Arsenal could have allowed their recent defeat to Liverpool to derail their upward momentum, but a solid win away to Aston Villa has allowed the feel-food factor to be retained.
Following a dismal January where the Gunners lost three of five winless outings in all competitions, they’ve since won six of seven matches to put themselves in pole position for fourth place and Champions League football.
Crystal Palace should offer another stern test and although Patrick Vieira’s men have slipped back down into the bottom half of the table, they remain fiercely competitive and were unlucky not to hang on for all three points when the two sides met back in October.
A 4-0 demolition job over a sorry Everton side in the FA Cup last time out means that they’ve only suffered a single defeat in 10 appearances now, as even that was a narrow 1-0 loss to Chelsea as Hakim Ziyech netted an 89th-minute winner.
Palace are a much better attacking force under current management, helped by the summer captures of Conor Gallagher, Michael Olise and Odsonne Edouard, as well the more recent return to fitness of Eberechi Eze.
However, Olise is a doubt for this clash after pulling out of the France U21 squad with a foot injury, while talisman Wilfried Zaha suffered a hamstring complaint with the Ivory Coast.
There’s further reason to think the Eagles’ output could be diminished, as only three of those last 10 appearances saw more than two goals – the thrashing of Everton, another big win away at relegation-bound Watford (4-1) and another FA Cup triumph over Championship side Stoke (2-1).
Arsenal To Win By One Goal
Eight of Arsenal’s past 11 games have also seen a maximum of two goals, with at least one team failing to score in eight of these as well. However, we wouldn’t bank on the under 2.5 goals market given the head-to-heads in recent times.
Both teams have scored in eight of nine meetings since 2017/18, with an incredible seven of these featuring a minimum output of four goals.
Palace have enjoyed a fair degree of success in this fixture, holding a W1-D5-L1 record since 2018/19, and they’re certainly a tough nut to crack with only five teams (Liverpool, Man City, Chelsea, Man Utd and Arsenal) losing more league games this season.
Doing the double over Man City this term has certainly helped alert other teams to the danger the Eagles possess, and their current run of form suggests they’ll remain competitive here.
However, it’s worth noting that all but one of their nine defeats this season have come against top-half sides, against whom they’ve lost six of their last eight matches, while the loss of Zaha is hard to contend with even if they’re no longer a one-man team.
Five of Palace’s last seven defeats against anyone have come by a single goal, so we’d expect this to be another close encounter.
Despite the Gunner’s excellent form of late, Mikel Arteta’s men have only claimed victory by a wider margin just once in 12 appearances across all competitions, and with that mind, another narrow win could be on the cards here.
ARSENAL TO WIN BY ONE GOAL
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