Crystal Palace made the decision to sack manager Patrick Viera ahead of their fixture with Arsenal but it won’t solve Palace’s biggest issue — our EPL picks have more.
Sunday sees Arsenal vs. Crystal Palace in a game that’s hugely important for both teams, both desperate for points at opposite ends of the Premier League table. The Gunners are sitting at the top and getting closer to a historic title. For Crystal Palace, they came into the weekend with just three points between them and the relegation spots.
The real news in the run-up to this game is around the sacking on Friday of Patrick Vieira, with Crystal Palace deciding to get rid of the Frenchman. Will they feel the new manager bounce here or will Arsenal secure the three points? Don’t miss our Arsenal vs. Crystal Palace picks and predictions.
Arsenal vs Crystal Palace best odds
Arsenal vs Crystal Palace picks and predictions
In the past 10 games, all against teams higher in the league, Palace had allowed just nine goals — yet are winless in those 10. Going winless in 10 games and only conceding nine goals shows the real problem, Crystal Palace’s lack of goals.
So far, they’ve scored just 21 league goals all season. Compare that with their rivals and that’s incredibly poor, as two of the three teams in the relegation zone have outscored them, with Leeds scoring 10 more than them.
Wilfried Zaha is their top scorer on six goals, a poor number but Zaha is best out wide and isn’t meant to be relied upon for goals. This managerial change won’t suddenly turn Jean-Phillippe Mateta or Odsonne Edouard into great goal-scorers. This is the team’s identity until the next transfer window.
So, now we have a Crystal Palace team who cannot score goals up against an Arsenal team who are not only top of the Premier League, but have the second-best defensive record in the league.
It’s very hard to see anything but an Arsenal win here and given that Palace can’t score and Arsenal have been fantastic defensively, it makes -120 on Arsenal winning to nil look like the best value bet of the weekend.
My best bet: Arsenal to win to nil (-120 at bet365)
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Arsenal vs Crystal Palace side analysis
You can get -390 on Arsenal winning this and while it should land, there’s very little value to be had there.
Arsenal will go out in their usual formation which switches between 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1 depending on the transition. The engine room of the midfield is Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey, with Martin Odegaard often dropping deeper to support them in defensive moments, before pushing forward behind the front man as they attack.
Gabriel Martinelli is likely to start on the left with Bukayo Saka on the other flank. The return of Gabriel Jesus was a welcome one for Mikel Arteta and he’ll be excited to see his striker again here.
We’re not totally sure how Crystal Palace will operate in this one, given the managerial change.
We can be fairly certain that we’ll see Zaha along with Michael Olise, who have been two of the better-attacking players this season. Cheick Doucoure has been a strong presence in the midfield and should be retained in the starting lineup, too.
Given the defensive strength of the team this season it would also be a shock if the back four was changed, so we’ll see Joachim Andersen and Marc Guehi flanked by Nathaniel Clyne and Tyrick Mitchell.
Crystal Palace do have problems in the goalkeeping department. First choice Vicente Guaita is still recovering from a hamstring injury and with Sam Johnstone a long-term absentee it means 19-year-old Joe Whitworth might get his second appearance for Crystal Palace, having started against Brighton midweek.
Arsenal vs Crystal Palace Over/Under analysis
You can get Under 2.5 goals at +125 which feels like a very good price, even without Patrick Vieira in charge of Crystal Palace. After all, this team has conceded just three goals in their past four Premier League games, despite facing the likes of Liverpool and Man City in that time.
The Over has landed in 63% of Arsenal’s games in the Premier League this season but they have slowed down slightly in recent weeks. Three of their past eight have seen Under 2.5 goals and I can see that happening here.
Admittedly this Crystal Palace team won’t be exactly the same, as under the Frenchman they saw Under 2.5 goals in 69.2% of their Premier League games away from home.
Arsenal vs Crystal Palace game info
|Location:||Emirates Stadium, London, England|
|Date:||Sunday, March 19, 2023|
|Time:||10:00 a.m. ET|
Arsenal vs Crystal Palace key injuries
Arsenal: Mohamed Elneny CM (Out), Eddie Nketiah STR (Out), William Saliba CB (Questionable), Takehiro Tomiyasu RB (Questionable).
Crystal Palace: Sam Johnstone GK (Out), James McArthur CM (Questionable), Will Hughes CM (Questionable), Albert Sambi Lokonga CM (Out), Vicente Guaita GK (Questionable).
Arsenal vs Crystal Palace recent form
|Teams||Last five matches|
Arsenal vs Crystal Palace weather
Temperatures will be in the mid to low-50s but it’ll be dry and cloudy throughout Sunday.