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Arsenal v Palace: Sky Sports pundit offers surprise score prediction

By on December 30, 2016

Paul Merson has offered his predicted score ahead of Arsenal’s crucial Premier League clash with Crystal Palace on New Year’s Day.

We welcome Sam Allardyce’s side to the Emirates on Sunday afternoon after bouncing back from consecutive defeats by beating West Brom 1-0 thanks to a late Olivier Giroud goal.

The victory ensures we remain fourth in the table, a point above Tottenham and two adrift of Manchester City, but with Chelsea nine clear at the top we desperately need a win over Palace to cling on to any fading title hopes.

It was hardly convincing stuff from Arsene Wenger’s men against Albion and Merson believes the Eagles are going to cause us plenty of problems this weekend due to the presence of Christian Benteke up front and the pace they have in attack.

However, the former Arsenal winger believes we’ll do just enough to edge a five-goal thriller to secure all three points on home soil on Sunday afternoon.

Writing in his column for Sky Sports, Merson said:

I worry for Arsenal. They fall over the line against West Brom, thanks to Olivier Giroud. But the good thing I like about them, if they’re struggling, they put the ball into the box – unlike the last few years when they played it around like a power play in ice hockey, going from side to side.

At least they put it in for Giroud and have a Plan B. But I see Palace causing them major problems, Arsenal won’t be able to live with Christian Benteke and they have pace as well.

It will take Sam Allardyce a while to get used to Palace, but two away games in a row is perfect because he doesn’t have the pressure of having to win a match.

Sam is someone who will win, lose, draw, win, lose, draw, and before you know it, they’ll be out of trouble. For me, this is his biggest job in club football so far. It’s a great job, especially with the calibre of players he has at his disposal. He can’t believe his luck.

Arsenal have to win. Look at the table. They lose two games on the trot and they’re fighting for fourth, and they were 1-0 up in the first one they lost, about to go top of the league. Draws are just no good anymore, because these teams are ruthless and will run away with it.

PAUL PREDICTS: 3-2

I’d personally be extremely disappointed if we concede two goals at home to Palace on Sunday while I’d also be surprised if we’re able to put three past them as Allardyce will no doubt set-up defensively against us.

We all saw how much we struggled to find space and create clear cut chances against West Brom’s nine men behind the ball tactics so I’m preparing myself for another frustrating game this weekend.

However, as long as we come away with another three points I’ll be happy.

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