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Premier League: Arsenal can steal a march on rivals

With their five closest Premier League rivals all in action on Sunday, Arsenal have a great chance of forging even further clear at the top of the table when they visit Cardiff on Saturday afternoon.

Currently 3/1 second favourites to win the title with Coral, Arsenal will be vying for favouritism with Manchester City (9/5) if they can come away from South Wales with a win and so extend their lead in the Premiership to seven points.

Arsenal, a narrow defeat at Man United  aside, remain on the crest of a wave and though they looked a little lethargic at times in midweek against Marseille in the Champions League, there were still the occasional trademark moments of class, this time provided by Aaron Ramsey (yet again) and two-goal hero Jack Wilshire.

Cardiff did very well against Man United last weekend and a draw was the least they deserved, but the Reds were pretty poor for much of the game and Malky Mackay’s men may find life more difficult against such in-form and confident opposition. 8/13 the away win looks the right call.

City (30/100), so prolific at home, should prove too strong for Swansea and stay in touch at the top and Liverpool (4/6) should have too much for Hull. But Chelsea play Southampton and Spurs play United in the other Sunday fixtures, so the Gunners are sure to do themselves a lot of good if they can shoot down the Bluebirds.

Coral’s 6/1 Southampton to win at Chelsea catches the eye. The Blues deserved to lose to Basel in midweek and are still struggling for real consistency.

The Saints, on the other hand, continue to impress as they bid to break into the top four. Yes, they lost to Arsenal last weekend, but that was no disgrace, especially considering that the two goals they conceded in a game where they shared possession 50%-50% were a bizarre goalkeeping gift and a penalty.

Down at the bottom, Crystal Palace and Sunderland will be bidding to build on recent signs of revival in away games against Norwich and Aston Villa respectively.

Palace (100/30), under new manager Tony Pulis, may well have the momentum to beat a troubled Norwich at Carrow Road, while it would be no surprise to see the Black Cats come away from Villa Park with something, if only a draw (12/5).

The most entertaining game of the weekend may be at St James’ Park between Newcastle and West Brom, both in mid-table, but looking upwards rather than downwards following a productive November.

Newcastle will be looking forward to another home three points following last week’s win over Norwich, but they have a habit of following one step forwards with one step backwards and West Brom (12/5) are a good enough side to take full advantage if the Magpies aren’t on song.