Arsenal vs Crystal Palace
An interesting one, but I’m not entirely convinced that any sort of new manager bounce will play a part. Arsenal, Europa League exit aside, are in really solid form whilst Palace are perhaps in the worst form of all 20 Premier League teams. This should be a comfortable one for Arteta’s men.
After a shaky start to February, Arsenal have won 5 on the bounce in the league. They’ve looked impervious in that time, scoring 15 and conceding just the 5 goals.
In fact, the gunners have been super consistent at either end of the pitch. They sit second in the league for goals with 62, and are joint second for least goals conceded with 25. With the dynamic threats of Saka, Martinelli, and Odegaard at their disposal, it comes no surprise to see such consistently solid attacking output.
If that wasn’t enough, a league high xG P/90 of 2.30 highlights their constant chance creation, whilst an xGA of 1.15 is evidence of their strength at the back.
Palace meanwhile, have been dire since the turn of the year. They haven’t won a game in 2023, hence Vieira’s sacking. What makes this worse, is the fact that they’ve scored just 4 in that time frame. Only Southampton, Everton, and Wolves have scored less than Palace’s 21 goals this campaign, and I don’t expect that to change simply because of a managerial sacking.
34 goals conceded isn’t terrible, but an xGA P/90 of 1.74 suggests that they’re really overperforming defensively. With an xG of just 1.05 P/90, it’s difficult to see as to how they get anywhere near the league leaders.
Vitesse vs PSV
Ruud Van Nistelrooy’s PSV travel to Vitesse on Sunday in solid form, and with a win seeing them potentially climb to within just 3 points of the league leaders, I expect them to go all out here.
Make no mistake, PSV are still in a title race. Ajax and Feyenoord’s contest on Sunday afternoon means that at least one of the top two are guaranteed to drop points, and PSV should take full of advantage of this.
The away side are unbeaten in 7, having won 5 of these. In that time frame, they’ve scored 21 goals, and conceded just 7. They’re devastating in attack, and fairly solid at the back.
An xG of 2.34 P/90, and an xGA of 1.35 P/90 highlights as to just how capable PSV are at either end of the pitch. Let’s not forget, this is a team that have failed to score on just 4 occasions this season, and that’s despite the loss of the likes of Gakpo and Madueke.
Hosts Vitesse, meanwhile, are in very contrasting form. They’ve lost each of their last 4, conceding 8 and scoring just twice in that poor run of form. In fact, Vitesse have won just 2 of their last 13, and it’s difficult to see them turning a corner against a PSV side with the bit between their teeth.
Only the bottom 4 have scored less than Vitesse this season, and only 2 teams have a worse defence (they’ve kept 4 clean sheets in 25 games). With an xGA of 1.55 P/90, it’s difficult to see as to how they’ll contain PSV’s attacking threats.
Alayanspor vs Fenerbahce
Having been dumped out of the Europa League at the hands of Sevilla, Fenerbahce will be desperate to make results count in the league. They sit 9 points of top spot with 2 games in hand, and a win against Alanyaspor would stand them in good stead for the remainder of the season.
If the reverse meeting is anything to go by, then Fenerbahce’s 5-0 win over today’s opponents back in September would suggest that this one should be plain sailing. Recent form only adds to that level of encouragement. The Turkish giants are unbeaten in 6, having won 5 of those games.
Fenerbahce are the most fluid attacking outfit in Turkey. They’ve scored 58 this season, 6 more than league leader Galatasaray in 2 less games, and they’ve conceded 25. In fact, Fenerbahce have scored a minimum of 2 in 15 of their 23 games. An xG of 2.05 P/90, and an xGA of 1.30 P/90 would suggest that the hosts will surely be in for a long afternoon.
Alanyaspor meanwhile, have won just 1 of their last 5, losing 4. They’ve scored just twice in that run, and have conceded 10.
In fact, goals have been a problem for the hosts all campaign. They’ve failed to score on 8 occasions, an ill omen when coming up against a free scoring side. They’ve also kept just the 4 clean sheets, and an xGA of 1.67 P/90 suggests that 2nd placed Fenerbahce should be able to create chance after chance here.