This week’s View From The Enemy comes direct from the Crystal Palace Official website, and although they don’t really give an opinion on how the game will go, the bare facts make very grim reading for Eagles fans. In fact every single stat points to an Arsenal win, until you see that the Gunners were extremely hot favourites for this fixture last year as well – But Palace still managed to walk away with a point!
But this is the Premier League, and the only thing you can be sure of is to expect the unexpected! So anyway here is the official Preview in full….
Arsenal v Crystal Palace
Palace kick off 2017 with a trip to the Emirates Stadium on New Year’s Day, as Sam Allardyce goes in search of his first win as Eagles manager.
Should he achieve that, then he’ll be the first Palace manager since Alan Smith to record a win at the home of the Gunners, which came way back in October 1994 thanks to a John Salako brace.
The two team’s records on the 1st January are poles apart, as while Arsenal haven’t lost a home league game on this date since 1985, the Eagles have won just one of their last seven league games away from home on New Year’s Day which came in 1996 at Portsmouth.
After suffering back-to-back defeats to Everton and Manchester City which saw Arsene Wenger’s team slip behind the league’s leaders, they bounced back by edging a 1-0 win against West Bromwich Albion on Boxing Day thanks to Olivier Giroud’s goal.
Arsene Wenger: “Palace has 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.”
Arsenal: Kieran Gibbs will miss this game after he got a knock to the knee against West Brom, but Shkodran Mustafi should be available after a hamstring injury.
Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain missed Boxing Day with slight injuries but could return, but Santi Cazorla and Mathieu Debuchy are both still on the sidelines with long-term injuries.
Danny Welbeck has returned to training after seven months out but this game might come too soon for him, and Wenger has also suggested a couple of members of his squad are suffering with flu.
Palace: Damien Delaney is unavailable for this game after he picked up his fifth booking of the season against Watford.
James McArthur, Joe Ledley and James Tomkins are all close to being fit for this game, but maybe be given more time to recover for the game against Swansea City 48 hours later.
Sam Allardyce has suggested that Loic Remy is edging nearer a first-team return but that is likely to be next week in the FA Cup tie against Bolton Wanderers.
HEAD TO HEAD
|Arsenal wins||Draws||Palace wins|
Arsenal have won eight of their last 11 Premier League games against Crystal Palace, drawing the other three.
This will be the 200th Premier League game contested at the Emirates – Arsenal have won 129, drawn 47 and lost 23 of the 199 currently played there.
Olivier Giroud has three Premier League goals against the Eagles, but all of those have been scored at Selhurst Park.
Giroud is averaging a goal every 65 minutes in the Premier League this season (four goals in 259 minutes) and has scored five goals in his last three Premier League starts.
Only Chelsea (24) and Spurs (23) have earned more home Premier League points than Arsenal (20 – level with Liverpool) this season.
Andre Marriner takes charge of Palace for the second time this season, having reffed their 4-2 home loss to Liverpool. In his 14 previous appointments, the Eagles have won four and drawn three.
Referee: A Marriner
Assistants: S Beck, S Ledger
Fourth official: S Attwell
LAST MEETING AT THE EMIRATES STADIUM
17th April 2016
Arsenal 1-1 Crystal Palace
Yannick Bolasie struck late for Crystal Palace to secure a draw which helped them get their first ever point at the Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal should have won comfortably to leapfrog Manchester City into third but instead they remain fourth in a nervy race for a Champions League spot.
Alexis Sanchez headed in Danny Welbeck’s chip to give the Gunners the lead but they lacked a killer instinct to put the result beyond doubt.
Bolasie then struck from distance, beating Petr Cech at his near post