Arsenal welcome Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace side to the Emirates on Sunday afternoon
Arsenal welcome Crystal Palace to Emirates Stadium on Sunday afternoon (October 27).
The Gunners will be looking to return to winning ways in the Premier League after slipping to a 1-0 defeat away at Sheffield United on Monday night.
A lacklustre performance at Bramall Lane has added to the pressure going into this game as Arsenal once again lacked any sense of urgency and direction.
Creativity was massively lacking and Unai Emery is coming under more pressure from fans by the week with many still questioning what the game plan actually is.Embed from Getty Images
The midweek victory at home to Vitoria in the Europa League didn’t exactly do much to convince anyone that the team is heading in the right direction.
Two stunning free-kicks from Nicolas Pepe in a scintillating 15-minute cameo from the Ivorian spared Arsenal’s blushes – the standout positive to take from the night was his potential turning point moment since joining the club.
But the overall team performance left more questions than answers, even though it was a much-changed line-up.
And painful, vivid memories of this fixture at the end of last season are still very much fresh in the mind.Embed from Getty Images
Wilfried Zaha scoring after breezing past Skhodran Mustafi’s non-existent attempt at defending is an image that still haunts us as the damaging 3-2 defeat at home to Palace was just one of the many nails in the coffin which saw Arsenal miss out on a Champions League spot.
The Eagles lost 2-0 at home to Manchester City last weekend, but they’re just one point and place below Emery’s side in the table.
Roy Hodgson’s team have also got some serious previous when it comes to taking points away at the so-called top six.
Palace won 2-1 away at Manchester United earlier this season and also beat Manchester City 3-2 at the Etihad last year, as well as their victory at the Emirates back in April.
They were also the last side to win at Anfield – a 2-1 win over Liverpool in April 2017.
Team NewsEmbed from Getty Images
Reiss Nelson will miss out with a knee injury while Unai Emery is likely to make a number of changes from the side that played Vitoria on Thursday night.
Sokratis and David Luiz could well come back in at centre-back. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang should return to lead the line.
Crystal Palace are without Connor Wickham and Mamadou Sakho, while goalkeeper Vicente Guaita and defender Martin Kelly are both doubts.
Zaha will take on the Gunners for the first time since being strongly linked with a move to North London in the summer transfer window.
PredictionEmbed from Getty Images
Key player: Nicolas Pepe – His excellent cameo in midweek will have given the Ivorian a huge confidence boost. Let’s hope he can take that form into this game and help fire Arsenal to victory.
Arsenal’s last five Premier League games: D/W/D/W/L
Crystal Palace’s last five Premier League games: L/D/W/W/L
Prediction: Arsenal 2-1 Crystal Palace – It’s a sign of where Arsenal are right now when your head says this could quite feasibly be an away win, while a draw is arguably the most likely outcome.
But even though it’s expected to be a tight game, the heart has to rule the head and optimism says the Gunners will edge this one.