Crystal Palace v Arsenal: Eagles worth backing to thwart Wenger's side

Roy Hodgson's side are in impressive form and have climbed out of the relegation zone recently
Roy Hodgson's side are in impressive form and have climbed out of the relegation zone recently
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Simon Mail previews the televised match at Selhurst Park and thinks fast-improving Crystal Palace should be backed to earn a positive result against Arsenal...

"Crystal Palace are well worth backing, in some shape or form, after their excellent run in the last few months. The Eagles have not lost for eight matches and are unbeaten at Selhurst Park since the middle of September."

Crystal Palace v Arsenal
Thursday, 20:00
Live on Sky Sports Premier League

Fast-improving Palace climbing towards safety

It has been a remarkable turnaround over the last few months for a Crystal Palace side which looked marooned at the bottom of the Premier League. The Eagles suffered a disastrous start to the season losing their first seven league matches without even managing to score. Roy Hodgson appeared to face a huge challenge to turn their form around, after replacing the axed Frank de Boer, but the former England boss has overseen a dramatic change in their fortunes.

Palace are currently on a club record unbeaten run in the Premier League of eight matches which has seen them climb out of the bottom three. Hodgson's side shocked Chelsea after beating the champions at Selhurst Park and picked up an excellent 3-0 win at Leicester this month to secure their first away win of the campaign. Seven points from their last three games, following Saturday's 1-1 draw at Swansea, has taken them out of the relegation zone and it would now be a surprise if the side were dragged back into trouble.

Gunners cannot be trusted on road

Arsenal missed out on Champions League football for the first time under Arsene Wenger last season and the Gunners face a big challenge to get back into the competition this season. Wenger's side are sixth in the table and appear to be locked in a battle with Liverpool and Tottenham to finish in fourth position. There have been flashes of quality from Arsenal, such as the home win over Spurs, but too often the side have disappointed especially on the road.

Their away form is particularly poor this season with Arsenal winning just two of their nine matches. With just one win in their last five matches in the league, the pressure is on the side as they do not want to lose touch with the teams above them. The Gunners drew 3-3 at home to Liverpool on Friday. Next month could be a significant one in the transfer market too with the future of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil up in the air and the possibility of the club cashing in on them before their contracts expire in the summer.

Eagles are tempting bet to upset odds

Palace are deemed outsiders for this match although the hosts have rightly been coming in for support recently. There still looks plenty of value in the Eagles at 4.67/2 considering their current form. Palace eased to a 3-0 home win over Arsenal last season and it would be no surprise if they claimed another victory this time. Hodgson's side, with Wilfried Zaha in impressive form, have the attacking weapons to trouble their opponents.

Arsenal are 1.865/6 favourites for this match but there are simply too many doubts surrounding the visitors to trust them at these odds. Wenger's side have only won one of their last four away matches and have been a letdown too many times. This looks a tricky fixture for the Gunners and there is no temptation to side with them to claim a win at such a short price.

The draw is available at 4.03/1 and is definitely worth considering. Arsenal have been held in their last two away matches and three of their last four league games have ended level. Palace have drawn four of their last six games so it would be no surprise if there was another stalemate. Out of the three options in this market, the draw is arguably the most appealing of the bets.

Palace worth backing to extend unbeaten run

Crystal Palace are well worth backing, in some shape or form, after their excellent run in the last few months. The Eagles have not lost for eight matches and are unbeaten at Selhurst Park since the middle of September. Arsenal have been poor away from home and there is much more value in backing Palace to avoid defeat at a bigger price than taking the visitors to win. Hodgson's side merit support at 2.1411/10 in the double chance market against vulnerable favourites.

Ref Watch

Michael Oliver has been given this fixture and the referee has already handed out five red cards this season. His most recent dismissals came in Watford's home defeat to Huddersfield last week when Troy Deeney and Jonathan Hogg were sent off.

Opta Stat

The Gunners have kept a clean sheet in all three of their Premier League London derbies this season - they haven't gone four London derbies without conceding since February 1999. Arsenal are 2/1 to keep another clean sheet in their latest match.


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