Crystal Palace v Arsenal Preview, Line-up and Score Prediction

All of Arsenal’s rivals for the Champions League places played yesterday and apart from Man United drawing, the rest all won. We are left three points off Tottenham in fifth place, so we have yet another must-win game at Crystal Palace on our hands to keep in touch.

Roy Hodgson’s side have regained their belief in themselves and are now 8 games unbeaten in the League, but more worrying for Arsenal is that they have not lost a home game in their last 6 either. So let’s start by looking at Palace’s recent home form..

The fact that Palace have also scored two goals in all of those games should put Arsene Wenger on the alert that we need to get our defence in order, which will not be so easy with Nacho Monreal now joining the injury list. 

When you compare Palace’s record with Arsenal’s away form, you could be forgiven for thinking that Hodgson’s men should be favourites! So let us compare…..

That is hardly an inspiring record, and it is purely down to our lack of confidence in games away from the Emirates that has seen us drop off the pace in the title race, and Wenger will be desperate to turn that around. But Palace are still in the relegation zone and will be fighting just as hard. As Hodgson said: “We have got to keep going because we are still a long long way away from 40 points and we must go into each game knowing it will be another tough Premier League game where we are going to be tested to the limit.

“Our opponents will want to win every bit as much as us and we will have to give a good performance if we are going to get something out of each game and that will be key in our preparation.”

Hodgson has proven once again that can manage lower level sides to be effective so it is with more hope than judgement that we can get all three points, especially as last season we came to Selhurst Park and got hammered 3-0!

Other than the mad six minutes against Liverpool, the Gunners had scored just 3 goals in 3 games, and Wenger is hoping that will change today. He said: “What we want is to stop conceding goals, stop missing chances, but as well I want [my players] all to continue to play with the same spirit, the same determination and the same love of the game.” All I want is three points!

Onto the team news. Olivier Giroud, Aaron Ramsey and Nacho Monreal will all miss the next few games, while Palace only have Joel Ward out and will glad to see Christian Benteke come back from suspension.

This is the first of three games in a week again, ending with Chelsea on the 3rd Jan, so i think Wenger will play the best team available to him and rotate against West Brom on New Years Eve. And with Monreal injured I think he will go back to 4-3-3 today. So my prediction is this….

Bellerin Koscielny Mustafi Maitland-Niles
Iwobi Xhaka Wilshere
Ozil Alexis

As for my score prediction, I have to say I’m more than a little concerned, but if we play as well as we did against United and Liverpool we should finally start scoring, but will concede a silly goal or two!

3-2 to the Arsenal!



  1. Eat Pie says:

    2-0 to palace only because they will be wasteful.

    Love Arsenal , but I have no confidence in the manager to select the best team tombeat Palace.

    Zaha will get chances for sure.

    1. kev says:

      A 4-2-3-1 lineup consisting of the following players would win this match:
      Debuchy Koscielny Mustafi Kolasinac
      Coquelin/Niles Wilshere
      Welbeck Ozil Sanchez
      We need a defensive midfielder who can sit back and defend.I feel we’ve lost many matches or close to losing this season because of that.

      1. gotanidea says:

        Wenger’s 4-2-3-1 often leaves only two central defenders in the back, which is very vulnerable to quick counter-attacks. The opponent can also use it to get more corner-kicks, which could hit Arsenal, because Crystal Palace have Benteke.

        I prefer 3-4-2-1 or 4-3-3 for extra protection. I think Wenger would use 4-3-3.

      2. Eat Pie says:

        I like the line up.

        Sanchez has been poor , maybe Niles can start in his place. I do know Sanchez has a few goals and assists even though playing poorly.

        I feel the cohesion of the team would be much better, less lost balls, maybe a few more crosses going in.

        Sanchez of box, stands still and then tries to cut inside and attack is broken down.

        If Sanchez would try and.go outside or cross and only go inside occasionally he would get much more success.

    2. jon fox says:

      You may well be right about the score but the only thing we can confidently predict is that Palace WILL turn up and that Arsenal are unlikely to do so, at least to the same degree. Wilshere will for certain and Ozil has done so lately, but would anyone put money on ANY of the others. Seriously, would you actually PUT YOUR OWN MONEY ON THEM to turn up? NO, neither would I. How I wish I could put huge money -in fact my life savings -on Wenger never turning up as Arsenal manager, ever again!

  2. Eat Pie says:

    Iwobi, Niles, Xhaka and sanchez must be benched.

    1. kev says:

      Are you benching Niles because you think he was average in the Liverpool match or because you feel Kolasinac should start and can do better?If it’s for the latter then fine but if it’s for the former then I guess you and many of us did not watch the Liverpool match very well.He was defensively our best defender in that game.A lot of goals and openings would’ve come from his side if he hadn’t been very solid.He shut down the attacks very well.His positioning was very suspect though and I feel he deserves a place in the starting lineup at CM over Xhaka who is an awful player.The guy is the real deal and I want to see what he can do.I don’t care if he’s young.

      1. Yes I would also like to see Niles in midfield. He can run and never gets tired he would offer cover for the back and even push forward a bit. Xhaka on the bench Niles on the pitch!

      2. gotanidea says:

        Agree. Mo Salah could not beat Niles in that game, so he worked with his teammate to score from the middle of the field.

        Niles has tremendous pace, which would be wasted if he is used as a DM. Arsenal has the combative Coquelin for that task.

        1. Eat Pie says:

          Two of the 3 goals came from that side were due to Niles. He could not handle balls that came in to his post.

          I DO NOT blame him though, it is not his position and Wenger only never took him off because it would break his confidence.

          Lad tried , but defensively was out of depth when certain balls came his way.

          I midfield,but think Coq needs to start to keep Zaha quiet.

          1. Break-on-through says:

            And they should have scored from a free kick that was planted straight over Niles head who in turn left a man to run in behind. They saw Niles as a weakness, esp the ball over the top, in the first half in particular they kept spreading the balls from left to right. He’s ok in duels as he’s strong and quick, but he doesn’t have the experience, when to step up when to drop back, it’s not his position so against good opposition it’s not a clever move.

      3. Eat Pie says:

        Benching because he is not a LB and that showed Vs Pool, Kola must start.
        I liked your line up you mentioned earlier and think Coq must start alongside Jack.

        I would take Niles over Sanchez on the left in a more attacking position, she showed he is good going forward and am sure he will be willing to defend.

      4. TheAnalyzer says:

        Can you tell us the number of matches that you watched Niles play in the central midfield role?

        Two seasons ago when Niles was at Ipswich he played as a winger not central midfielder. The only match he played as central midfielder I remember was FA cup against Southampton.

        Fans what to be expert football managers based on imaginations, while managers are managers based on practical experience.

    2. Prof says:

      But, Eat Pie, the greatest error of perspection u make here is dthat Niles should be benched. How and why on earth could u reason that suicidal!

  3. Goonerboy says:

    Yeah, I want Walcott to start ahead of Iwobi for this one.
    The back line is fine with me, but I don’t think Wenger will play 433, he might wanna make it tight a little bit at the back

    I don’t even care what he does, let’s just get three much needed points…..coyg!!!

    1. GunnerJack says:

      ‘Walcott to start ahead of Iwobi’ = ‘I prefer to be in the frying pan, not the fire’.

      1. jon fox says:

        Great phrase and how apt!

    2. gotanidea says:

      Walcott often gets robbed and cannot get past the opponent. Iwobi has better ball control and taller than Walcott, which is very useful for air duels.

      1. Eat Pie says:

        Yet he always passws backwards, can’t beat his player, loses the ball and never crosses.

        Not the same player he is for Nigeria formsome reason.

        1. jon fox says:

          And can’t hit the target either. Iwobi shows some future promise but is nowhere near the standard a club like ours should be picking right now. And like so many others in Wengers squad, he is too weak and weedy,easily knocked off the ball or just falls over in fright. A manager who could actually coach would work wonders with him and many others but Wenger is to coaching what Kroenke- or Trump – is to being caring and humble. God! What a basket case our club has become.

    3. jon fox says:

      There I was, enjoying a quiet cup of coffee and relaxing after a hectic Christmas when out of the blue, some dastardly fellow, YOU , dared to mention the dread name of Walcott. If I die of a heart attack caused by stress in having to read the awful name of Walcott, my family will hold YOU responsible.

  4. Innit says:

    I’d play

    Debuchy .Koscielny..Mustafi..Kolasinac
    ……….Alexis…… Ozil ……Welbeck

    No Xhaka. No Iwobi.

    That should do the job innit

    1. Muff diver says:

      Innit bruv

    2. Eat Pie says:

      Sanchez on the right, nice.

      Maybe Palace will think his strong foot is his left and wait for him to cut inside, only he goes outside and bamboozles them because he always goes with his right foot.

      Maybe we will get some crosses.

    3. jon fox says:

      Yes! The best available, at least til Wenger leaves! In the next ten minutes, please God!

  5. Sue says:

    Please no Iwobi! Does anyone think we should go for Zaha in January??
    It’ll be a tricky game tonight, like it was last season!! COYG

    1. Nayr says:

      zaha woudnt be so bad in january.
      i like him.

    2. jon fox says:

      I would point out that it was only tricky FOR US last season. A walk in the park for Palace though AND MAY WELL BE ONCE AGAIN.

  6. Robin Vanpayslip says:

    Palace 0 – Arsenal 6

    Laca – 2 mins (assist Ozil)
    Wilshere – 18 mins (assist Ozil)
    Ozil – 25 mins (assist Ozil)
    Laca – 52 mins (assist Ozil)
    Laca – 67 mins (assist Ozil)
    Sanchez – 71 mins (assist Ozil)

    1. Sue says:

      That’s faith!! I hope you’re right

  7. Tatgooner says:

    Its like none of you know wenger at all.
    Palace will win this game for sure

  8. DrewLovesArsenal says:

    Sanchez on the damn bench until he leaves in Jan, pleeeeeeaaaaaaasseee!
    Gosh what a state this club is in?

  9. ThirdManJW says:

    2-2, no shots on target for us in the first half, and we’ll only come alive once we concede.

  10. rkw says:

    anything but a win will make 4th place an increasingly distant goal … to be honest we should be able to beat this lot woy has tightened them up but hardly turned them in to big hitters but i dont think wenger can motivate the team anymore so its all about whether players show up on the night … wilshere needs to get on the ball more partnered with elneny who is probably the most reliable of a hapless riumvirate, kosalinac and debuchy given roles in a back 4… if sanchez wants to showcase his skills i can see a 2 1 victory … otherwise could be looking at another embarassing loss … pathetic that we have fallen to this level of speculation

    1. jon fox says:

      I would have thumbed up, rather than thumbed down your comments had you not , in nine year old child fashion, written “Woy”, instead of “Roy.” Those who, in this enlightened age think it appropriate and clever to poke fun at a minor and totally unimportant speech impediment(which many Gooners players of recent times also have by the way) belong in the nineteenth century. Wouldn’t you say? i wonder if you speak and also write so perfectly! Somehow I RATHER DOUBT IT.

  11. OxInTheBox says:

    2-1 palace
    lets get real, we only had 2 away wins, one against collapsing Everton, the other with a 90th minute penalty. in most games, even at home, we can’t produce more than a few good attacks here and there. most of the time we can’t produce even 5 passes. it’s the worst Arsenal team in 20+ years.
    except the Tottenham and Everton games, we didn’t have a single good game all season (even our 5-0 at home was bad, achieved due to good 10 minutes). we are absolutely rubbish, our top players want’s out, and we have a clueless manager.
    a win today would be good, but unlikely- Wenger out!!!

  12. jon fox says:

    If we DO indeed play the team the article predicts – which we well might – Bellerin, Iwobi and Xhaka, plus the “can’t be arsed to try, Sanchez” we are playing with only 7 players – being generous to certain others also – who will have no clue how to defend or keep the ball. All these four pansy types, which NOW includes Sanchez -which a year ago would have seemed impossible to write – are a complete waste of space and I would bin them until they grow some balls. And in Xhakas case some brain and balls and talent, all in flying pig land! The only small mercy is that the mercifully nearly forgotten Weed Walcott gets nowhere near the start eleven. Be thankful for small mercies but as for all the others who have to be “coached” by Wenger, read and weep!

  13. georgie b says:

    I feel Xhaka is slowly improving.

  14. Clive says:

    @ Innit
    Completely agree with u.
    Best lineup.

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