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The last ditch winner in the Boxing Day match against West Brom, scored by Oliver Grioud, kept any slim chances of a title charge that Arsenal had alive. Next up for the North London club is a visit from strugglers Crystal Palace. Arsenal are twelve points behind leaders Chelsea, and if they have any serious aspirations off winning the title, this is a game they must win.
Winger Alex Iwobi was instrumental in creating a host of chances against WBA, and managed four shots at goal, none of which hit the target. He will need to be more clinical this time out, as Danny Welbeck is close to contention after returning from injury. For him to score the first goal (7/1 with Betfred - Bet Here!) would ensure he remains in Arsene Wenger's plans.
Palace, despite their league position are potent in attack and it's easy to see them scoring, but at home Arsenal will look to make the fixture as comfortable as possible and a 3-1 win looks very likely here (11/1 with bet365 - Bet Here!) or even 4-1 (18/1 with bet365 - Bet Here!).
Alexis Sanchez has been off the boil recently and a return to form here could be the tonic Wenger needs, and for him to score a brace (7/2 with William Hill - Bet Here!) or even a hat-trick (16/1 with Betfred - Bet Here!) could send the Gunners fans home to finish their festive celebrations, with hope in their hearts.
Arsenal will be desperate to get of to a quick start after leaving it so late last time out, and for them to be leading within 15 minutes (13/4 with Coral - Bet Here!) will make their fans breathe a huge sigh of relief.
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A new manager in Sam Allardyce has some Palace fans breathing a little easier. A master at getting sides out of trouble, Big Sam had his new club perform solidly against Watford in the Boxing Day clash. The South London side restricted their host to three shots on target all game.
The game's best performer, Andros Townsend created Yohan Cabaye's opener and was a constant threat to Watford, and he will need to pull out a man of the match performance again (16/1 with Paddy Power - Bet Here!) if his side are to get anything out of the game. Yohan Cabaye goal got his side of to a good start, and if the strugglers are going to get anything out of the game, a opener from him (25/1 with bet365 - Bet Here!) could be vital to their chances.
Palace are good in attack, they have scored in all but one of their away fixtures this season. The draw against Watford could easily have been a win had Christian Benteke converted his penalty rather than rolled it into the waiting arms of The Hornet's keeper Heurelho Gomes, so if the Belgian gets another spot-kick in this game, blasting it and converting (11/1 with Paddy Power - Bet Here!) will help to get rid of those demons.
For Palace to have a chance in the game, the longer they keep it tight the better, and if Arsenal fail to bring their shooting boots and Palace manage to shut them out for the whole game (10/1 with bet365 - Bet Here!) then a 1-0 win (33/1 with bet365 - Bet Here!) could be on the cards, possible, as Sam Allardyce will have worked on defensive solidity this week. If they can keep it level till half time then win the second half (25/1 with bet365 - Bet Here!) it will condone the Palace board decision to remove Alan Pardew and to replace him with Allardyce as they look to battle against relegation.
This looks a tough fixture for Crystal Palace's new boss Sam Allardyce to get anything out of, as Arsene Wenger looks to ensure that his side remain within the title hunt for as long as possible, and dropping points against a struggling Crystal Palace will not be on his agenda. Palace may be effective going forward, their defensive lapses have cost them dramatically over the season and it will take a lot longer than a week to fix, no matter who is in charge.
- Arsenal have received a total of 30 yellow cards this season, 13 at home.
- Ben Foster made ten saves for his West Brom side against Arsenal last time out.
- Arsenal have been drawing at half time and gone on to win in their last three home matches.
- Crystal Palace have conceded in every game apart from their 3-0 win against Southampton this season.
- Just under a third (9) of Crystal Palace's goals have come from a set-piece this season.
- Arsenal's pass success rate (83%) is significantly higher than Palace's (75%).
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Francois is one of Howtobet4free’s co-founders and has written many of Howtobet4free’s popular Betting Guides. Francois also helps run the @howtobet4free_ Twitter account