It’s a London derby in the Premier League as Arsenal host Crystal Palace at the Emirates in a match the home side cannot afford to lose.
This is the first of three fixtures which saw the Gunners take just one point from nine last season. Palace are followed by Leicester City and Wolves.
All games Arsenal should win but matches which are proving immensely problematic.
Crystal Palace meanwhile continue to impress. They sit sixth, a point behind their hosts and with an impressive win at Old Trafford already under their belt this season.
Are they punching above their weight or did our2019 Premier League predictions point to the Eagles flying high?
More importantly, can they take three unexpected points at the Emirates?
Arsenal vs Crystal Palace Predictions
The Arsenal job is proving a poisoned chalice for Unai Emery as the Gunners lurch through the season. Monday night’s defeat at Sheffield United saw criticism of the Spaniard reach unprecedented levels as his charges struggle to impose themselves on games.
Arsenal can point to missed chances and were denied clear penalties as they fell to their first defeat in eight games (W5, D3). Disturbingly, it was their second defeat in five away games (W1, D2) and maintains their unwanted record of no clean sheets in four league away fixtures.
The fundamental issue the Gunners face is their lack of defensive strength. So far, Arsenal conceded an average of 16 shots in each of their nine Premier League games, five of which are on target. It’s the third-worst in the division and explains in part why clean sheets are so hard to come by.
They almost match that in attack with 13.78 shots per game on average; fifth-best in the Premier League but they are the division’s entertainers in that sense, even if their aim is a little wayward with just 4.78 on target.
Palace, by contrast, manage just 3.67 shots on target per game; this isn’t likely to be high-scoring.
The last visiting team to win a league match at the Emirates was Palace back in April when Shkodran Mustafi endured a torrid afternoon during the Eagles 3 – 2 win. It was a defeat which ended Arsenal’s top-four hopes for 2018-19.
Star of the show was Wilf Zaha, the winger they tried to sign this summer past. Instead, Nicolas Pepe arrived in a £72m deal from Lille. His brace of free-kicks in Thursday night’s Europa League win hinted at delivering on the promise of that deal.
They were his second and third goals of the season. At Bramall Lane, he was a rare highlight for an otherwise unimaginative Arsenal.
Zaha, by contrast, still awaits his first goal of the season. Will the memory of last season spur him on? Roy Hodgson noted his winger had put the summer behind him but does he feel that he has a point to prove?
Palace are proving once again to be a durable side; three of their eight league goals came in the final fifteen minutes of games. They come into the game with one defeat in four (W2, D1). Away from home, if the Eagles score, they soar (W2, L2) but failing to hit the net costs them dearly.
That meagre goals total, by the way, is only one more than Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang managed for Arsenal (7) although the Gabon international has yet to score this month. The Arsenal striker has 26 goals in Sunday Premier League games played on a Sunday, a record unmatched by any other player.
The Gunners are unbeaten in their four home games this season (W3, D1) and are unbeaten in 30 home games played in October (W25, D5).
Despite their hit-and-miss performances, it’s hard to look beyond a home win in these Arsenal vs Crystal Palace predictions.
Arsenal vs Crystal Palace Head to Head
Arsenal dominate this fixture, unbeaten in 40 (W28, D12) of the 45 meetings so far.
Palace have won two of the last five (D1, L2) but those are rare highlights in a fixture which yields little in their favour during the Premier League years (W13, D4, L3).
In North London, that was the Eagles first win since 1994 (D1, L6) but the second in four at Arsenal where they avoided defeat (W1, D1).
There has never been a goalless draw between the two sides at Arsenal and the last five meetings all saw more than 2.5 goals with the last four seeing more than 3.5 goals.
Arsenal Team News
The only injury concern for Unai Emery is Reiss Nelson who is out until next month.
Yet the big question is whether Mesut Ozil will play and whether he will make a difference to the misfiring Gunners.
Kieran Tierney was outstanding in midweek and is challenging for a Premier League start. Dani Ceballos is expected to start with Joe Willock making way.
Crystal Palace Team News
Roy Hodgson is without Mamadou Sakho and Connor Wickham but welcomes back Vicente Guaita and Martin Kelly to the squad which was roundly outplayed by Manchester City last weekend.
Arsenal vs Crystal Palace Betting Tips
Arsenal are red-hot favourites with Novibet match odds at 27/50 with Crystal Palace 49/10 long shots. The draw is 69/20
Neither side is among the goals in the Premier League so Under 2.5 goals at 27/20 holds some appeal.
Can Palace upset the apple cart? It’s 44/5 for Palace to win and both teams to score with a repeat of last season’s 2 – 3 scoreline the 40/1 outsider.