19th Jan 2018 | Premier League
The Slow, Painful Demise
Arsene Wenger was keeping the doubters at bay thanks to an imperious home record but Arsenal have only won 1 of their last 4 at the Emirates now and the debacles at Forest and Bournemouth are fresh in the mind.
The whiff of mutiny will be in the air again at the Emirates if anything starts to go wrong here. Indeed, frustration levels are so high that they may not wait to see how this one pans out.
Arsenal are the only team to have beaten Crystal Palace in their last 12 league outings and that run alone makes the visitors worth a look at best odds of 13/8 (Bet365) in the double chance market.
Furthermore there’s a case for saying that the Eagles have improved and the Gunners weakened even since that 3-2 at Selhurst Park on 28 December.
That night Sanchez was the difference with 2 goals and it’s unlikely he will feature with his move to Old Trafford seemingly imminent. Wenger has suggested he might, but surely this would be ill-advised with the Chilean’s head elsewhere, the potential repercussions if he sustained an injury or indeed not knowing how the fans would react.
Another difference from the Christmas fixture is the emergence since then of Bakary Sako as a key player for Palace. The former Wolves’ winger was credited with turning the game at Southampton from off the bench before scoring goals in both of his subsequent starts against Brighton and Burnley.
He will be a handful for the Gunners’ vulnerable back line and that’s before you factor in Zaha and Benteke. Another Palace win or draw would make us money and neither can be discounted.
Odds correct at time of publishing: 07:21 19th Jan, 2018 but subject to change