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The race is on

Matchweek 30 of the 2022-23 EPL season saw Arsenal relinquish their position as title favourites, as Manchester City took full advantage of a rare slip.

Here’s how it looked for punters: 

Gunners blink

It was always going to be who blinked first. Arsenal and Manchester City have traded blows for the last month as both clubs grabbed three points week-in, week-out. Both showed few signs of vulnerability — until the weekend.

Arsenal’s trip to Anfield was always going to be a tricky encounter, in an atmosphere manager Mikel Arteta had previously described as a ‘jungle’. But such is their EPL form, the Gunners started $2.57 at the famous ground, something that would not have happened since the days of Arsenal’s Premier League dominance in the 2000s. And when they went up 2-0 inside the half hour via Gabriel Martinelli ($8.00 first goalscorer with Palmerbet) and Gabriel Jesus ($2.90 anytime goalscorer), things were going to plan.

That was, until Jurgen Klopp’s men kicked into gear. Not only did the Reds pull things back to 2-2 — via Mo Sarah ($2.70) and Roberto Firming ($2.90) — a host of missed chances either side of the equaliser AND a missed Salah penalty could and should have seen them snatch all three points. But in the end, both sides walked away with one. The 2-2 result was paying $12 pre-game in Palmerbet’s correct score market. And once all was said and done, it’s had a massive impact on the EPL title market.

Title race flipped as City become hunted

With City ($1.25) easily accounting for Southampton away from home, the title race has been flipped. Pep Guardiola’s side are still six points behind Arsenal, but their destiny — for the first time in months — is back in their hands. City not only have a game in hand against the Gunners, but a superior goal difference AND a home game against their title rivals to come. So while it’s the most marginal of advantages, they do indeed control their 2022-23 destiny from here. By the end of the weekend, City shortened from $2.10 into $1.72 EPL title favourites with Palmerbet. The Gunners, meanwhile, lengthened from $1.65 out to $2.05.

Aside from the obvious, City’s 4-1 demolition at Saint Mary’s (-2.0 @ $2.16 pre-match) was significant for another reason, too. The result saw the Sky Blues’ goal difference supremacy to Arsenal swell to five. Given the distinct possibility the title could be decided this way — as City’s drought snapping title win in 2011-12 showed — this could be huge come the final day of the season.

Hodgson leads Palace to safety

As far as late-season fire-fighting jobs go, you don’t get much better than this.

In a few short weeks, 75-year-old Roy Hodgson has transformed Crystal Palace from EPL relegation chances to virtual safety. Palace travelled to Leeds on the weekend as $3.75 outsiders and, realistically, most fans would’ve taken a point if offered pre-game. Instead, it was jubilation in the away end as the Eagles won 5-1 in an Elland Road demolition. To put the win into context, Palace were a whopping $26 with a -2.0 handicap, let alone a three-goal head-start.

When Hodgson took over Palace — a club he supported as a child and managed from 2017 to 2021 — on March 21, the team were in the mire and had shortened into $4.50 relegation chances. Now, two-straight wins has seen them go six points clear of the EPL relegation zone. And with it, those odds have ballooned out to $151. For most, this might be enough to celebrate, but not Roy the boy. “If I was a younger, less cynical person I might be enjoying it more than I am because I have an eye that we aren’t clear of the relegation zone,” he said after the win at Leeds. “You can’t just relax and enjoy this until you are out of the mire.”

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