Lacazette snatches draw on Vieira’s Arsenal return

Alexandre Lacazette snatched a point from the jaws of defeat as Arsenal drew 2-2 with Crystal Palace on Patrick Vieira’s return to the Emirates Stadium.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s rebound gave Arsenal an eighth-minute lead but Palace staged an incredible second-half comeback as goals from Christian Benteke (50) and Odsonne Edouard (73) left former Gunners captain Vieira seconds away from victory at the club he won three Premier League titles at over a nine-year spell as a player.

Arsenal looked out of ideas after Kieran Tierney rattled the crossbar late on but, just when it seemed Palace had soaked up everything Arsenal could throw at them, substitute Lacazette rammed home a rebound in the fifth minute of stoppage time to salvage a point.

The draw extends Arsenal’s unbeaten league run to five games and prevents Palace from leapfrogging the Gunners in the Premier League table.

Player ratings

Arsenal: Ramsdale (6), Tomiyasu (6), Gabriel (6), White (7), Tierney (6), Partey (5), Odegaard (5), Saka (5), Smith Rowe (5), Pepe (5), Aubameyang (7).

Subs: Lacazette (6), Lokonga (6), Martinelli (6).

Crystal Palace: Guaita (7), Ward (6), Andersen (6), Guehi (6), Mitchell (7), Gallagher (8), Milivojevic (5), McArthur (5), Ayew (7), Edouard (8), Benteke (8).

Subs: Tomkins (6), Olise (6), Kouyate (6).

Man of the Match: Conor Gallagher

Lacazette snatches late point on Vieira’s return

Vieira received a rousing reception as the teams made their way onto the pitch, but the warm welcome lasted all of eight minutes as Arsenal made a perfect early start.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrates scoring for Arsenal against Crystal Palace
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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored in three consecutive home league games for Arsenal for the first time since September 2019 (a run of five)

The Gunners opened the scoring through captain Aubameyang, who tapped in a rebound from a tight angle after goalkeeper Vicente Guaita had done well to prevent Nicolas Pepe’s shot from curling into the far corner.

Palace responded well to falling behind, preventing Arsenal from kicking on and pushing hard for an equaliser before the break, with Benteke and the impressive Conor Gallagher both drawing Aaron Ramsdale into saves before half-time.

Team news

  • Nicolas Pepe replaced Sambi Lokonga in Arsenal’s only change from the goalless draw at Brighton.
  • Crystal Palace were without Wilfried Zaha as Christian Benteke came into the side that drew 2-2 with Leicester before the international break.

James McArthur was fortunate to only see yellow for a reckless swipe on Bukayo Saka’s calf before the break, with the Arsenal youngster off during the interval.

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Jamie Carragher & Gary Neville analyse James McArthur’s challenge on Bukayo Saka. Both believe that the Palace midfielder was fortunate not to be given a red card.

After Thomas Partey whistled a shot past the angle of post and bar within minutes of the restart, Vieira’s side grew as an attacking force and restored parity soon after.

Partey was closed down by Jordan Ayew in midfield and the ball broke to Benteke, who skipped around Gabriel Magalhaes before rifling in his fourth Emirates Stadium goal with an unerring equaliser.

Christian Benteke celebrates scoring Crystal Palace's first goal against Arsenal
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Only Jamie Vardy (5) has scored more Premier League goals as a visiting player at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium than Crystal Palace forward Christian Benteke (4)

Vieira showed no hesitation punching the air in celebration and watched on as Palace pushed for a quick-fire second, but Ayew’s thunderous drive from the edge of the box drew a fine fingertip save from Ramsdale.

Mikel Arteta introduced Lacazette on 67 minutes and the Frenchman injected some much-needed urgency into the Arsenal attack, linking up with Aubameyang and a brilliant save from Guaita.

Crystal Palace's Odsonne Edouard, centre left, celebrates with team mates after scoring his side's second goal during an English Premier League soccer match between Arsenal and Crystal Palace at the Emirates Stadium in London, England, Monday Oct. 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
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Crystal Palace’s Odsonne Edouard celebrates with team-mates after scoring at Arsenal

But Arsenal’s momentum was stopped in its tracks when Palace robbed Sambi Lokonga of possession and drove into opposition territory, where Edouard thundered a stunning effort in off the underside of the bar.

Palace opted to sit back and soak up the Arsenal pressure, a strategy which nearly delivered victory, with the Gunners only able to smash the underside of the bar through Tierney. But with the final kick of the game, a ball fell for Lacazette after Palace failed to clear their lines and he snatched a dramatic late point.

Opta stats

  • Arsenal have lost just one of their last six Premier League home games (W4 D1) after losing three of the five before that (W1 D1).
  • Crystal Palace are unbeaten in their last four Premier League away games against Arsenal (W1 D3), after avoiding defeat in just four of their previous 18 visits to Highbury/Emirates Stadium in league competition (W1 D3 L14).
  • Arsenal made two errors leading to goals in a Premier League game for the first time since April 2019 vs Wolves and for the first time at the Emirates since December 2017 vs Man Utd.
  • Since making his Arsenal debut in February 2018, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored 91 goals in 156 club appearances – the only Premier League players to score more in all competitions during this period are Mohamed Salah (109) and Harry Kane (99).
  • Crystal Palace striker Christian Benteke has scored six goals in 16 Premier League appearances against Arsenal, only scoring more in the competition against Chelsea and Sunderland (seven against both).
  • Crystal Palace attacker Odsonne Édouard has averaged a goal every 90 minutes in the Premier League this season (3 goals), the third-best rate of any player in the division to net 3+ goals in 2021-22 (Firmino 53.7, Calvert-Lewin 82.7).

What the managers said…

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Mikel Arteta says his side started the match well but then became too passive and allowed Crystal Palace back into the match when they should have went looking for a second goal.

Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta: “We started the game very well, very dominant, very fluid. We deserved a goal and scored the goal, were in total control. After that we lacked composure, belief and maturity to manage the game.

“We didn’t enjoy that period. We changed a couple of things at half-time, we were better and controlled again, but then we gave the ball away, something you cannot do in this league.

“After that it was a difficult mountain to climb but credit to the team, they never gave up, the substitutes were magnificent, and we created three big chances and scored the goal I think we deserved right at the end.”

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Patrick Vieira was full of praise for how his side played against Arsenal and felt Crystal Palace should have won the match, but admits his team will need to learn from the setback.

Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira: “It was so close, but we have been saying that a little bit too often. We have to learn from the games we played previously. I am really disappointed because the way the team came back in the second half, they deserved to win the game.

“I am frustrated for them; they were brave and showed character and to concede a goal like that I am disappointed for my players. We conceded those goals on set pieces on the second phases and we need to work on that. We have to pull our sleeves up and put our bodies on the line.

“We were really unlucky today; it is the way it is, but I believe there is more to come from the team to challenge even better. These games will make us stronger. A performance like that allowed me to be more demanding of the players and go back to the field and improve ourselves again.”

Man of the Match – Conor Gallagher

Sky Sports’ Gary Neville:

“I liked his energy, his commitment to go and press the ball, his intensity breaking up play and, when he got the ball, he used it. You need players in your team who are going to go and win the ball back, do the hard yards. It was a really proactive performance that Crystal Palace can be proud of, and Conor Gallagher was a big part of that.”

What’s next?

Arsenal host Aston Villa on Friday Night Football at 8pm – live on Sky Sports – before Crystal Palace host Newcastle in the Premier League on Saturday at 3pm.

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Arsenal vs Crystal Palace on MNF: Vieira to haunt Gunners?

Team news, stats and prediction ahead of Arsenal vs Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Monday Night Football; kick-off 8pm.

Team news

Arsenal remain without Granit Xhaka for the Premier League visit of Crystal Palace on Monday Night Football.

The midfielder suffered ligament damage in his right knee during last month’s win over Tottenham and will be missing until around the new year.

Gabriel Martinelli (muscular) could also be absent while Mikel Arteta will check his international stars all returned unscathed.

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Mikel Arteta urges Arsenal fans to give Patrick Viera the welcome he deserves when Crystal Palace visit Arsenal on Monday Night Football

Crystal Palace boss Patrick Vieira has reported a clean bill of health from his international players who have returned from World Cup qualifying duty.

Nathan Ferguson and Ebere Eze (both Achilles) continue to make good progress with their respective recoveries, but the pair will not be rushed back into first-team action.

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Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira confirms that Eberechi Eze is back in training with the squad, but won’t be rushed back after a lengthy injury

Vieira, who returns to Arsenal after spending nine trophy-laden years as a player there between 1996 and 2005, could hand a starting spot to Michael Olise after his impressive contribution as a substitute in the pre-international break draw with Leicester.


Monday 18th October 7:00pm


Kick off 8:00pm

Sky Sports Premier League HD
Sky Sports Premier League HD

How to follow

Arsenal vs Crystal Palace is live on Sky Sports Premier League from 7pm; kick-off 8pm. Sky Sports customers can watch in-game clips in the live match blog on the Sky Sports website and app. Highlights will also be published on the Sky Sports digital platforms and the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel shortly after the final whistle.

Last time out…

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Brighton’s draw against Arsenal in the Premier League

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Crystal Palace’s draw against Leicester City in the Premier League

Jones Knows’ prediction

Arsenal have won five of their last six home games in all competitions. This has coincided with a much-improved defensive performance in recent weeks, keeping three clean sheets in their last four games with the defensive axis of Aaron Ramsdale, Gabriel and Ben White showing some promising early signs. I think they’ll have too much for Palace here.

Following Emile Smith Rowe in various shots and goalscorer markets has been a profitable strategy so far this season and there is no reason to ditch him just yet, especially with confidence flowing having netted three goals in his last five games for club and country. Despite playing in a very advanced role for Mikel Arteta, he is still being priced up by the markets as an inconsistent wide player with little end product.

There is no way we’ll be getting prices like 10/11 with Sky Bet for him to have at least one shot on target in a few months. It’s a bet that would have won in nine of his last 10 appearances in all competitions both domestically and internationally with his only failure to hit the target coming in the defeat at Manchester City when Arsenal hardly ventured out of their own half. I’d expect the Gunners to dominate territory for large chunks of this encounter which should see Smith Rowe come to the fore in dangerous areas. He can hit the target.

SCORE PREDICTION: 2-0

BETTING ANGLE: Emile Smith Rowe to have at least one shot on target (10/11 with Sky Bet)

Opta stats

  • Arsenal have won just one of their last six Premier League meetings with Crystal Palace (D4 L1), though it was in their last such meeting in May (3-1 at Selhurst Park).
  • Crystal Palace are unbeaten in their last three Premier League away games against Arsenal (W1 D2). The Eagles had only avoided defeat in three of their previous 16 visits to Highbury/Emirates Stadium in league competition (W1 D2 L13).
  • Arsenal have won their last seven Premier League home games played on a Monday, scoring 15 goals and conceding just twice in return.
  • After an 11-game winless run in Premier League London derbies, Crystal Palace won their last such match 3-0 against Tottenham. The Eagles haven’t won consecutive league derby matches since April 2017, which included a 3-0 win against Arsenal.
  • Arsenal have won four of their last five Premier League home games (L1), as many as they had in their previous 15 at the Emirates combined.
  • Crystal Palace have conceded more goals from outside the box than any other side in the Premier League this season (5). However, just two of Arsenal’s last 35 league goals have been from distance, with Willian (vs West Brom in May) and Martin Ødegaard (vs Burnley this season) netting direct free-kicks.
  • Coming into this weekend’s games, no side has conceded more first-half goals in the Premier League than Arsenal (6). However, no other team have scored fewer goals before half-time than Crystal Palace this term (1).
  • Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira made 279 Premier League appearances for Arsenal, with only five players making more for the club in the competition. Vieira will be just the fourth person to have played for the Gunners in the Premier League and then managed against them in the competition, after David O’Leary (W3 D2 L9), Tony Adams (L1) and Remi Garde (L1).
  • Of goalkeepers to play more than once in the Premier League this season, Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsdale has the best minutes per goal conceded ratio, with the Gunners conceding just one goal every 360 minutes on average with the Englishman in goal. However, teammate Bernd Leno has the joint-worst such ratio in the competition this term (one every 30 minutes).
  • Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha has been pressured by opponents more often than any other player in the Premier League this season (341), while the Ivorian has also been fouled more than anyone else in the competition this term (24).

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Arsenal’s ‘Benjamin’ White: I don’t watch football

Arsenal’s Ben White actually prefers to be called Benjamin – and he admits he does not really watch football.

“You can call me whatever you want, I just might not reply,” he joked, after it was pointed out to him his name is Benjamin on some social media and Ben on others, “but my name is actually Benjamin”.

The £50m summer-signing from Brighton, who is beginning to find his form under Mikel Arteta, says he did not watch games as a kid – he just loved playing – and he prefers to spend his time doing other things.

Whether that is helping him at his new club it is too early to say – White is still settling in – but the 24-year-old insists it allows him to at least give his full attention to training.


Monday 18th October 7:00pm


Kick off 8:00pm

Sky Sports Premier League HD
Sky Sports Premier League HD

“Football is so intense,” he told Sky Sports News ahead of the visit of Crystal Palace and their new manager – the former Arsenal great Patrick Vieira, whom White admits he knows little about.

“You come in every day giving 100 per cent. All I want to do is go home and not think about it, then come in in the morning fresh and ready to give 100 per cent again.

“I watch myself for analytical reasons. I watch England, maybe, but I’m always busy doing something. I wouldn’t just sit down and watch a game.

Arsenal paid £50m to sign Ben White from Brighton
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Arsenal paid £50m to sign Ben White from Brighton

“I didn’t ever watch football when I was younger. I still don’t now. I just loved the game, I was always playing it, never watching.

“So I don’t know too much about the older generations, but I know Vieira was a very good player. But I don’t know the details.”

White was thrust straight into Arteta’s plans from the first game of the season; a hellish opener at promoted Brentford that saw them lose 2-0 and White struggling for one of their goals.

But he has made four further starts since, having recovered from a spell out with Covid-19, and helped the Gunners secure clean sheets in three of those games.

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Mikel Arteta urges Arsenal fans to give Patrick Viera the welcome he deserves when Crystal Palace visit Arsenal on Monday Night Football

“The first game didn’t go very well. Then I got Covid and missed two games. Then we were straight back in and that’s where we picked up,” he said.

“I don’t think adapting to a big club (was a reason for my slow start). It didn’t feel like a big club when I came here. Everyone is so nice and welcoming.

“Clean sheets are the aim for the team. I don’t think it’s just the back four and goalie that keep a clean sheet – it’s the whole team. It’s come into my game since I’ve been at Arsenal – the love of defending and keeping a clean sheet.”

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PL predictions: Liverpool, Chelsea, Man Utd all to slip

Our betting guru Jones Knows thinks Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United will all fail to win as he tackles this weekend’s predictions.

Watford vs Liverpool, Saturday 12.30pm

I’m expecting a barrage of the usual witty remarks like “you should change your name to Jones doesn’t Know – haha” at the full-time of this one – but I’m up for taking Liverpool on here at a very skinny 1/3 with Sky Bet.

For two main reasons.

The Claudio Ranieri bounce factor and Jurgen Klopp’s recent record with the Reds playing at 12.30pm on a Saturday.

One thing you can guarantee with appointing Ranieri is a positive mentality and an ability for players to increase their work-rate for him almost instantly. He has the bounce factor as seen by the fact he’s only lost one of his last eight games when taking charge of a team for the first time, including winning both his first matches in charge of Leicester (4-2 over Sunderland) and Fulham (3-2 over Southampton).

Meanwhile, Liverpool have only won two of their last six 12.30pm Saturday kick-offs. That may not sound too catastrophic, but all those fixtures came against teams that Liverpool were heavy favourites to beat. That’s a big loss if you’re backing them to level stakes, hence my willingness to take them on at odds-on here.

In that run, they drew with Everton, Newcastle and Brighton while losing 3-1 at Leicester City. Throw in the likely absence of Alisson in goal due to his international commitments with Brazil – they have suffered shock defeats to Aston Villa (7-2) and Brighton (1-0) when he’s been missing before – then, at the odds available, the 5/2 about Watford winning or drawing the game seem very reasonable.

SCORE PREDICTION: 1-1

BETTING ANGLE: Watford to draw or win (5/2 with Sky Bet)

Claudio Ranieri has been appointed as Watford's new manager
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Claudio Ranieri has been appointed as Watford’s new manager

Aston Villa vs Wolves, Saturday 3pm – PLAY SUPER 6 HERE!

A fine margin game that reinforces what a tough gig it is predicting Premier League matches. Both teams are trending upwards in terms of their results but creating good quality chances and taking them seems to be an issue for both looking at their expected goals data, especially for Wolves. Despite winning two of their last three matches, they haven’t posted an expected goals figure above 1.00, which suggests a slight overperformance. On that basis, I’ll side with a narrow Villa win with no confidence whatsoever.

Since switching to a back three and encouraging their wing-backs in Matt Targett and Matty Cash to play more aggressively, Villa’s corner count is seeing a sharp increase. In their last four fixtures against tough opponents like Tottenham, Manchester United, Everton and Chelsea, they have averaged 7.25 corners per 90 minutes. I’d expect them to enjoy plenty of territorial advantage in this encounter and Wolves are averaging 5.5 corners against since Bruno Lage took charge. I’d be surprised if Villa don’t win at least six corners, which can be backed at Evens with Sky Bet. But for those that like a bigger price, the eight or more corners at 100/30 or even 10 or more corners a 9/1 is worth a look. They did win 11 corners at Chelsea after all.

SCORE PREDICTION: 1-0

BETTING ANGLE: Aston Villa to win six or more corners (Evens with Sky Bet)

Leicester vs Manchester United, Saturday 3pm – PLAY SUPER 6 HERE!

It’s a make or break period for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. And with Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea all to come in the next 45 days, this fixture is arguably the easiest Premier League opponent they’ll face in the next month or so based upon Leicester’s current form. Just one clean sheet in 13 games doesn’t read well for Brendan Rodgers, whose side are on a run of four games without a win.

But I still don’t want to back Manchester United, who are favourites for the win at 21/20 with Sky Bet. They undoubtedly have the attacking firepower to take the game away from Leicester at any point but go into battle here with a weakened defence as Harry Magure and Raphael Varane are both missing. That will give Leicester plenty of hope.

In the last five matches where Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly have both started, United are winless.

Bailly filled in at full-back alongside Maguire and Lindelof in the 2-2 draw with Leicester in December 2020 but started at centre-back with Lindelof for the next four results shown in the above graphic, including the 1-0 defeat to West Ham in the Carabao Cup earlier this season. I’ll back a high scoring draw here.

SCORE PREDICTION: 2-2

BETTING ANGLE: Back the draw (12/5 with Sky Bet)

Manchester City vs Burnley, Saturday 3pm – PLAY SUPER 6 HERE!

My aim through these prediction/betting snippets is to try and guide you towards a potential angle of profit that is drenched with value – but I’m really struggling with this one. Manchester City are available to back at 1/11 with Sky Bet for good reason – but you didn’t need to be told that.

Sean Dyche just doesn’t know how to stop them. Burnley have lost each of their last eight meetings vs City in all competitions by an aggregate score of 30-1 with Pep Guardiola’s side winning the last six Premier League games by a 22-1 aggregate score. For those playing the accumulators this weekend, perhaps a City win to nil is a shrewder way of boosting the price to a more respectable 4/6 with Sky Bet.

However, tipping something at odds-on when it is fairly priced isn’t really my style.

Sometimes the best bet is no bet.

SCORE PREDICTION: 4-0

Norwich vs Brighton, Saturday 3pm – PLAY SUPER 6 HERE!

Norwich haven’t scored in the last 235 minutes of Premier League football since Teemu Pukki’s goal vs Watford on September 18. I can see that being extended by a further 90 minutes this weekend.

Graham Potter receives plenty of admiration for the way his Brighton team play with such style on the ball but it’s their work without it that is seriously impressive. As a defensive unit, Brighton are one of the best in the Premier League and it’s hard to see how a confidence-drained attack like Norwich will find a way through.

This calendar year, only Manchester City and Chelsea have a better defensive process than Potter’s boys. That’s based on expected goals against (25.7) and actual goals conceded (26) – it’s a phenomenal achievement and has allowed Brighton to pick up points this season in games where their attacking process has failed. Norwich are bound to allow their visitors space to create chances and with the door shut at the other, I like the look of Brighton to win without conceding at 5/2.

SCORE PREDICTION: 0-2

BETTING ANGLE: Brighton to win to nil (5/2 with Sky Bet)

Southampton vs Leeds, Saturday 3pm – PLAY SUPER 6 HERE!

Southampton have major problems in front of goal having not scored from open play since August 28 while Leeds look set to be missing their two most attacking weapons in Patrick Bamford and Raphinha. When it comes to an outright prediction, it’s hard to separate them. When that is the case, play the draw.

A more confident shout is found in the goalscorer markets. With Patrick Bamford still missing for Leeds, there is still juice to be had in Mateusz Klich’s price to score. One of the more underrated players in the Leeds team for a goal, Klich is given a huge amount of licence to drive into the box. Klich has had 19 touches in the opposition box in his last three matches and has posted an expected goal figure of 0.69 from his nine shots on goal. I’d recommend taking the 10/1 with Sky Bet for him to score the first goal with the added bonus that he’s likely to be on penalties in the absence of Bamford.

SCORE PREDICTION: 1-1

BETTING ANGLE: Mateusz Klich to score first (10/1 with Sky Bet)

Winners from last round of games:

  • Tottenham vs Villa over 11 corners at 11/10
  • Brentford to have more booking points than West Ham at 10/11
  • Manchester United 1-1 Everton at 9/1
  • Michael Keane to have 1+ shot at 11/8

Brentford vs Chelsea, Saturday 5.30pm, live on Sky Sports


Saturday 16th October 5:00pm


Kick off 5:30pm

Sky Sports Premier League HD
Sky Sports Premier League HD

Arsenal, Liverpool and West Ham have all been buzzed by Brentford – now it could be Chelsea’s turn.

Brentford’s process in terms of their performance metrics certainly backs up that taking 12 points from their opening seven Premier League matches is no fluke. The start they have made is pretty phenomenal. Only six newly promoted sides in Premier League history have taken more points at this stage, and it’s the most won after seven games since Hull City’s fast start in 2008. I covered the Bees’ clash with West Ham and their first 30 minutes was the most complete performance I’ve ever seen from a newly promoted team. They made the Hammers – a team that finished sixth last season – look like relegation candidates.

Brentford vs Chelsea

A look at the match prices for this west London derby certainly brings forward the argument that Brentford are still being underestimated by the markets. You can almost get 11/2 with Sky Bet for a home win and 5/2 for the Bees to avoid defeat – it’s a real tempter for a team that has only lost one of their last 19 league games across two seasons. And that defeat was a last-minute winner for Brighton in a game where there was nothing between the teams.

I have decided to play a shorter price to get Brentford on my side though as the Evens for both teams to score looks too good to turn down.

Chelsea’s defensive process remains strong but certainly it’s not at the levels of last season. They are offering up good chances to the opposition. A figure of 1.45 expected goals conceded per 90 minutes in their last eight fixtures showcases that, albeit it’s included matches against Liverpool and Manchester City.

In fact, Chelsea have the biggest difference between goals conceded (3) and expected goals against (8.6) in the Premier League after the opening seven games – at 5.6. Perhaps this Chelsea defence isn’t as watertight as the actual numbers suggest? That makes the possibility of Brentford scoring in this game more likely than the odds on offer. Get on the both-teams-to-score train – it’s best bet of the weekend material.

SCORE PREDICTION: 1-1

BETTING ANGLE: Both teams to score (Evens with Sky Bet)

Everton vs West Ham, Sunday 2pm, live on Sky Sports


Sunday 17th October 1:00pm


Kick off 2:00pm

Sky Sports Premier League HD
Sky Sports Premier League HD

This could be a slow burner. Both these two love to counter-attack and this one might not take off until the first goal is scored. A tight encounter is expected. My eyes have wandered to the shots market for a bet.

There is absolutely no way I can let Kurt Zouma – arguably the most dangerous attacker of a set piece in the Premier League – go off 6/1 with Sky Bet to have a header on target.

You can rest assured one of the main reasons West Ham decided to fork out £30m for his signature revolved around his threat in the opposition box. David Moyes has built a very powerful team that are hugely focused on causing problems from set pieces. Zouma almost opened his account in the 2-1 defeat to Brentford but headed wide from six yards out, posting a bulky expected goal figure of 0.13.

Zouma scored five times for Chelsea last season, a feat which made him the joint-top scoring defender in the Premier League along with Lewis Dunk yet his average of 0.22 goals per 90 minutes officially made Zouma the deadliest. His shots data backs that theory up. His average of 1.2 shots per 90 minutes and 0.4 headers on target per match put him top of the shops for defenders in both departments last season. Those figures make his prices of 11/10 with Sky Bet to have one or more shots in the match and the aforementioned 6/1 for a header on target huge value plays.

Here, he lines up against his former side (he actually scored for Everton vs West Ham in 2019), knowing Rafa Benitez’s boys have shown a weakness at defending set pieces this season, conceding three goals already via that route – something Burnley exploited very shrewdly at Goodison Park earlier this campaign where Ben Mee opened the scoring.

SCORE PREDICTION: 1-1

BETTING ANGLE: Kurt Zouma to have one or more headers on target (6/1 with Sky Bet)

Newcastle vs Tottenham, Sunday 4.30pm, live on Sky Sports

With so much uncertainty surrounding the manager situation at Newcastle, this encounter is a prediction nightmare from a match result perspective. Steve Bruce or no Steve Bruce, there should still be a revitalised atmosphere at St James’ Park and they possess an attack to seriously ask questions of the visitors. At 5/2 with Sky Bet, the home win looks a backable price.

Harry Kane is taking up a huge chunk of the first goalscorer market but he heads north out of form playing in this Tottenham side. Kane has yet to score in the Premier League this season. After missing the opening game vs Man City he has not scored in any of the last six – his longest run without a league goal since failing to score in the opening six games of the 15/16 season. His price of 3/1 in the first goalscorer market has to be taken on.

Allan Saint-Maximin is likely to continue in a central attacking role and the quotes of 15/2 with Sky Bet about him scoring the first goal significantly underestimate his talents. The flying Frenchman has had the most shots (14), shots on target (6) and opposition box touches (40) for Newcastle this season and has revelled being the main source of goals since Callum Wilson’s injury, scoring in the last two matches at St James’ Park. He can make it three in a row here.

SCORE PREDICTION: 2-1

BETTING ANGLE: Allan Saint-Maximin to score first (15/2 with Sky Bet)

Arsenal vs Crystal Palace, Monday 8pm, live on Sky Sports


Monday 18th October 7:00pm


Kick off 8:00pm

Sky Sports Premier League HD
Sky Sports Premier League HD

Arsenal have won five of their last six home games in all competitions. This has coincided with a much-improved defensive performance in recent weeks, keeping three clean sheets in their last four games with the defensive axis of Aaron Ramsdale, Gabriel and Ben White showing some promising early signs. I think they’ll have too much for Palace here.

Following Emile Smith Rowe in various shots and goalscorer markets has been a profitable strategy so far this season and there is no reason to ditch him just yet, especially with confidence flowing having netted three goals in his last five games for club and country. Despite playing in a very advanced role for Mikel Arteta, he is still being priced up by the markets as an inconsistent wide player with little end product.

Arsenal vs Crystal Palace

There is no way we’ll be getting prices like 10/11 with Sky Bet for him to have at least one shot on target in a few months. It’s a bet that would have won in nine of his last 10 appearances in all competitions both domestically and internationally with his only failure to hit the target coming in the defeat at Manchester City when Arsenal hardly ventured out of their own half. I’d expect the Gunners to dominate territory for large chunks of this encounter which should see Smith Rowe come to the fore in dangerous areas. He can hit the target.

SCORE PREDICTION: 2-0

BETTING ANGLE: Emile Smith Rowe to have at least one shot on target (10/11 with Sky Bet)

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Arsenal hit four past Hoffenheim for first WCL win

Arsenal Women got their first points in this season’s Women’s Champions League, strolling past Hoffenheim 4-0 in Borehamwood on Thursday night.

Arsenal took the lead midway through the first half through Kim Little’s penalty (21), before Tobin Heath doubled the advantage at the perfect time just before half-time with a far-post finish (45+2).

The hosts didn’t slow down in the second half as Vivianne Miedema bundled the ball over the line after fine work from Jordan Hobbs (52), while Arsenal goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger made several excellent stops to keep the clean sheet.

Leah Williamson put the icing on the cake with a near post header from a corner (86), meaning the Gunners move to second in Group C, level on points with Hoffenheim after two games.

How Arsenal strolled to first WCL points

After losing 4-1 in Barcelona in their opener, Arsenal couldn’t afford to lose ground on the top two spots in Group C, taking a deserved lead in the first half.

After Beth Mead was brought down by Michaela Specht in the box, Little stepped up to send Hoffenheim goalkeeper Martina Tufekovic the wrong way.

Tobin Heath is congratulated by her team-mates after giving Arsenal a two-goal lead
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Tobin Heath is congratulated by her team-mates after giving Arsenal a two-goal lead

Arsenal were wasteful on the beak for the remainder of the half, until the final minute when Miedema headed down Nobbs’ cross into the path of Heath, who got her feet right to direct the ball back into the far corner from eight yards.

Jonas Eidevall’s side picked up where they left off, making it 3-0 just seven minutes into the second half; Nobbs’ brilliant first-time, curling effort from the edge of the box deserved better, but after Tufekovic tipped the ball away, it fell to Miedema on the line to force home.

Vivianne Miedema celebrates after putting Arsenal 3-0 up against Hoffenheim
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Vivianne Miedema celebrates after putting Arsenal 3-0 up against Hoffenheim

Hoffenheim had their fair share of chances – Sarai Linder headed a big chance high and wide, while Zinsberger saved superbly from Jule Brand twice, and Katie McCabe cleared another Linder header off the line – but Williamson topped off a brilliant personal performance with a goal late on.

Arriving at the near post to meet McCabe’s excellent corner, the defender squeezed the ball past Tufekovic.

What’s next?

Arsenal’s next WSL game is against West Ham at home on November 6 at 3pm, while they go to Danish side HB Koge in their next Champions League group game on November 10 at 5.45pm.

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