Arsenal Will Show Palace No Pity
Arsenal fans, down in the dumps after the home defeat to Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League this week, should wonder just what it must be like to be a Crystal Palace supporter at the moment.
Seven defeats from eight games this season and – following a 4-1 home drubbing by Fulham on Monday – without a manager as charismatic boss Ian Holloway walked away, exhausted, from what now seems the hopeless task of keeping the club in the Premier League.
Misery is relative for the football fan. And at least Arsenal have a fantastic chance of bouncing straight back with a victory which would keep them at the top of the Premiership. Because now they play Crystal Palace this Saturday lunchtime. For the Eagles, there is no respite. Playing Arsenal means it is most likely going to get worse before it has a chance of getting better.
Coral go 8/1 Palace, a huge price for a home side in a Premiership fixture. Arsenal are 4/11, but the bet that really catches the eye is evens the Gunners to be ahead at half time and full time.
Caretaker boss Keith Millen’s team have two things going for them: first, they have their backs right up against the wall and may come out swinging, especially if the fans get behind them. And second, Dortmund have put a dent in Arsenal’s sky-high confidence and this might not be such a terrible time to play them.
But more realistically, Arsene Wenger’s men will take that midweek reverse on the chin, take comfort from the fact that they were playing one of the best sides in Europe and resume business as usual against a team they are a class above in technical terms.
Arsenal actually looked the more likely side to win on Tuesday after Olivier Giroud had equalised, but Wenger feels that their eagerness to take three points from the encounter instead of just settling for one cost them in the end.
Sitting back, though, is not Arsenal’s way, not Wenger’s way. They are at their best when they’re on the front foot and even if they play only as well as they did against Dortmund, the Palace defence is in for a torrid time.
With Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United and Southampton next up for Arsenal, Wenger will be keen to take full advantage of the last game of what has been a relatively gentle opening schedule to the season and there will be no sympathy for Palace’s predicament out on the pitch.
Stranger things have happened in football, of course, but this is probably going to be a very one-sided affair. Coral make Arsenal 9/1 shots to win 3-0, 18/1 4-0 and 40/1 5-0 and they might be the sort of scorelines we are in for.
Palace and their fans will be just wanting to get this match – and this week – out of the way before the work starts to turn it all around and stay in the Premiership against all the odds.