Crystal Palace v Arsenal – The Gunners cannot allow the Eagles to get one over on them again.
Last season Palace defeated Arsenal 3-2 at the Emirates, a result that had a devastating impact on their top-four hopes. This season they drew 2-2 at the Emirates in a game best remembered for the Granit Xhaka meltdown.
I had a quick look at the last few games between the sides and over the last ten Premier League clashes there have been five wins for Arsenal, three draws and two Palace wins. So, on the face of it, Palace is not such a bogey team.
The last three games have seen two draws and a single Palace win but overall, Arsenal has the clear upper hand.
Tomorrow will not be easy, Roy Hodgson’s men actually have had a half-decent season, they are one point and one place above Arsenal in the standings. In fact, a win for the Eagles in the early kick-off and they could go level with Man Utd in fifth. I say could simply because Sheffield United play this evening.
Now, this current Arsenal team, based on the games under Mikel Arteta, is very different to the one that drew at the Emirates earlier in this campaign and that lost at the end of the last season.
Of course, there are still issues, we all saw that Monday night against Leeds in the first half, I mean, they play like that for 90 minutes and Arsenal will lose.
But that is the thing, they did not play bad for 90 minutes, they improved beyond expectation in the second half and that is not exaggerating. Put it this way, would this Arsenal team have improved like that under Unai Emery? I don’t think so.
Arteta’s team shows fight, shows passion and does not let their heads drop. Players like Mesut Ozil and Granit Xhaka have been brilliant and even the much-maligned defence has got a whole lot better. David Luiz and Sokratis being classic examples.
If this game was played a month ago then I could not possibly have predicted an Arsenal win. Today I can.
Arsenal will have far too much going forward for Palace to keep a clean sheet and if the defence plays as it did for most of the game against Chelsea and all of the games against Leeds and Man Utd then I cannot see anything other than three points coming our way.
Crystal Palace 0-2 Arsenal