain's future and the winger's in a decent run of form himself, so the 15/2 on him to score first also appeals.*
Coquelin's return should see a snarl in the Gunner's midfield. A war of attrition could develop and StanJames.com offer 1/3 on there being over 25 booking points.*
*All prices subject to fluctuation. Make sure to check StanJames.com for up to date prices.
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