Thursday's game in the Premier League sees in-form Arsenal take on Crystal Palace and Tom Carnduff looks at the betting.
Football betting tips: Premier League
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Arsenal v Crystal Palace
- 20:00 GMT on Sky Sports Main Event
- Match odds: Home 8/15 | Draw 3/1 | Away 21/4
Talk of Arsenal's potential involvement in the relegation battle was sit present as late as mid-December, and while we never truly believed they would be dragged into it properly, the points difference meant it was a genuine possibility. However, a strong Christmas period has pushed them into mid-table and they are now just six points off the top-four.
A big result against Chelsea was seemingly the kick they needed and Mikel Arteta's faith in youth has paid off massively in recent games, with the Gunners finding an exciting front line once again. They were slightly flat against Newcastle, which can be expected with changes, but their Premier League performances before it reminded us of the potential of this team.
Emile Smith Rowe is a gem. An exciting attacking midfielder who reads the game well and looks comfortable in possession. He has four assists across six Premier League and Europa League appearances and the fact he is just 6/4 for another helper here shows how noticed he has become.
It's hardly a surprise when his three league appearances have all seen two key passes in each. He's the creator which Arsenal have been desperately lacking but the prices surrounding him are just too short, although he's certainly a player to consider in fantasy football teams.
One player who does represent good value in the assists market is Kieran Tierney. The defender has seen an upturn in form in recent weeks which has brought three assists across his last four in all competitions. The 7/2 available on one assist against a flat Palace side is on the generous side.
Tierney has seen 11 key passes across his last four Premier League appearances, with four coming in the win against West Brom and a huge six in the FA Cup victory over Newcastle. For an Arsenal side with a preference to attack down their left compared with their right (42% to 34%), Tierney should see plenty of involvement at the other end of the pitch.
A flat back-four is preferable for this when you look at the numbers from the last two games but he can still drive forward if he is on the left side of a back-three. Palace's form has been poor and they did little to inspire in the cup defeat to Wolves, Arsenal can more than capitalise given their recent positive results.
There isn't a reluctance to back an Arsenal win in the outright market but at 8/15 the value just isn't there. Instead, there is 8/5 available on a home win to nil, which looks a much better option. Palace are going back into shot-shy mode which was present at the beginning of the campaign. They had just five efforts against Wolves, five against Liverpool and four against Leicester.
So the win to nil is a possibility, but with 7/2 available on Tierney being involved in the goals again, the best bet can be found in backing the Arsenal defender grabbing an assist.
Score prediction: Arsenal 2-0 Crystal Palace (Sky Bet odds: 6/1)
Arsenal v Crystal Palace best bets
- In all competitions, Crystal Palace have registered just five wins in 47 previous matches against Arsenal (D14 L28), though they are unbeaten in their last two at the Emirates (W1 D1).
- Arsenal have earned more points in Premier League London derbies this season than any of the other five sides from the capital (9). Indeed, the Gunners have won three of their four London derby matches this season, already one more than they did in the whole of 2019-20 (W2 D4 L2).
- Arsenal are looking to win four consecutive Premier League games for the first time since October 2018 (7 in a row). The Gunners have scored eight goals in their last three Premier League matches, more than they had in their previous 12 combined (7).
- Alexandre Lacazette has scored seven Premier League goals this season, more than twice as many as any other Arsenal player. The Frenchman is averaging a league goal every 124 minutes this season, and has a shot conversion rate of 30.4%, his best returns in a single campaign since joining the Gunners.
- Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka has been involved in a goal in each of his last three Premier League appearances, scoring twice and assisting another. The last teenager to be involved in a goal in four straight Premier League games was Cesc Fàbregas (also with Arsenal in April 2007), while Saka could be the youngest to do so (19y 131d) since Wayne Rooney in March 2004 (18y 148d).
Odds correct at 1545 GMT (12/01/21)
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