Mark Lawrenson states his prediction for Arsenal v Crystal Palace

Former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson is backing Arsenal to edge to victory over Crystal Palace

Mark Lawrenson is confident that Arsenal will edge to victory over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on New Year’s Day.

The Gunners returned to winning ways on Boxing Day thanks to an unconvincing 1-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion at the Emirates Stadium.

The north London side didn’t make the breakthrough until the 86th minute when Olivier Giroud managed to get on the end of Mesut Ozil’s cross.

Arsenal started the weekend in fourth place in the Premier League table and nine points adrift of current leaders Chelsea.

Palace, meanwhile, battled to a 1-1 draw with Watford in their first game under new manager Sam Allardyce.

Former Liverpool and Republic of Ireland defender Lawrenson is tipping Arsenal to beat Palace despite the presence of Allardyce on the touchline for the visitors.

“Crystal Palace should have beaten Watford in Sam Allardyce’s first game in charge, but paid the price for Christian Benteke’s missed penalty,” Lawrenson told BBC Sport.

“Allardyce obviously does something when he comes into a club where he changes the mindset of his squad but it will take time for him to have an effect.

“I think the Eagles’ improvement will be a gradual process, and all their players will get feedback from their manager along the way.

“It is hard to see them getting anything against Arsenal, who were not at their best against West Brom last time out, but still found a way to win.”

Arsenal finished in second place in the Premier League table last season.

The Gunners signed five players in the summer transfer window as Wenger looked to transform his squad into title winners.

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