Match Preview: Crystal Palace vs Arsenal
Three points are available to Arsenal at Crystal Palace on Saturday that would ensure Arsène Wenger’s side a top four place for at least the end of the day, with Southampton not hosting Liverpool until Sunday.
Arsenal are all set to finish the season on a strong note and if you haven’t already, make sure to pick up your Arsenal tickets and get to the Emirates to support your team in these last few months.
Arsenal have won seven of their last eight games in all competitions and were 2-1 winners over Palace when these two sides met at the Emirates on the opening weekend of the season.
In contrast, Alan Pardew’s side have won only one of their last four and are without a win in their last three games at Selhurst Park, losing twice.
The home side have been without Mile Jedinak in 2015 – representing Australia at the Asian Cup and then missing the past couple of games with a knee injury. The influential midfielder could potentially make his return in this game.
Aside from that, Alan Pardew doesn’t have too many other absentees to worry about – only new signing Shola Ameobi who is not yet fit to play, and Yaya Sanogo, who is ineligible to face his owners.
Alexis Sánchez played last weekend after missing a couple of games, as he helped Arsenal beat Middlesbrough 2-0 in the FA Cup. The Gunners’ top scorer is good to start this match too.
Midfielder Jack Wilshere says he’s available to make his return this weekend should Arsène Wenger wish to play the England international who has been out for nearly three months.
Héctor Bellerín and Mathieu Flamini will face fitness tests on Friday to determine whether they’re available for selection on Saturday.
Wenger will be without Aaron Ramsey, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mikel Arteta, Mathieu Debuchy and Abou Diaby through injury.
This is Alan Pardew’s first choice back four. The two full-backs will be changed by Arsenal’s quick and dangerous wide men, whilst Olivier Giroud should see opportunities in the centre. Joe Ledley and James McArthur will be in for a busy game in the middle with the likes of Santi Cazorla and Mesut Özil trying to dictate the game. That’s assuming Mile Jedinak isn’t fit. Former Arsenal player Marouane Chamakh will likely play a deep role around the halfway line trying to win back possession for his side.
Calum Chambers could start at right-back to ensure Héctor Bellerín is fit for Wednesday. Francis Coquelin can play the sole defensive midfield role with Arsenal looking to take the game to the home team. Arsenal’s front five in this game are capable of taking the game to lowly Crystal Palace and scoring a couple of games against a defence who have gone nine Premier League games at home without a clean sheet.
Alexis Sánchez vs Joel Ward
Arsenal have a few favourable matchups in attack and this should be their best one. When Alexis Sánchez made his Premier League debut back in August, he gave Joel Ward a torrid time on the right wing, creating several chance, assisting one goal and getting in a couple of goalscoring positions too. The Chilean has only settled since so you can expect Sánchez to have another big game this weekend.
Prediction: Crystal Palace 1- 2 Arsenal
Arsenal should win this one – the Gunners are in good form of late and Crystal Palace have not been over the past couple of games. Alexis Sánchez and the attacking players should be able to dominate the game and create several opportunities versus a Palace defence that could be missing Mile Jedinak and whom have struggled to keep clean sheets of late.