Big Test For Arsenal Against In-Form Everton
Arsenal v Everton
Let’s be honest here. No one expected Arsenal to be 12 points clear of reigning champions Manchester United after 14 games, least of all Arsenal. And even fewer expected to see Nicklas Bendtner play for the club again, let alone score the opener in the midweek win over Hull.
But now that the dust has settled and everyone’s stopped retweeting months-old Piers Morgan meltdowns, Arsène Wenger’s side face a real test: Roberto Martinez’s Everton.
Everton themselves have impressed, currently sitting seven points behind Arsenal in seventh and causing fans of other clubs to complain about the loan system which has allowed them to borrow Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku for a year. Strangely, few of these people were complaining during Lukaku’s spell with West Brom last season.
The Toffees come into the game fresh from a 1-0 victory at Old Trafford, which I would describe as sweet if that didn’t set me up for an awful pun on the club’s nickname.
That game also saw commentator Martin Tyler set the bar for worst wordplay of the season, describing goalscorer and Costa Rican international Bryan Oviedo as “Everton’s Costa Toffee”. But maybe I’m the naïve one for thinking a reference to a chain store found only in the UK won’t have the worldwide appeal of, well, any other combination of words?
Anyway, I digress. Everton have suffered only one defeat this season, away to a Manchester City side who have outscored their nearest opposition by a clear 10 goals (or 1.25 Lukakus), while Arsenal have scored in nine of their last 10 games. By that token, both teams to find the net seems a reasonable shout.
Betting Instinct tip: Both teams to score is 1.67 with GR88.com
Crystal Palace v Cardiff City
Another team on the up is CrystalPalace. Despite pundits skipping the traditional excitement about a promoted team and jumping straight to the ‘laughing at their inadequacy’ phase, Palace are already within one point of Derby County’s lowest ever points total for a Premier League season.
Much of this is to do with manager Tony Pulis, who has the enviable quality of not being Ian Holloway. The former boss has worked miracles before, but these are of the ‘getting £12m for Charlie Adam’ variety and not of the ‘actually coaching the defenders in the squad’ variety. In fact, the latter isn’t even really a miracle – it’s just basic common sense, or at least it ought to be.
As someone who gave Andy Wilkinson more than 100 Premier League appearances, Pulis is no stranger to getting results using whichever humans happen to be standing nearby – quite helpful considering Holloway signed too many players to actually include in his squad, while somehow still making the team worse.
They take on a Cardiff City side who play a confusing formation (described by Huw Davies as the 4-3-huh?) and have won once in seven away games. A win in el Birdico would take the Eagles within a point of the Bluebirds, while also proving that not every match is improved by the addition of el and ‘-ico’ either side of a word loosely connected to both teams.
Betting Instinct Tip: Crystal Palace to win is 2.55 with AllYouBet.ag
TOM VICTOR (editor) is the editor and co-founder of Betting Instinct. He has written for a variety of sports sites in the past, including JustFootball, Footy Matters and BeNeFoot.