Arsenal will welcome Crystal Palace at the Emirates on Sunday with an aim of turning things around for the rest of the season.
Arsenal will return to Premier League action in the Gameweek 10 as the Gunners will lock horns against their London rivals Crystal Palace at the Emirates on Sunday.
Unai Emery will look to inspire his side to come back strongly from their 0-1 loss against Sheffield United at the Bramall Lane. Arsenal will be coming into this game on the back of a dramatic 3-2 win against Vitoria SC in their Europa League campaign. However, the fans and Emery were left wanting for more from the players as Arsenal struggled to stamp their authority on the game right from the start.
On the other hand, Crystal Palace have been decent so far in the Premier League as they sit just a point below Arsenal in the league table. Roy Hodgson’s men have definitely punched above their weight at times as the Eagles have won two out of their four away games.
Despite the 0-2 defeat against Manchester City, Hodgson will hope his side can pose a huge threat to their London rivals on Sunday. The Eagles would want to take inspiration from their away wins against West Ham and Manchester United as they will hope to replicate the same feat against Arsenal.
Team News & Tactics
Almost everyone is available for selection for Unai Emery with Reiss Nelson being the only exception. The Spanish tactician will also get the services of his star forward Alexandre Lacazette, who was suffering from incessant knee injuries and came back in action only against Sheffield United.
Another player making a return is Emile Smith-Rowe, the youngster suffered a head injury against Nottingham Forest and was out for a considerable amount of time. Smith-Rowe returned to action in their win against Vitoria and therefore Emery can once again rely on the 19-year old to play in the hole.
Meanwhile, Arsenal fans have been frustrated with Emery’s strategies of keeping Mesut Ozil out of the starting eleven when evidently the Gunners lack creativity in midfield, someone who can support Pierre-Emerick Aubamayeng upfront.
Calum Chambers may get the nod at right-back over Hector Bellerin. who is slowly getting back to his best shape. The experienced defensive duo of Sokratis and David Luiz are set to lead the backline, while Sead Kolasinac is likely to start ahead of Kieran Tierney.
Matteo Guendouzi will get back to the starting XI and start alongside Granit Xhaka in the midfield double pivot. Nicolas Pepe is likely to start after his heroics against Vitoria with Dani Ceballos retuning to his characteristic No. 10 role while Bukayo Saka will keep his place on the left flank. Aubameyang will lead the line for Arsenal considering his terrific form as Emery will look to use Lacazette whenever the need arises.
Predicted Lineup (4-2-3-1): Leno; Chambers, Sokratis, Luiz, Kolasinac; Guendouzi, Xhaka; Pepe Ceballos, Saka; Aubameyang
The Eagles will be without first-choice goalkeeper Vicente Guaita, who also missed their last match against Manchester City. This is a clear indication that Wayne Hennessey will once again find himself between the sticks on Sunday.
Roy Hodgson will also miss the likes of Conor Wickham and Mamadou Sakho, who are sidelined for a long period of time. The French defender underwent surgery last season due to his serious knee injury and is yet to return to training fully and it may take more time before we see him back in action.
The Eagles will again look to play in a 4-5-1 formation adding more steel to their midfield and hitting teams on the counter. Joel Ward and Patrick van Aanholt ought to be the full-backs with the latter possessing express pace which can hurt Arsenal during counter-attacks. The experienced duo of James Tomkins and Gary Cahill will look to keep Aubameyang at bay.
Cheikhou Kouyate and James McArthur will drop deep and support their backline, along with Luka Milivojevic allowing the fullbacks to venture forward. Jeffrey Schlupp and Wilfried Zaha will start on either flank with Jordan Ayew being the sole striker upfront. The 28-year old has been in some good goal-scoring form of late.
Hodgson will also have impact players like Andros Townsend and Christian Benteke, who are likely to start from the bench.
Predicted Lineup (4-5-1): Hennessey; Ward, Tomkins, Cahill, van Aanholt; Zaha, Kouyate, Milivojevic, McArthur, Schlupp; Ayew
- Arsenal have dominated this fixture over the years in all competitions but this is the first time Crystal Palace is staring at back to back wins against their city rivals.
- Arsenal have faced Crystal Palace in 19 home games and have never failed to score against them at home. They have faced the Eagles more often without ever failing to score at home than they have against any other side in their top-flight history.
- Crystal Palace’s Luka Milivojevic has scored more Premier League goals against Arsenal than he has against any other side in the competition, netting four goals in five games against the Gunners.
- Arsenal have scored at least twice in each of their last 12 home league London derbies (W9 D2 L1), though they are winless in their last two (2-3 vs Crystal Palace, 2-2 vs Spurs).
- Following a 2-1 win at West Ham in their last such game, Crystal Palace are looking to win back-to-back away Premier League London derbies for the first time since November 1997.
Player to Watch
Yes, there were chances of Nicolas Pepe making it, especially after his heroics against Vitoria. But Aubameyang has been that player who has always stood out for the Gunners. Even when things have not gone according to plan for Unai Emery, Aubameyang has always stepped up and scored goals.
The former Dortmund man has even played on the left flank to accommodate Alexandre Lacazette which resonates his quality of being a team player and keeping his team ahead of himself at any given circumstances. If Arsenal want to turn their season around, the mantle of scoring goals will be on Aubameyang’s shoulders and the Gabonese has never shied away from taking responsibilities.
Arsenal 2-1 Crystal Palace
Arsenal have not been in the best of form lately as there is a lot of fragility with their backline and the likes of Ayew and Zaha will look to pounce on every opportunity they get. However scoring goals have not been the problem for Emery’s men this season and therefore we can expect a very open game with both sides going for the kill.
Palace will have to show stability in defence as they have been vulnerable against quick counter-attacking teams. It is going to be a feisty London derby where both sides have their fair share of strengths and weaknesses. The Hard Tackle predicts a 2-1 win for Arsenal, a result which may turn things around for Unai Emery’s men this season.