Sunday’s lone Premier League match will have massive ramifications at both ends of the table.
With a win over Crystal Palace, league-leaders Arsenal would go into the final international break of the season with an eight-point lead over Manchester City with one more match played.
Palace, meanwhile, are now firmly in the relegation battle with just three points separating them from the drop zone.
Does Palace have a hope of pulling off one of the biggest results of the season?
Crystal Palace vs. Arsenal pick
Patrick Vieira’s Crystal Palace were one of the most impressive teams in the Premier League last season.
The Eagles punched above their weight en route to a 12th-place finish and their expected goal difference suggested they deserved even better.
Palace’s defense was the driving force behind its success, as the Eagles finished seventh in goals conceded and fifth in expected goals allowed.
That defensive performance is what made Crystal Palace a trendy sleeper pick for the 2022-23 season.
Palace then backed up all that hype with a terrific showing on the Opening Day of the season.
Though they lost, 2-0, to Arsenal, Palace looked a tough nut to crack and probably deserved a better result on that day. Everything was looking up for the Eagles.
Unfortunately, things have gone awry since that day.
The Eagles have struggled in all phases of the game, but the defense has completely lost the plot compared to what we saw in 2021-22.
The Eagles rank 12th in non-penalty expected goals allowed, 13th in big scoring chances conceded and are the fourth-worst team in the circuit in preventing the opposition from entering their 18-yard box.
It’s a strange twist of events considering this is basically the same unit we saw last year with the same manager.
Arsenal should have no issues breaking down this Palace defense.
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The Gunners take more shots and create more box entries than any team in the Premier League and rank second in both expected goals created and big scoring chances generated.
Arsenal can likely name their score on Sunday.
That said, there are some cracks starting to show in the Arsenal defense.
After a brilliant first half of the season, the Gunners have seen their defensive numbers dip a bit since the World Cup break.
Arsenal still boasts one of the best defenses in the world, but their form has wobbled and Palace could find a way on the scoresheet.
Arsenal should do most of the heavy-lifting for this over 3.5, but Palace can contribute, too.
Crystal Palace vs. Arsenal prediction
Over 3.5 goals (+195, FanDuel)
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