Dann's the man to trouble the Gunners at the Emirates
Arsenal v Crystal Palace, Sunday 4.00pm, Sky Sports 1
West Ham’s Andy Carroll had a field day against Arsenal’s feeble defence last week – scoring his first top flight hat-trick for almost six years. The pony-tailed striker was given the freedom of East London by the Gunners back-line and duly took advantage, bagging three goals in a nine minute spell either side of half time.
Arsene Wenger could only watch on as Gabriel Paulista and Laurent Koscielny failed to deal with the aerial threat of Andy Carroll. Most worryingly for fans of the Gunners, five of the last seven goals they have conceded in the league have come via crosses – and Crystal Palace are up next.
Alan Pardew’s men managed to end a 14-game winless run in the league with a victory at home to Norwich last time out. The only reason that Palace aren’t in the relegation zone is the void of footballing ability lingering like a filthy smog in the North East, however their ability to place high balls onto the noggins of their lanky centre-backs will undoubtedly cause Arsenal some grief.
Taking away penalties and direct free-kicks, Crystal Palace have scored 13 goals from set pieces – with 10 coming from corners. The only team in the league with a better tally from dead ball situations is Tottenham, and the delicious right boot of Christian Eriksen. Palace may have been about as threatening as a lamb in a meadow of daisies and fairies in recent weeks, but there’s evidence to suggest they can pose a danger with a good delivery.
That leads us on to 6ft 2in English centre back Scott Dann. Maybe not the most obvious attacking prospect in the Palace team, but Dann has had 28 attempts on goal this season – only five Palace players have attempted more – and he’s not unfamiliar with finding the onion bag. Dann has bagged five goals this term making him Palace’s joint top scorer alongside Yohan Cabaye and Connor Wickham.
Palace’s goalscoring defender has broken the deadlock three times this season – at 25/1 against Aston Villa, 25/1 vs Everton, and 22/1 at home to Bournemouth. That means if you had put a £10 bet on Scott Dann to score first every week this season you’d currently be sat on a profit of £410.
At the Emirates it’s a poke that Dann opens the scoring, and at that price it’s hard not to be tempted by a little flutter. He’s to score at anytime or a whopping to score at any point in a Crystal Palace win. Now while we think a Palace win may be stretching it slightly – they’ve only won once since December 19 – it’s certainly possible that Dann might add to his tally against a defence that approaches the concept of zonal marking with the same kind of confidence that you have approaching a pack of bears.