Arsenal v Crystal Palace
Gunners needing home comforts
Fifth place and just a couple points off third seems a decent enough start for Arsenal. But it's far from convincing.
A 1-0 defeat on their last Premier League start at Sheffield United drew heavy criticism and with 10 minutes left of their home clash with Vitoria they trailed the Portuguese visitors 2-1.
Two superb free-kicks from Nicolas Pepe turned the game around but was it just a case of papering over some cracks or can it be viewed as a momentum turner that can set the Gunners on their way again?
An alternative view is that Arsenal remain a force at home (five wins and a draw in all comps) but flaky on the road (five points out of 15 in the Premier League).
Testing run for Palace
To show that Palace continue to be extremely dangerous opponents to high-flying rivals, they've won their last three away Premier League matches against teams starting the day in the top five of the league.
That run started on their last trip to Arsenal in April and continued this season with wins at Manchester United in August and West Ham two weeks ago.
They return to the Emirates just one point and one place below Unai Emery's men so it's been a fine start.
However, this is game two of a Premier League run where they pit their wits against Man City, Arsenal, Leicester, Chelsea and Liverpool. It's started with a loss to Pep Guardiola's men and the danger is they take precious little and tumble down the table.
Roy Hodgson will be keen to get something on the board as soon as he possibly can.
Gunners expected to march on
Arsenal lost this fixture 3-2 last April but are just 1.548/15 to bank all three points this time. Crystal Palace trade at 6.86/1 to pull off another upset while The Draw is 4.84/1.
On the road, Palace have won at Man Utd and West Ham, lost narrowly at Sheffield United and suffered a surprise 4-0 capitulation at vulnerable Tottenham.
It's always tempting to play Palace at this sort of price when they travel to a big name but I'm not quite convinced enough this time. However you look at it, Arsenal's home results are impressive, as they were last year when they won 14 of their 19 games.
Arsenal's results after Europa League Thursdays are certainly worth looking at even though we have limited evidence this season.
So far, they've come from 2-1 down to beat Aston Villa 3-2 (as with the Vitoria game, that was after two late goals) and edged out Bournemouth 1-0.
Stretching back to last season, and adding the filter of the Emirates, they played eight home games on the back of Europa League matches, winning five, drawing two and losing one. The defeat... yep, to Crystal Palace.
In fact, both meetings were after Arsenal had played in Europe, the first a 2-2 draw at Selhurst Park.
However, I'm not too sure there's much in that. The 3-2 defeat came when Arsenal had one eye on the Europa League latter stages following a 1-0 win away to Napoli and Christian Benteke scored one of the Palace goals so surely that can't happen again!
I think Arsenal will get it done but don't like the price.
Instinct says there will be goals and both teams will contribute. However, that's the expectation too.
Over 2.5 goals is just 1.68/13 while Both teams to Score is 1.728/11. By contrast, it's 1.68/13 for Unders and 2.3611/8 for 'No' BTTS.
Big-money summer signing Nicolas Pepe has been slow to come to the boil but now has three goals in his last four home games.
The first of those was from the spot but his two stunning free-kicks on Thursday night will have given him a massive dose of confidence.
It's after such occasions when forward players are worth backing and I'm going to play the Ivorian in both scorer markets. He's 6.05/1 to score the first goal and 2.021/1 to net anytime.
With Arsenal sometimes slow out of the blocks, I'll also play Luka Milivojevic for first goal at 30.029/1.
The Gunners have conceded more penalties (three) than any other Premier League side this season and Wilfried Zaha could easily draw fouls from the Arsenal defence.
Milivojevic netted from the spot against Norwich two games ago and fired in a pair of penalties (the first was the opener) in the 2-2 draw with Arsenal last season.
What's more, he's scored four in five matches against the Gunners so has been a bit of a bogeyman for the hosts.
Arsenal haven't lost a home league game in October since 2002 (1-2 vs Blackburn), winning 25 and drawing five since. It's their joint-longest unbeaten home run in a single month in Premier League history (also 30 in March between 1998 and 2015).