I know that a lot of Arsenal fans out there will be expecting the Gunners to sweep aside Crystal Palace at the Emirates and give us a nice comfortable new years day victory. That easy confidence is certainly not shared by Arsene Wenger though, as his pre match comments about our next opponents on the Arsenal website show.
He said, “It’s a talented squad, because they have potential going forward, they are quick on the break and they are very versatile. They can be good in the air with Benteke, who is also good technically, and they can be quick in transition with Townsend and Zaha.
“In the last game, they played with Flamini, Puncheon and Cabaye in midfield. They have experience, they have technical quality. It’s a team that can be dangerous for everybody.”
As well as talking up the quality that Crystal Palace have on the pitch, Wenger spoke about their new manager Sam Allardyce and the proven Premier League nous and experience that he has shown over the years. He will be expecting Big Sam to have Palace well drilled, fired up and ready for the trip to north London, so I wonder if the Frenchman is thinking about throwing Allardyce a tactical curveball.
If he is then I would like to see him alter the Arsenal formation a little and start both Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud as a strike partnership. Palace will certainly not expect it and we could take them by surprise to grab an early goal.
I do think the Frenchman and the Chilean could work well together up front and with the likes of Ozil, Xhaka, Ramsey, Coquelin, Elneny and Iwobi to choose from we could still dominate the ball and the full backs would still give us width.
Would you like to see Arsenal with this tactical tweak against Crystal Palace?