Arsenal are due to host their London rivals, Crystal Palace at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday in what would be a massive game for Arsene Wenger’s side. The Gunners are not in their best run of form of late, having won none of their last 3 games across all competitions. Their last Premier League win was against Crystal Palace in the reverse fixture, which was a fascinating end to end encounter.
The Eagles might have endured a 2-3 loss against Arsenal then, but they have been quite decent in their endeavours of late. After their encouraging goalless draw against league leaders, Manchester City, Roy Hodgson’s troops have won back to back league games, against Southampton and Burnley and thus, they are certainly a side against whom Wenger cannot afford to be complacent.
Talking About Their Position
Arsenal’s 2-1 loss at the hands of Bournemouth in their last fixture gave us the evidence that the club does need the qualities that Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil offer. They are currently placed at the 6th spot in the league table with 39 points to their name after 23 games. A top-four finish seems to be drifting away from them and they desperately need a win in this fixture to gather some sort of momentum.
Crystal Palace, on the other hand, have been able to cultivate a staggering resurrection after the appointment of Hodgson. They have climbed up to the 12th spot in the league standings, having collected 25 points from 23 encounters and would look to keep their form intact.
Arsenal have sanctioned the moves of Theo Walcott and Francis Coquelin to Everton and Valencia, respectively, and with the exit of Sanchez likely to materialise in a day or two, the North London based outfit might prefer not to use the Chilean, given the gravity of the current situation.
Santi Cazorla still remains a long-term absentee. Olivier Giroud is still sidelined with his hamstring problem while Nacho Monreal, Laurent Koscielny and Ozil should be returning this weekend for the clash, though the defenders are unlikely to be installed directly into the starting line-up.
As far as Crytal Palace are concerned, Jason Puncheon, Scott Dann and Jeffrey Schlupp are all out, while Andros Townsend is still sidelined with an ankle injury. Joel Ward, Connor Wickham and Mamadou Sakho are still some weeks away from making their returns while Ruben Loftus-Cheek might be handed some minutes as he is expected to make a comeback from a minor knock.
Cech; Chambers, Mustafi, Holding; Bellerin, Kolasinac; Xhaka, Wilshere; Ozil, Lacazette, Iwobi.
Hennessey; Fosu-Mensah, Kelly, Tomkins, van Aanholt; Zaha, Milivojevic, Riedewald, McArthur; Benteke, Sako.
Crystal Palace: 6/1