Ahead of Crystal Palace’s visit to the Emirates this afternoon, our usual View From The Enemy slot comes direct from the Eagles official website and is full of interesting facts. Despite our amazing form at home, it would appear that Palace are quietly confident that they are not there just to make up the numbers….
Palace Preview: Eagles looking for Easter triumph at Arsenal
On Easter Sunday, Crystal Palace will make the short journey across London to the Emirates stadium where they will face a testing challenge against an Arsenal side slowly turning north of the river into a red stronghold.
The Gunners have become almost invincible at home this season, winning their last 10 league games in Holloway without losing a league match there since August 12 against Manchester City.
The task facing Palace, then, is of considerable magnitude and while the Eagles’ recent history with their north London counterparts will not inspire great confidence, Roy Hodgson’s side have recorded a win and a draw in their last four fixtures against Arsenal having not won previously since 1994.
Furthermore, recent away form ought to buoy hopes, with Palace winning three of their most recent four clashes on the road. The two club’s own home and away strength means Sunday’s battle is set to be a butting of heads between two sides adept at winning on their respective successful territories.
Should Palace manage to take home a point or more, it will be the first season since 1979-80 that they have avoided defeat to Arsenal in both league meetings.
Their recent 2-2 draw with Unai Emery’s team will linger fondly in the memory for fans, as a Luka Milivojevic brace of penalties at Selhurst Park earlier in the season kept Palace in a game they arguably could and should have won.
The Gunners’ Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be looking to ensure such a result isn’t recorded again, however, having scored 18 league goals this season – three of which have come in his six most recent appearances.
Elsewhere, Bournemouth play host to relegated Fulham on Saturday at 3pm. Palace sit just two points behind the Cherries, meaning the weekend could see the Eagles fly to the higher perch of 12th should Eddie Howe’s men drop points as Palace earn them.
Palace have suffered from a handful of injuries in recent weeks, with Mamadou Sakho and James Tomkins being unavailable for their most recent clash with Manchester City and Jeffrey Schlupp forced to leave the field during the game.
Arsenal also have their fair share of absentees, with Hector Belleren, Rob Holding and Danny Welbeck all unavailable for the clash. Lucas Torreira left the field of play against Watford recently and Sokratis is suspended.
Defensively, Arsenal are behind their nearest opposition having conceded 40 goals in the Premier League so far – four more than Chelsea, who sit behind them. However they are the third-highest scorers in the table and will be confident given their immense ongoing home form.
Emery has also implemented a remarkable style for fullbacks to adhere to, as the likes of Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Sead Kolasinac play very high up the field and work the wings even more so than the average attacking fullback.
Stat to share
No team has played more English league games on Easter Sunday than Arsenal (7), while this will be Palace’s first ever league game on that day.