Arsenal v Crystal Palace Betting Tips: Feisty start to the new year awaits at the Emirates

Dec 30 2016

One of the first matches of 2017 is a London derby at the Emirates between title chasing Arsenal and struggling Crystal Palace.

The winter period has once again made Arsenal show their true colours as, after a great start to the campaign, they are having their classic mid-season crash which, prior to their narrow victory over West Bromwich Albion, saw them lose two matches and slip down to 4th and just one point ahead of North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur in 5th.

Palace are likely going to try and frustrate Arsenal and so, despite The Gunners’ impressive looking forward-line, they may find it hard to break down their London counterparts. Additionally, although they managed to keep a clean sheet against the Albion, Wenger’s defence still looks a bit soft without the presence of injured centre-back Shkodran Mustafi – as proved by the fact they have kept just that single clean sheet in his absence. Furthermore, they miss influential midfielder Santi Cazorla who keeps them ticking over.

Despite this bit of negativity, playing at the Emirates is usually something that Arsenal favour, as shown by the fact they have won their last three at home and have not lost there since the opening day.

In appointing former England boss Sam Allardyce as manager, Crystal Palace have gone for the rescue job which has instantly given them a much better chance of survival and some would even say Allardyce’s appointment alone guarantees safety. In his match, Big Sam oversaw a 1-1 draw against Watford – a match that The Eagles really should have won after Christian Benteke spurned the chance to double their lead in missing a penalty before they conceded a goal in that exact fashion.

There’s no doubt about it, Palace will set up completely differently for this match under Allardyce than they would’ve done under Pardew and you can expect them to be a lot more solid at the back. Smash and grab will be the order of the day for Allardyce here. They will look to sit deep and contain before adopting a more direct forward approach – something that should play beautifully into the hands of the aforementioned striker Christian Benteke. It has to be said that Arsenal don’t like playing these types of teams and so Palace will take confidence in that. Additionally, this is a grudge match between two different managerial personalities so we should be in for a fiery game.

Although Arsenal will be expected to come out on top in the end, I think this could actually be pretty tense and certainly not a walkover by any means. With this in mind, although goals are likely, a huge amount isn’t. ‘2-3 Total Goals’, at 5/4, is a bet that gives flexibility on the result here.

As previously mentioned, this is a bit of a grudge match – one that Allardyce will have his players right at it for so we can expect a few tackles to fly in and Arsenal will likely retaliate as some of their players are capable of being a bit dirty themselves. On this basis, ‘Over 45 Booking Points’, at 7/4, makes for a good secondary bet.

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