Arsenal welcome Crystal Palace and their manager Patrick Vieira at the Emirates as Mikel Arteta targets three points on Monday.
Arsenal had steadied their ship before the international break, winning three and drawing against Brighton. Securing 10 points out of a possible 12 is seen as progress, and Mikel Arteta would want to build on this momentum when they face Crystal Palace at the Emirates on Monday night.
The Gunners have a decent run of games before the next international break, with Palace, Aston Villa, Leicester City and Watford on their list. Arteta would be demanding his team collect maximum points from these games to stand any chance of closing the gap at the top end of the Premier League table.
Before the break, the Gunners showcased two different sides to their game, first against Tottenham and then away at Brighton, struggling thoroughly at the Amex Stadium. Arteta would like to rectify his mistakes from that game to make his side attack more fluidly and solve the problem of scoring goals.
Having found a solid defensive resilience at the back with an established set of players fit and firing on all cylinders, Arteta wants consistency from his midfielders and final third players. The Gunners will have to be prepared better than they did against Brighton when they face a progressive Crystal Palace side led by one of Arsenal’s former captains.
The main talking point has been the much-anticipated return of Patrick Vieira back to the club, where he excelled and guided the team to glory. However, when the Frenchman brings his Crystal Palace side to the fore, all loyalties will have to be forgotten for 90 minutes.
Despite showing immense promise in their play style, Crystal Palace only have a solitary win to show for their cause. They suffered two losses to Chelsea and Liverpool while securing impressive draws with Brighton, Brentford, West Ham United and Leicester. It’s how those draws transpired that impresses Palace fans the most.
There is optimism about getting a positive result at the Emirates, as Vieira will be hoping to exploit the Gunners’ weaknesses. A win will certainly highlight the progress made under Vieira, while a loss would bring them back to the drawing board for further assessment.
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Mikel Arteta will be baffled at his players for their goalscoring form during the international break, while they have generally struggled at club level. The Arsenal manager will likely look to field an attacking side at the Emirates. The idea is to field as many potential goalscorers while balancing the midfield in the right way.
His stability in midfield seems somewhat shaken since the injury to Granit Xhaka, who continues his rehabilitation from a long-term knee injury. While the Swiss midfielder will only be available in the new year, Arteta needs to find a balance in the middle with potential stylistic options at his disposal.
Arteta could look to retain Albert Sambi Lokonga as a direct replacement for Xhaka, although the Brighton game has given him a chance to re-think. There could be a midfield three with Thomas Partey sitting at the base while Emile Smith Rowe and Martin Odegaard pull the strings in slightly advanced roles. This formation keeps changing mid-game depending on if Arsenal have the ball. With the ball, they potentially are shaped in a 4-1-4-1 formation.
Such a style allows Arteta to field another attacker and potential goalscorer. Nicolas Pepe could be this player who could return to the side after missing the last two games from the lineup. Bukayo Saka can then be moved back to a left side role, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang playing centrally.
Arteta also confirmed a possible injury to Gabriel Martinelli, who might miss out altogether in this clash. Back in defence, there is unlikely to be changes made with Takehiro Tomiyasu, Ben White, Gabriel and Kieran Tierney all expected to start in front of Aaron Ramsdale, who will continue to keep Bernd Leno on the bench.
Probable lineup (4-3-3): Ramsdale; Tomiyasu, White, Gabriel, Tierney; Odegaard, Partey, Smith Rowe; Pepe, Aubameyang, Saka
Patrick Vieira only needs to worry about two absentees in Eberechi Eze and Nathan Ferguson, both long-term absentees, while there seem to be no new issues in his side. After being two goals down, the battling draw with Leicester City has given the Crystal Palace manager much to think about his playing eleven.
Michael Olise announced himself with a goal off the bench against the Foxes and could replace Jordan Ayew in the team. Meanwhile, Jeffrey Schulpp is also pushing for a start, either at left-back or higher up the pitch on the left wing. Vieira, however, is likely to keep his experienced stars in the squad and retain shape. The likes of Schlupp and Olise might see themselves on the bench again.
The Crystal Palace manager will opt for a 4-3-3, with Conor Gallagher starting in midfield. The Chelsea loanee might fall into the no.10 role when Palace have the ball while supporting in central areas when without it.
Vieira will rely on Wilfried Zaha to provide the attacking impetus for his side, while Odsonne Edouard or Christian Benteke being the focal point of attack. The former Celtic striker is primed to start this clash, with the Belgian set to remain on the bench.
Probable lineup (4-3-3): Guaita; Ward, Andersen, Guehi, Mitchell; Gallagher, Milivojevic, McArthur; Ayew, Edouard, Zaha
- Arsenal have won none of their last three meetings with Crystal Palace at the Emirates.
- Arsenal have scored just one goal from outside the box in their last 48 Premier League games.
- Arsenal have scored just 24-goals in their last 20-games at the Emirates
- Luka Milivojevic has scored more goals against Arsenal (5) than any other opponent in the Premier League
- Crystal Palace have conceded at least two goals in their last five away games in the Premier League, winning none of those.
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Goals have come at a premium for Arsenal, who have scored just five goals in seven league games so far. They had scored fewer at this stage back in the 1981.82 season, and the lack of it is directly related to Aubameyang’s form in front. The striker has to step up and produce numbers for his club to stand a chance among the bog boys.
On a more positive note, Aubameyang has scored 11 goals in the last 10-games for Arsenal when Mike Dean has been the referee, and as irrelevant as that information might be, the Gunners’ captain will have to improve on that record. Against Crystal Palace, he has a good chance to produce a lively performance after a dull outing against Brighton.
Arsenal 2-1 Crystal Palace
The prediction numbers do not indicate a good welcome for Patrick Vieira at Arsenal. Over the years, the games between the sides have produced a decent amount of goals, and Wilfried Zaha has played an instrumental role in that. He will be crucial again this Monday, but the Gunners’ defence might be able to keep him quiet.
Expect Arsenal to collect three points from this encounter and allow Arteta to build on the momentum gained from the last four fixtures. As for Palace, there could be some pressure placed on Vieira if they are to lose, and going by their recent performances against London sides, this could go either way.