Arsenal host Crystal Palace on Sunday, in a game that sees ex-Gunner Marouane Chamakh return to the Emirates for the first time since his departure.
Crystal Palace have struggled away from home so far this season, scoring just 5 goals and winning just 2 of their 11 games away from Selhurst Park. They are also the lowest scorers in the Premier League, scoring just 15 goals and face an uphill task against an Arsenal team looking to go back to the top of the table.
Arsenal are unbeaten at home since their opening day defeat to Aston Villa and have kept 6 clean sheets in their last 7 Premier League games at the Emirates, with Gerard Deulofeu the only player to score past them in that run of games.
Arsenal will be without the suspended Mathieu Flamini after he was sent off against Southampton in midweek, while Aaron Ramsey has suffered an injury setback.
Abou Diaby and Theo Walcott are both long term absentees, while Tomas Rosicky and Jack Wilshere may return.
Glenn Murray is a long term absentee for Palace, while Jerome Thomas and Kagisho Dikgacoi have both been ruled out. Jonathan Parr should return after suffering concussion, while Danny Gabbidon is suffering from a knock.
- Crystal Palace’s only win against Arsenal came in November 1979.
- Joel Ward has won the joint most tackles in the Premier League this season (69).
- Palace have scored the fewest away goals this season (5).
- Arsenal have kept 6 clean sheets in their last 7 home Premier League games.
- Olivier Giroud has scored the first goal of the game more times than any other player this season (6).
- There have been under 2.5 goals scored in Arsenal’s last 7 home games.
- No Crystal Palace player has more than 1 Premier League assist this season.
Santi Cazorla has found his shooting boots in recent weeks, scoring 3 goals in his last 3 Premier League games as well as scoring the opening goal against Tottenham in the F.A Cup.
The Spaniard has also created 32 chances and 2 clear cut chances for Arsenal this season, which is a chance every 42 minutes and a clear cut chance every 680 minutes. Cazorla has not been as creative as he was last season, but this is not surprising with the big money signing of Mesut Ozil and Cazorla’s role in the team changing.
Cazorla created a chance 8 minutes more often last season and finished the season with 11 assists, 9 more than he has this season, but it is Cazorla’s ability to keep the ball, especially in the final third that is important to Arsenal.
He has made 529 final third passes in this season, which is the third most in the Premier League behind Mesut Ozil and Eden Hazard and has completed an impressive 82% of them. With Cazorla and Ozil’s ability to keep hold of the ball in the final third it gives us some indication to just why Arsenal have been so successful so far this season.
Joel Ward has been one of Crystal Palace’s most consistent performers this season and has made the right back position his own.
The former Portsmouth defender has won the joint most tackles so far in the Premier League this season (69) and is yet to receive a single yellow card. He has won more ground duels than any other Crystal Palace player (118) and won 59% of his 81 aerial duels so far this season.
Ward has completed 76% of his 700 passes, including an impressive 67% of his 187 final third passes and created 15 chances. He has also created 2 clear cut chances and got one assist so far, which is the joint most in the Palace squad.
If Palace are to have any chance in this game then Joel Ward will need to be at his best and keep Cazorla quiet throughout the match, as well as pushing forward as often as he can.
Arsenal 3-0 Crystal Palace
Winner Sports Odds
Arsenal are favourites to win the game at 2/9 with Winner Sports, while you can back the draw at 11/2 and a Crystal Palace win at 12/1.
Over 2.5 goals in this game is priced at 8/13, with the predicted 3-0 scoreline priced up at 13/2.
Winner Sports are also offering a free £25 matched bet for new customers.