Selhurst Park, London
21st February 2015, 1500 GMT
Crystal Palace host Arsenal at the Selhurst Park and both teams would be looking to pick some valuable points.
Crystal Palace have been in a bit of indifferent form, but then that could be put down to playing stronger sides than them. However, they are in a relatively comfortable position in the table, at 13, and are 5 points away from the relegation battle. However, with 13 more games to go, it is still too soon to feel comfortable about their position and every point gained would be valuable for the team if they want to stay up for another season.
Arsenal are in a dog fight of their own, but one in which they are fully experienced a their annual battle to finish in the top 4. They have been in really good form, barring the defeat to hated rivals Tottenham, and would want to continue winning games, especially against teams from the bottom half of the table. With the rest of their top 4 rivals playing tougher games, there is a very real possibility that teams will drop points, and so Arsenal would want to ensure they take advantage of the situation.
Team News and Tactics
Crystal Palacea s recent games may have seen them lose more than they won, but it is undeniable that they have had a resurgence under Alan Pardew, ever since he joined them mid season after ditching Newcastle United. They have won 5 out of 8 games and pulled away from the relegation zone. However, they would need to continue racking up the points if they hope to not be involved in the relegation scrap come the end of the season.
Pardew is likely to continue with Souare at Left Back, giving him his Premier League debut, but there could be changes in other positions from the team that played Liverpool in the FA Cup. Yaya Sanogo, however, will not be eligible for this game, as he is on loan from Arsenal, but former gunner Marouane Chamakh could well make a start alongside Fraizer Campbell. Though Dwight Gayle has been preferred on the right, it will likely be Jason Puncheon whoa ll start tomorrow.
Captain Mike Jedinak will join the likes of Shola Ameobi, Jerome Thomas and Lee Chung-yong on the injury table. Joel Ward will likely to go back to Right Back and Martin Kelly to lose his place.
Predicted Line Up: Speroni; Souare, Hangeland, Dann, Ward; Bolasie, Ledley, McArthur, Puncheon; Chamakh, Campbell
Barring the defeat to Tottenham, Arsenal have been in a rich vein of form since their loss to Southampton on the first day of the new year. Getting all 3 points against Crystal Palace would be crucial especially as Liverpool would be playing Southampton, and one of them, if not both, would be bound to drop points. Manchester United would be facing a not so easy Swansea while Tottenham face a tricky West Ham United. A lot could happen this weekend and Arsenal need to be able to take advantage of it.
Arsenal are still without captain Mikel Arteta, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Mathieu Debuchy, although the Ox is closer to a return as he starts normal training. Aaron Ramsey is also out, for at least 2 more weeks. Hector Bellerin and Mathieu Flamini are doubtful cases and will have a fitness test to determine if they are ready to play.
Koscielny and Mertesacker will combine together again in the centre of defence, with Chambers likely giving Bellerin a rest at Right Back. Monreal should continue at Left Back, and David Ospina will be brought back for the league game. Jack Wilshere is back in the squad, but is unlikely to start the game, while Alexis Sanchez will likely be back in the starting lineup.
Predicted Line Up: Ospina; Monreal, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Chambers; Coquelin, Rosicky; Alexis, Cazorla, Ozil; Giroud.
- In their last 3 games against Palace in all competitions, Arsenal have been drawing at half time but winning at full time.
- Arsenal have scored a minimum of 2 goals against Palace in their last 4 games in all competitions.
- In 9 of their last 11 games, Arsenal have an average of 2.5 goals scored.
Arsenal wona t take their opponents for granted, especially after Leicester City gave them a scare. They would be well aware of the opportunity this weekend presents and will kill the game beyond any doubt to secure all 3 points.
Predicted Score: Crystal Palace 0-2 Arsenal