Premier League Preview: Arsenal’s Setback as Opponents Wrestle for Victory

    Premier League leaders Arsenal will look to get back on track when they host modest Southampton on Friday.

    The Gunners lead narrowed to four points after consecutive 2-2 draws with Liverpool and West Ham.

    But with Manchester City in the FA Cup, Arsenal have a great chance of seven points clear of Pep Guardiola’s team ahead of a big clash next week between title rivals at the Etihad Stadium.

    Leicester City, Everton and Leeds United will all be hoping Arsenal can handle it, with relegation rivals Southampton in action on Saturday.

    Arsenal – Southampton

    Southampton are one of only three teams Arsenal have failed to beat in the Premier League this season, along with Newcastle United and City following their 1-1 draw at St Mary’s in October. Saints last avoided defeat in both Premier League games against the Gunners in 2015-16.

    This is the first Premier League meeting between Arsenal and Southampton on Friday, with the Gunners defeating Southampton on each of the other six days of the competition week. They never won a Premier League match against an opponent in all seven days of the week.

    James Ward-Prowse has scored nine goals in all competitions for Southampton this season and could reach double figures for the second time in his career after 11 last season. Six of his nine goals this season have been away from home, with four of those in London.

    The best bet is Arsenal to win: Arsenal have been unbeaten in their last 27 home matches against Southampton (W19 D8) – in league history only against Fulham (current streak of 30) have they had a longer unbeaten run. They have never lost in 23 Premier League home matches against Southampton (W16 D7).

    Long shot – Southampton to score a clean sheet: The bottom of the table has only won four of their 38 Premier League games against the league leaders (D6 L28), losing 14 of those 15 away games (D1). Southampton have kept clean sheets in three of their first four under Ruben Selles but have kept none in their last five, conceding 12 goals in the process.

    Opta-prediction: On the supercomputer, Arsenal won, the chances of winning which are estimated at 67.3%. The draw is 20.7%, and Southampton’s hopes of winning are low – 12%.

    Fulham – Leeds United

    With 11 goals conceded in their last two home matches, Leeds will surely be delighted to be back on the pitch. In doing so, they have lost all five Premier League matches in London this season, conceding 16 goals in the process.

    Fulham have already beaten Leeds twice this season, winning 3-2 in the league and 2-0 in the FA Cup. As a top division team, the Summer Residents have beaten the team three times in one season on the previous three occasions.

    Leeds striker Patrick Bamford has been directly involved in six goals in their last four league games against Fulham, scoring four goals and providing two assists. He scored and provided an assist in both Premier League matches against Dachnikov.

    Best Bet – Both Teams To Score: Leeds have conceded 16 goals in four Premier League matches this month, having conceded at least four goals in three of those matches. Meanwhile, Fulham have not kept a clean sheet since beating Leeds 2-0 in the FA Cup on 28 February.

    Long-range shot – Harry Wilson to score: In Fulham’s latest 3-1 victory over Everton, Wilson scored his first league goal since March 2022 and his first Premier League goal since January 2020 at Bournemouth. He last scored in back-to-back league matches in September 2021 and last in the Premier League in August 2019.

    Opta-prediction: Only three teams have conceded more away goals than Leeds (30) in the Premier League this season, and no team has had fewer away clean sheets than the Whites (one). Combined with their dismal track record in London, it’s no surprise that Leeds have a mere 28.5% chance of success. Fulham is the favorite (42.8%).

    Crystal Palace – Everton

    Palace have only won one of their last 16 Premier League matches against Everton (D7 L8), although it happened last season (3-1). However, in October the Toffees won the reverse match 3–0.

    Dwight McNeil has scored two goals in his last five Premier League appearances, the same number as he has scored in his previous 71 appearances. He is one of only two players to have scored more than once for Everton under Sean Dyche, along with Abdoulaye Doukur.

    Palace have won all three Premier League matches since Roy Hodgson’s return to the club, the same number as in the previous 18 (D5 L10). They last won four in a row in June 2020 while Hodgson was at the club.

    Best bet – Palace will have 10+ shots: Everton have allowed 50 shots in their last two matches while Palace have averaged 19 shots, 2.2 xG and 6.3 shots on target per game under Hodgson, compared to 9.9 shots, 0 .9 xG and 3.2 shots on target per game until his return.

    Long-range kick – Everton win and score more than one goal: Having won two of their first three Premier League matches under Dyche (L1), Everton have only won one of their next eight (D3 L4). All three of their league wins under Dyche have come 1-0 at home, with the Toffees currently unbeaten in 11 Premier League away games (D4 L7).

    Opta-prediction: Everton are looking to complete their first league double over Palace since 2004-05, although the Eagles have won their last two home matches against Everton in all competitions, as many as in the previous 15 (D6 L7). Hodgson’s team is considered a 40.6% favorite with a 29.9% draw and a 29.5% chance of the Toffees winning.

    Leicester City – Wolves

    Dean Smith could hardly have had a tougher game to start his interim spell at the helm of Leicester, who are 19th after a 3-1 defeat to Manchester City last week. Fox’s new boss is looking to revive the magic Brendan Rodgers enjoyed at Molyneux in October, when Leicester beat Wolverhampton 4-0.

    Wolverhampton have never scored in their five Premier League away games against Leicester – only Birmingham City have visited the team more often without scoring in the competition.

    Leicester are the only team not to have kept a clean sheet since the Premier League resumed after the World Cup, having kept a shutout in five of their six matches before the break. This is their longest streak of goals conceded in consecutive league games with 21 streaks between April and December 1994, including their first 18 Premier League matches.

    The best option is Leicester to avoid defeat: Wolverhampton have won just one of their last 25 away matches against Leicester (D9 L15), having failed to score in five of their last six visits (including the last four) since a 4-1 league win in May 2007.

    Long shot – Jamie Vardy to score and Leicester win: Vardy has scored three goals in his last four Premier League matches against Wolves, with Leicester winning all three. His only league goal this season was in the Foxes’ 4-0 win in the return leg.

    Opta-prediction: Despite their place in the bottom three, Leicester are the favorites with 47.3%. The Wolves have won their last two games to get themselves out of trouble, but Opta only gives them a 24.3% chance of winning. A draw is valued at 28.4 percent.

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