Three years of suffering while waiting for Arsenal to return to the Champions League might be finally brought to a halt this season.
Stacked with younger world-class talent, Unai Emery has a perfect mix of pure talent, work rate, and the lightning speed at his disposal. A growing core of young players with tremendous potential is the path the Gunners should take to return to Europe’s most prestigious club competition.
Waiting for his summer marquee signing, Nicolas Pepe, to settle in the Premier League, Unai Emery may have discovered a new English golden boy. The 18-year-old, Bukayo Saka, who came through the youth academy system at the Emirates Stadium, has been a revelation since the Spaniard introduced him in a stunning second-half comeback against Aston Villa back in September. The homegrown winger has already netted one goal and contributed three assists in five appearances for Arsenal in all competitions.
Another 18-year-old who took advantage of Alexandre Lacazette’s injury to shine in the red jersey is the Brazilian forward Gabriel Martinelli. Arrived during the summer transfer window from Corinthians as one for the future, the Brazilian starlet has refused to wait for the spotlight for too long. He has instead made sure to mark his first competitive start for the club with two goals and help Arsenal brush aside Nottingham Forest 5-0 in the EFL Cup. It took him less than ten days to bag another brace, this time in the Gunners’ 4-0 dismantling of Standard Liege in the Europa League.
Both youngsters have shown Unai Emery that they can be valuable assets when called into action, providing additional depth to a well-structured roster. Given the hectic schedule, the North Londoners have to deal with during a long and exhausting season; the Spanish manager must be relieved to know that he can rely on the services of these two super talents. Although they are yet to make a breakthrough in the Premier League, their breathtaking performances in other competitions certainly will not be overlooked when Emery announces the matchday squad for Arsenal’s Premier League home clash with Crystal Palace.
Unbeaten in all four of their home league matches this term (W3, D1), the Gunners have proved to be a force to be reckoned with when playing in front of the home supporters. Taking into account Arsenal’s successes in the EFL Cup and the Europa League, the Emirates Stadium has been an absolute stronghold this season. They will look to their fortress home ground as a lift again when they take on a side they’ve lost to only once in seven top-flight head-to-head meetings in Islington (W5, D1, L1). That one failure, however, came during the closing stage of last season and eventually cost Arsenal a place in the Champions League.
Backed by a free-scoring form at home, the North Londoners will have revenge on their minds when they lock horns with the Eagles who are yet to play out a draw away from home this term (W2, L2). A rampant Arsenal side has bagged two or more goals in five consecutive home games across all competitions before securing a narrow 1-0 victory over Bournemouth last time out. What’s more, the Gunners have put at least two goals past Crystal Palace in six of their seven head-to-head meetings at home. By contrast, the visitors have struggled for goals, drawing a blank twice in four Premier League trips so far. In fact, for Palace, goals have been at a premium when they entertained Arsenal on the road. They have netted one goal or less in six successive H2Hs here before clinching a tense 3-2 victory last season.
Hence, it is not strange that Bet365 place the home side as 11/25 (1.44) favorites to come out on top while putting the visitors as big underdogs at 5/1 (6.00). With everything said about Arsenal’s ‘killer instinct’ in the final third when at the Emirates, the outcome involving Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Co. netting at least two goals seems to be the likeliest scenario. For those who like placing bets on the Premier League events but would prefer to cut expenses, there are places where you can find all the bonus offers from Betfair.
Meanwhile, if Emery fails to plug a leaky defense that has already failed to keep a blank sheet in six of eight Premier League fixtures, Jordan Ayew and Wilfried Zaha can create all sorts of problems to Bernd Leno. It is worth mentioning that both of Palace’s away victories in the Premier League ended with the identical 2-1 scoreline, which proves they know how to exploit the space when they get it. Therefore, the Gunners’ win accompanied by at least one goal in their net at 81/50 (2.62) looks like a gamble worth taking.
Picking up wins against these so-called smaller teams could prove vital in Arsenal’s bid to return to the Champions League after a three-year absence. With both Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur enduring challenging times, respectively, the Gunners are given 33/50 (1.66) to secure a top-four finish. A dreadful start to the season has already jeopardized Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s job, with the Red Devils handed small chances of reaching the Champions League promotion (4/1 – 5.00). Meanwhile, ever since a 2-1 away loss to Leicester City in late September, things have gone south for Mauricio Pochettino’s side, who are now well behind Arsenal in the race for the top four at 5/4 (2.25).