Two back to back away defeats over Everton and Manchester City pushed Arsenal down in the title race, but a Boxing Day victory against West Bromwich Albion at Emirates has lifted their spirits up ahead of a crucial face-off against struggling Crystal Palace on New Year’s Eve.
Crystal Palace are currently 17th in the league table with a couple of points above the drop zone. However, they sacked Alan Pardew after a series of dismal performances and appointed veteran Sam Allardyce who left the England job three months back over allegations he offered advice on how to circumvent the governing body’s rules on player transfers. Palace encountered Watford in his first game in charge on Boxing Day which ended 1-1 and the Eagles are in desperate search to find the winning ways before it gets too late.
Arsene Wenger, the Gunners’ boss, are currently nine points lower than the leaders Chelsea as his side is placed fourth in the league table. But Arsenal will have an opportunity to ride up the ladder when second-placed Liverpool will welcome Manchester City at Anfield who are currently third and two points adrift the Gunners.
Arsenal vs Crystal Palace Injuries and Suspensions:
Arsenal, as usual, are having a number of key absentees with significant injury concerns. Santi Cazorla is set to miss out at least a couple of months furthermore with a calf injury. Mathieu Debuchy and Per Mertesacker are still a few weeks away from a return whereas left-back Kieran Gibbs will be unavailable with knee inflammation. In-form Theo Walcott is sidelined with a calf injury and Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain will have a late injury test due to his hamstring strain. But Danny Welbeck is back in full training after seven months of absence and might be an option for Arsene’s matchday squad. The return of defender Shkodran Mustafi will be a major boost for the Gunners’ backline who has partnered well alongside veteran Laurent Koscielny since his arrival in summer.
The injury list of Crystal Palace is even larger as they have ten players who are unavailable for this fixture. Connor Wickham is out for the remainder of the campaign with Anterior Cruciate Ligament injury. Youngster Jonathan Benteke has a meniscus damage that will keep him out for at least four weeks. Custodian Steve Mandanda and forward Bakary Sako are still out for a few more weeks with their respective knee and muscular injuries. Papa Souare has a thigh injury which will keep him out for three months furthermore. Loic Remy is back in training but yet to regain his full fitness. James McArthur, James Tomkins and Joe Ledley “haven’t declared themselves fit but there’s an outside chance for Arsenal”, as confirmed by Allardyce. Damien Delaney is suspended for the fixture due to conceding his fifth yellow card of the campaign against the Hornets.
Arsenal vs Crystal Palace Probable LineUps:
Arsenal vs Crystal Palace Last Meeting:
Their last meeting at Emirates occurred back in April when Alexis Sanchez’s first-half stoppage time strike was cancelled out by former Palace winger Yannick Bolasie at around 81st-minute mark.
Arsenal vs Crystal Palace Key Players:
Arsenal will rely on the Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil to score goals. Olivier Giroud, who scored against West Brom to earn three points for his side, will pose threat on a vulnerable Palace backline.
Christian Benteke, the big number 9 who joined the Eagles back in summer from Liverpool for a club record transfer fee, will be a threat alongside Wilfried Zaha who will keep the fullbacks busy with his blistering pace and power.
Arsenal vs Crystal Palace Manager’s Quote:
“He’s fit. He’s sharp… will I play him first in a game with the under-23s? I have not decided” – Arsene Wenger on Danny Welbeck’s return.
“It’s difficult to take over a club at the best of times rather than Christmas. We have a difficult period of games and the window.” – Sam Allardyce on his new job.
Arsenal vs Crystal Palace League form ( Latest Result First):
Crystal Palace: D-L-L-D-W-L
Arsenal vs Crystal Palace Betting Odds:
Crystal Palace: 17/2
Arsenal vs Crystal Palace Live Streaming:
The game will be telecast on Sunday, 1st January, 9:30 PM IST on Star Sports Select HD1 for Indian viewers. However, for online streaming links, send us a message to our official Facebook page.