Arsenal host Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Thursday in an 8pm kick-off at the Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal can move into the top half of the table with a victory, but it would need to be by a three goal margin for that to occur.
Palace, meanwhile, come into the game a point behind their forthcoming opponents having ended a winless run of five league games by dispatching Sheffield United 2-0 last weekend.
The Gunners are odds-on 8/15 favourites to win the match, with the draw 3/1 and a Palace upset 11/2.
Arsenal have not won any of the last four meetings between the two sides, with both teams scoring in the last six meetings.
Indeed, Arsenal have failed to keep a clean sheet in 11 of their last 12 matches against Palace, so I think Mikel Arteta’s side are too short for my liking here.
However, there is no doubt that the 3-1 win over Chelsea on Boxing Day appears to have acted as a turning point for Arteta, with the Gunners winning three in a row, scoring eight and only conceding one in the process.
Palace have looked a bit toothless in comparison of late, but always possess a threat on the counter-attack with Wilfried Zaha and Eberechi Eze.
They’ve been less solid defensively this season, though, keeping only two clean sheets in their 17 PL matches (funnily enough, their first and last game of the season so far), with neither of those coming on the road.
I’m happy to back Arsenal to score, then, especially as they have done so in their last five matches, but that’s as far as I’ll go in what could be a tight game.
Andre Marriner officiates the clash at the Emirates Stadium, with the 50-year-old showing fewer than five cards in 41 of his last 43 Premier League matches, so it would be amiss not to play the percentages and add Under 5 Cards for Both Teams Combined.
However, he has shown four cards in each of his last four PL matches, so appears to have relocated the cards which have been stuck in his pocket for most of the last few years.
Games involving Arsenal and Palace tend to involve a few cards, with both sides picking up at least one card in 13 of their 17 matches, and their opponents picking up at least one card 16 and 14 times respectively.
With that and Marriner’s recent record in mind, I will add Over 1 Cards for Both Teams Combined. As such, we are relying on Marriner to show between two and four cards, which he has done in 80% of his PL matches this season:
If you’re looking for a bigger price, Arsenal to win, BTTS, 1+ card each team and Under 5 Cards is 15/2.
In terms of player bets, Luka Milivojevic is one yellow card away from a one-match ban, but with a trip to Manchester City three days later, he and Roy Hodgson may decide it certainly wouldn’t be the worst time for the Serbian midfielder to sit out a game. 5/2 (Unibet) is a good price for him to be carded.
Hector Bellerin has already served one, meanwhile, with no player in the league carded as often as his tally of six in his 15 starts. He is likely to be up against Eze, with Zaha drifting to that side of the pitch, with the Palace duo two of the most proficient players in the league in terms of dribbling and drawing. 9/2 (Sky Bet, Betfair) looks a good price for the Spain right-back to be carded, with Rob Holding and Dani Ceballos also good candidates on that side of the pitch at 11/2 and 5/1 respectively (both Unibet).
Elsewhere, Alexandre Lacazette has scored four goals in his last three games, while registering 2+ shots on target in three of his last four starts. He’s 11/10 to score anytime (Betfair) and the same price to have 2+ shots on target (Sky Bet), which both appeal.
James McArthur, meanwhile, is a tackling machine, landing 3+ in eight of his 15 PL starts this season. He’s 5/6 (Sky Bet) to do so again after making eight against Sheffield United.
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