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Premier League preview: Arsenal vs Crystal Palace, Brentford vs Nottingham Forest



Premier League preview: Arsenal vs Crystal Palace, Brentford vs Nottingham Forest

Premier League preview: Arsenal vs Crystal Palace, Brentford vs Nottingham Forest

Arsenal vs Crystal Palace

Neither of these sides have exactly entered 2024 in a mood of buoyant optimism. Arsenal haven’t won a game since mid-December, losing their last three outings in all competitions.

For Crystal Palace, expectations may be lower – but Roy Hodgson has been doing his best not to meet them anyway. The Eagles have just two wins in 15 games.

Earlier this week Palace lost an FA Cup tie to Everton 1-0. Supporters booed Hodgson, serenading the veteran manager with chants of “You don’t know what you’re doing”. Can Roy prove them wrong on Saturday?

Recent encounters between these two sides won’t do much to cheer Palace supporters up; Arsenal have won the last three meetings.

The Gunners have also had nearly a fortnight off since their last match; maybe that break will have been a tonic for players like Bukayo Saka, who’s looked a little weary lately.

Arsenal’s problem has been scoring; they’ve got five goals in their last seven games in all comps. They’ve also drawn blanks in their last two home games, and there’s every chance Palace’s chief objective will be to prevent the hosts from finding the net.

In other words, goals could be hard to come by – you can back under 2.5 at 11/10.

Brentford vs Nottingham Forest

One point separates these two sides. But Brentford have been having a dreadful time of it in the Premier League of late, seven defeats in eight games.

If you’re thinking that suggests Forest could swoop in and nab a precious away win, we’ve got two words for you, except you’re probably way ahead of us. Yes, Ivan Toney returns for this one, and by all accounts the Bees’ striker has looked sharp in training ahead of his comeback.

Toney scored in his penultimate game for the Bees, coincidentally, against Nottingham Forest – and in fact, he’s scored in all three of his league appearances against the Tricky Trees. The striker also scored 20 league goals for Brentford last season, and should be eager to return to the spotlight.

With Thomas Frank’s side in urgent need of Toney’s predatory instinct in front of goal, it would be a surprise if the forward doesn’t start. Toney is evens to find the net here – and 14/5 to find the opener, if you think he can come flying out of the traps…

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