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Arsenal v Crystal Palace preview: Title-chasing Gunners set to extend lead at top

Arsenal's Premier League title bid resumes on Sunday when they host a struggling Crystal Palace outfit who sacked Patrick Vieira on Friday. 

The Gunners, who are five points clear of Manchester City at the top of the table, will expect to pick up another vital victory to stay on course to claim their first title since 2004. 

With City in FA Cup action this weekend, a win would see Mikel Arteta's side move eight points clear of their nearest challengers heading into the international break and it would be the ideal reaction to their Europa League exit at the hands of Sporting Lisbon on Thursday. 

Palace opted to send Vieira packing following a dismal 12-match winless run in all competitions. They are yet to taste victory this year and Wednesday's 1-0 loss at Brighton was their third straight defeat by that scoreline - a result which left them 12th in the top flight but just three points clear of the bottom three before this weekend's games. 

WhatArsenal v Crystal Palace
WhereEmirates Stadium, London
When14:00, Sunday 19th March 2023
OddsArsenal 1/4, draw 19/4, Crystal Palace 11/1

Arsenal have the title in their sights 

With Arsenal enjoying a superb league campaign, they have silenced plenty of doubters over recent weeks who had suggested that they would falter in the second half of the season with City chasing them down. 

Following what could have been a damaging 3-1 home defeat to Pep Guardiola's side in mid-February, Arteta's men have responded by going on an impressive five-game winning run, scoring 15 goals in the process. 

They have had to dig themselves out of trouble at times with late wins over Aston Villa and Bournemouth during that period but they have displayed the cliched spirit and ability to get results no matter what that title winners often demonstrate when the going gets tough. 

Last weekend's 3-0 success at Fulham, which looked a dangerous assignment on paper, was one of their most accomplished performances of the campaign as they blew the top-six chasing Cottagers away in the first half, so welcoming a woefully out-of-form Eagles side to the Emirates will hold little fear. 

Arteta opted to make five changes for Thursday's Europa League exit on penalties to Sporting, with influential regulars Thomas Partey, Martin Odegaard and Bukayo Saka all named on the bench, but he will revert to his trusted line-up this weekend and also has the bonus of a fit-again Gabriel Jesus at his disposal up front. 

Odegaard has been one of the stand-out midfielders in the top flight this season and the Norway international has already managed 10 league goals. He is 21/10 to add to that impressive tally and find the back of the net Anytime against Palace. 

McCarthy leads Eagles after Vieira axe 

Palace will hope for a reaction following Vieira's sacking and the Eagles have placed Under-21s boss Paddy McCarthy in charge for now, with U21s assistant Darren Powell working alongside him. 

However, getting a positive result at the Emirates is a huge ask for the visitors, who have looked short on confidence of late and have the air of a side slowly getting dragged into the relegation scrap. 

They haven't scored in any of their last four matches and even though they undoubtedly have exciting attacking talent in the shape of Wilfried Zaha and Michael Olise, they are clearly struggling in the final third. 

Palace did manage to keep Manchester City out until the 78th minute last weekend and will set up in a similar way to try and stifle Arsenal for as long as possible. 

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Gunners eye swift start

High energy starts have, though, been a feature of the Gunners' approach this term and, with a lively crowd backing them at home again, it would be no surprise to see them in front at half-time, on offer at 4/6 in Half Time Result.

Another Arsenal win to nil, which is available at 5/6 in the Result/Both Teams to Score market, also appeals considering Palace's recent poor form and the fact that three of the Gunners' last four league wins have come without their opponents managing to breach their defence.

Palace unbeaten in four Emirates trips 

With the odds stacked against Palace, the one ray of light is their recent results at the Emirates. 

The Eagles are unbeaten on their last four trips to Arsenal, following up a 3-2 win in April 2019 with three successive draws against their London rivals away from home. 

A 1-1 outcome is 10/1 in Correct Score, while a repeat of last season's 2-2 draw is a huge 66/1

However, it's difficult to see anything other than a home win all things considered with 3-0, which is 13/2 in Correct Score, or 4-0, available at 12/1, much more appealing.

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