CHRIS SUTTON TIPS ARSENAL TO SECURE 2-0 VICTORY AGAINST CRYSTAL PALACE
Arsenal return to Premier League action on Saturday when they host Crystal Palace at Emirates Stadium, and they will be desperate to return to winning ways having won just one of their last five league games.
Chris Sutton is tipping them for victory and has predicted a 2-0 win in the favour of the Gunners, but he reckons the Eagles will be tough nuts to crack for the North Londoners.
Arsenal have lost their last three games across all competitions and are now fourth in the table, five points behind leaders Liverpool, and manager Mikel Arteta will hope the warm-weather training in Dubai will get his men firing on all cylinders again.
“Crystal Palace went out of the FA Cup against Everton on Wednesday but they definitely had one eye on this game with the substitutions Roy Hodgson made,” Sutton wrote in his BBC prediction column.
“You know what Hodgson will do here – he will shut up shop and try to frustrate Arsenal, then hope to get something on the break, a lot like the Eagles did against Manchester City before Christmas.
“They have the quality to hurt Arsenal that way, but I still think this game is more about whether the Gunners can find a way through Palace’s defence.
“Of course, there are question marks over Mikel Arteta’s side after their recent results, especially in attack where they have not been taking their chances.
“They need to find a way of changing that and I suspect they will, but this prediction is really what I’m hoping for more than anything else.
“I want to see Arsenal in the title race and challenging Manchester City at the end of the season. For that to happen, they will have to hang on in there during spells like this.”
Hodgson is under pressure at Palace following a run of just one league win in their last nine games, and he will be hoping to get a result against Arsenal.
The Gunners cannot afford to slip further behind in the title race, and anything apart from a win on Saturday will not do their confidence any good.
The North Londoners play Nottingham Forest and Liverpool next, and they will need to be in fine form ahead of the visits of the Reds.
Arsenal have what it takes to pick up all three points against the Eagles, and they will fancy their chances having rested well and with many of their injured players returning to action.