Premier League Preview – Arsenal
With just one loss in twelve games, the Eagles head to the Emirates to face the one team that has spoilt the unbeaten run of games.
In what has been a inconsistent period for the Gunners, they turned up at Selhurst Park with a good performance even if the hosts ran them close towards the latter stages.
It continues to be the bare bones of a squad for Roy Hodgson who has admitted he is faced with his worst run of injuries at a club he has been involved with over what has been a long career. Regardless, Palace put in a spirited display to take all three points at home to Burnley last weekend to pull further away from the bottom three and will travel to North London with confidence.
There is no doubt Arsenal are under pressure in the build up to this game following the loss at Bournemouth and ahead of a finely poised League Cup semi final second leg against Chelsea in midweek with a few of their own injury concerns. Arsene Wenger certainly has his critics but he could still end the season with two trophies and while that may seem a tough ask, with the Premier League out of reach, it may change their priorities.
With the pacey attack that the Eagles possess, there is plenty to worry the Arsenal back line and without the match winner last time out Alexis Sanchez, there could be every opportunity for the visitors to spring a surprise.
TEAM NEWS (courtesy of Physio Room)
CRYSTAL PALACE – Missing out will Jeffrey Schlupp (ankle), Andros Townsend (ankle), Scott Dann (knee), Jason Puncheon (knee), Connor Wickham (knee), Mamdou Sakho (calf) and Joel Ward (groin) while Ruben Loftus-Cheek (ankle) is a doubt.
ARSENAL – Ainsley Maitland-Niles (illness) and Mesut Ozil (knee) will face late fitness tests while Laurent Koscielny (achilles), Nacho Monreal (ankle), Olivier Giroud (hamstring) and Santi Cazorla (plantaris) are all expected to be unavailable.
The last time the two sides met at the Emirates was on New Years Day last year where the hosts ran out 2-0 winners. An early goal from Olivier Giroud gave the hosts the lead and Alex Iwobi sealed the points early in the second half. Since then, the opening goal scored by the Frenchman won the Puskas Award for the best goal of the year. What is it about stunners scored against Palace??
Who Scored man of the match – Alex Iwobi
Last FIVE meetings between the two sides;
- 28/12/2017 Crystal Palace 2-3 Arsenal
- 10/04/2017 Crystal Palace 3-0 Arsenal
- 01/01/2017 Arsenal 2-0 Crystal Palace
- 17/04/2016 Arsenal 1-1 Crystal Palace
- 16/08/2015 Crystal Palace 1-2 Arsenal
Last FIVE results for Palace;
- 13/01/2018 Crystal Palace 1-0 Burnley
- 08/01/2018 Brighton & Hove Albion 2-1 Crystal Palace
- 02/01/2018 Southampton 1-2 Crystal Palace
- 31/12/2017 Crystal Palace 0-0 Manchester City
- 28/12/2017 Crystal Palace 2-3 Arsenal
Last FIVE results for Arsenal;
- 14/01/2018 Bournemouth 2-1 Arsenal
- 10/01/2018 Chelsea 0-0 Arsenal
- 07/01/2018 Nottingham Forest 4-2 Arsenal
- 03/01/2018 Arsenal 2-2 Chelsea
- 31/12/2017 West Bromwich Albion 1-1 Arsenal
FORM PLAYERS (courtesy of Who Scored)
Top two rated players from each team so far this season;
- Shkodran Mustafi 7.41
- Alexis Sanchez 7.33
- Wilfried Zaha 7.25
- James Tomkins 7.09
ONE TO WATCH
Former clubs – Luton Town, Bolton Wanderers (loan), Bournemouth (loan)
The 26 year old has been at Arsenal since he joined the youth academy in 2001. Since then he has spent time on loan at Bolton in 2010 and Bournemouth last season, a spell that looked likely to signal the end of his time with the Gunners. However, his return to the first team this has shown that he has plenty still to offer and a particularly impressive performance against Palace at Selhurst Park just after Christmas has even had some suggest he is worth taking to the World Cup in Russia this summer. Wilshere has appeared for England at several youth levels before making his first of 34 appearances so far for his country.
Final league position – 6th
As things stand it looks like a long shot for Arsenal to finish in the top four in a season where all the top sides are following in the wake left behind by runaway leaders Manchester City. There is still a chance of silverware for the North London club with their involvement in the League Cup semi-finals and the Europa League where they face Swedish side Ostersund as the knockout stage begins next month but it looks as if the fans have lost patience with the club after their early FA Cup exit and poor showing in the Premier League.
- TEB prediction – draw
- Mark Harrison’s prediction (see link below) – home win
- Who Scored prediction – home win
BETTING ODDS (courtesy of Paddy Power)
- Home – 1/2
- Draw – 7/2
- Away – 5/1
- Both teams to score – 8/13