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Arsenal Can Close in on the Top Three
29 December 2016, 22:19
Arsenal Can Close in on the Top Three
CosminIftode / Shutterstock.com

With Liverpool and Manchester City playing each other in the Premier League this weekend, it’s a great opportunity for Arsenal to make up some lost ground on those teams.

Arsene Wenger’s men struggled to break down a stubborn West Bromwich Albion team last time out and needed a late Olivier Giroud winner to seal the points.  Having lost their previous two league games, this was always going to be an important match for Arsenal and as the clock ticked down, another disappointing result was seemingly on the cards.  In truth, it wasn’t as if Arsenal did not create chances throughout the match but Ben Foster was in inspired form and Wenger will be hoping to build on that win against Crystal Palace.

The Eagles arrive at the Emirates Stadium with a new manager, Sam Allardyce.  The former England boss took his team to Watford for his first game in charge and came away with a point.  However, having dominated for periods of the first half, Allardyce will feel his team should have been out of sight by the time Troy Deeney scored from the penalty spot for Watford in the second half.  Still, it was a decent start for Palace under their new manager.

Unfortunately for Crystal Palace, trends show they are in for a tough afternoon.  Arsenal are undefeated against Crystal Palace in their last eleven meetings in the Premier League, with Arsenal winning seven of the last eight.  In fact, Crystal Palace have won only one of the previous twenty-three matches against Arsenal in the Premier League, which is a very poor record.  Add to the mix the fact Arsenal are undefeated in their last eight Premier League games at the Emirates Stadium and the huge task facing Allardyce and their players becomes clear.

Crystal Palace’s problem this season has been conceding goals and away from, their defending has been very poor.  In their last five away league games, Crystal Palace have conceded 15 goals, at an average of 3 goals per game and this will be music to the ears of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, who enjoy nothing more than a free-flowing, open game.  One thing in Palace’s favour is their ability to score goals away from home and they have scored in their last eight away Premier League games, including three at Hull and four at Swansea.  However, due the number of goals conceded, wins have been difficult to come by and Arsenal to win with both teams to score is worth a look.

Arsenal do not know what it is like to go into half-time of a Premier League game losing.  They haven't lost at half-time any of their last twenty-nine matches in the Premier League, which is a tremendous record.  Unless Crystal Palace can produce their best performance of the season, Arsenal are likely to go in at half-time at least level and then go on to claim the win.  Crystal Palace may be more difficult to break down than they were under Alan Pardew but ultimately Arsenal have too much quality.

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29/04/2017 18:00
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OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1. Chelsea FC 78 33 25 3 5 69 29 40
2. Tottenham 74 33 22 8 3 69 22 47
3. Liverpool FC 66 34 19 9 6 70 42 28
4. Manchester City 65 33 19 8 6 63 35 28
5. Manchester United 64 33 17 13 3 50 24 26
6. Arsenal 60 32 18 6 8 64 40 24
7. Everton FC 58 34 16 10 8 60 37 23
8. West Bromwich 44 34 12 8 14 39 43 -4
9. Southampton 41 33 11 8 14 39 44 -5
10. Bournemouth 41 35 11 8 16 50 63 -13
11. Leicester City 40 34 11 7 16 42 54 -12
12. Stoke City 40 35 10 10 15 37 50 -13
13. Watford FC 40 33 11 7 15 37 54 -17
14. West Ham 39 35 10 9 16 44 59 -15
15. Crystal Palace 38 34 11 5 18 46 54 -8
16. Burnley FC 36 34 10 6 18 33 49 -16
17. Hull City 34 35 9 7 19 36 67 -31
18. Swansea City 31 34 9 4 21 39 68 -29
19. Middlesbrough 27 34 5 12 17 24 43 -19
20. Sunderland 21 34 5 6 23 26 60 -34

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