The Gunners travel to Crystal Palace today looking to keep the pressure on the teams above us in the race for the Champions League places, and Arsenal are undoubtedly in a great run of form at the moment. We have won 7 of our last 8 matches, and in the head-to-head’s against Palace, Arsenal have not lost in their last ten visits to Selhurst Park and are also unbeaten in our last ten meetings with today’s opponents.
But Alan Pardew has brought about some improvement to the Palace team, and they have lost just once in the five League games since his arrival, although they have definitely performed better away from home. Arsene Wenger is aware that Palace are a hard to team to beat, but believes his own team is in fine fettle: “Crystal Palace have a compact unit, they are always quick to go forward and counter-attack with players like Bolasie, Puncheon, Zaha, Campbell, Gayle and Chamakh,” Le Prof said on Arsenal.com.
“Let’s not forget they have Sanogo there as well, so they are a good offensive force and a good crowd. It’s a tight pitch as well – the atmosphere is a bit like Highbury. That’s why it is special and it’s difficult for everybody.”
Arsenal still have some ongoing injury problems, but the size and quality of the squad is much much better than the first half of the season, and Wenger is quietly confident for today’s game: “We have options, especially now at the back and up front,” Le Prof continued. “Maybe in midfield we are a bit shorter but we have players coming back so the options are there. It’s fierce competition in every single position. That’s good.
“Our quality, the principles we respect in the way we want to play and the united force we have in the squad make me confident. There’s a good understanding and collective desire, and that unity will be key for us. We know we are in front of three important months in our lives and we want to commit to doing well.”
This could be three months of triumph and a trophy, or a three month scrap for fourth place, but it would seem that Wenger has his troops primed for the battle and ready to go in with all guns blazing. If we can start every game the way we did against Middlesbrough we will definitely win every game from now on. Starting this afternoon…