Arsenal v Crystal Palace: Premier League Match Preview
Arsenal take on Crystal Palace in the Premier League at the Emirates Stadium this afternoon.
The Gunners go into the match in fourth place in the table, one point behind, following Manchester City’s 3-0 stroll of a win against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge yesterday evening.
Arsenal are now just three points ahead of fifth placed Manchester United, but have one game in hand and a superior goal difference over the Red Devils.
Fourth place would not be enough to qualify for the Champions League if City win the competition this season and finish outside the top four – or Liverpool win the Europa League.
Failure to clinch a Champions League place would further increase the pressure on Arsene Wenger and cap what has turned into a desperately disappointing season.
A challenge for the title has petered out, there has been yet another Champions League exit at the last 16 stage and the failure to defend the FA Cup.
The Gunners could be trailing leaders Leicester City by a whopping sixteen points by the time they kick-off against Crystal Palace, if the Foxes beat West Ham in the early kick-off today.
It would leave the Gunners realistically with just securing a Champions League spot to play for in the remaining matches.
Today’s match is the start of three successive home matches, with West Brom and Norwich to come in the next eight days.
Crystal Palace arrive in 16th place in the Premier League table, with a seven point cushion over fourth bottom Norwich City.
They should have enough points to retain their Premier League status, but could yet be dragged back into the relegation scrap if Norwich, Sunderland and Newcastle can put together a late run of positive results.
Arsenal will be looking to continue their excellent record against Crystal Palace. They have won 10 and lost just one of their 13 Premier League games against the Eagles, including winning the last six in a row.
Crystal Palace with an FA Cup semi-final against Watford at Wembley to look forward too have struggled on the road recently in the Premier League. They have won none of their last fixtures away from Selhurt Park (D4 L3).
Both clubs have a poor record in London derbies this season
The Gunners have won none of their three London derbies at home in the Premier League this season (D1 L2).
Whilst Crystal Palace have taken fewer points in London derbies (4) than any of the clubs from the capital this season.
“We need a strong run at home now and that’s what we want to do. It is perceived that the championship is over, but I don’t think that completely even if Leicester are in a very strong position.
We have to fight until the last-minute of the season. It would be over if we lost and they win, so that’s why we have to make sure that doesn’t happen.
It is a London derby and now they [Palace] should be completely safe. They are a good team with a lot of offensive potential. They have strong individuals like [Wilfried] Zaha, [Yannick] Bolasie, [Connor] Wickham and [Emmanuel] Adebayor.”
“There’s a bit more of a bounce in our step since these recent results,” he said. “Our performances have been good since West Brom.
They [Arsenal] have some new players which have shaken it up a bit and they’ve done very well. There’s a few unfamiliar names to our guys.
We gave a good account of ourselves versus Arsenal at home [a 2-1 defeat], and we need to try to get something.”
Mesut Ozil was named on the six-man shortlist for the PFA Player of the Year award this week.
The German though has assisted just twice in his last 12 Premier League games, after providing 16 assists in his first 18 games of the season.
Emmanuel Adebayor has scored on two of his last three appearances as a visiting player at the Emirates.
Petr Cech is pushing for a recall after being on the bench for the last two matches against West Ham and Watford.
Aaron Ramsey came on as a substitute against West Ham and is pushing for a return to the side after recovering from injury.
Jack Wilshere (leg) and Tomas Rosicky (thigh) are set to continue gaining a return to match fitness in the Under-21s match with West Brom on Monday.
Provisional squad: Ospina, Cech, Macey, Monreal, Gibbs, Gabriel, Chambers, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Bellerin, Elneny, Ramsey, Flamini, Ozil, Reine-Adelaide, Iwobi, Sanchez, Campbell, Walcott, Welbeck, Giroud.
Dwight Gayle is set to miss out with a leg muscle problem.
Wilfried Zaha is also a doubt with a shoulder complaint and will face a late fitness test.
Provisional squad: Hennessey, McCarthy, Speroni, Ward, Kelly, Dann, Delaney, Mariappa, Souare, Lee, Jedinak, Ledley, Zaha, Puncheon, Bolasie, Cabaye, Mutch, Campbell, Adebayor, Sako, Wickham.
Arsenal to get a 2-0 win.
Referee: Roger East Assistants: R West, M Scholes Fourth Official: M Dean