Crystal Palace will be a good opening test for Arsenal

Facing Palace in the Premier League opener will be a good challenge for Arsenal by SE

Anticipation and apprehension have been aplenty in the weeks leading up to this one, and if you’re someone associated with Arsenal, the wait must have felt longer than it actually was.
From valuable acquisitions in the transfer market to have had a very good pre-season, Arsenal must surely be cock-a-hoop going into the new season. The FA Community Shield mauling of Manchester City should have raised the confidence levels, ahead of the new season, even more. But, the first Premier League weekend sees Arsenal take on Crystal Palace at the Emirates, and mind you it won’t be easy.

Tony Pulis’s men will come to the Emirates, and have one and only thing in mind: Test Arsenal’s credentials of being genuine title contenders. It’s not illogical to have a look at the fixture list and think to ourselves, “Chelsea in October, Man City in September, and we have a relatively easy end to the season”, but it’s nowhere near as easy as that.

The Eagles thrived on efficient defensive displays last season once Tony Pulis took over from Ian Holloway, and the former Stoke City manager highlighted the importance of being a good defensive unit. It was through very good defensive displays that Crystal Palace surged their way up to finish 11th in the Barclays Premier League table last season. And, against Arsenal this Saturday, the orders from Pulis to his players won’t be any different.

Crystal Palace will want to be organized at the back, and make use of the likes of Puncheon, Bolasie and the former gunner Marouane Chamakh to hit Arsenal on the break. Breaking that Crystal Palace defence will be Arsenal’s biggest challenge to collect 3 points, before facing the likes of Everton and Man City in the following weeks.

I think facing Crystal Palace in the Premier League opener will be a tantalizing proposition for Arsenal, who should have enough in the tank to put it past a resilient Palace defence. Palace will become narrow while defending and Arsenal might not have the space to play their exquisite brand of Football. But this is the kind of game that could bring out Sanchez’s versatility. The Chilean can be good in the air, and win those 50-50 tussles, which will be crucial in a game of this character. First goal, irrespective of which team scores, will go a long way in determining what happens at the end of 90 minutes.

But, if you’re Wenger and gunning for the Premier League title, this would be a perfect test to kick start the campaign. Collect 3 points against Palace, and it would be a job ‘very well done’.

Tags Crystal Palace Sanchez


  1. We MUST have a perfect start.
    We MUST have an awesome home record
    We MUST beat the teams at bottom and mid table
    We MUST have a good away record
    We MUST win trophies
    We MUST be Arsenal


    1. Don’t underestimate Crystal Palace. They are organised, good defensively and they hit very hard above their weight. Not a dirty team and a nice support, but they sit back and teams like Arsenal fall asleep, which is when they hit you. Our No.1 goalkeeper has never had the ability to stay concentrated for 90 mins which makes Palace more dangerous.

      Mertesacker has not had any pre-season games, will be rusty, which makes Palace even more dangerous. Ozil can be dropped to the bench but it is unlikely BFG will be benched. He might be an exploited weak link and used to get past Szczęsny. With Giroud’s scoring record being every two games (not good since he scored in the Community Shield), this means we are relying on Midfield to score. Özil has played no pre-season games like Mertesacker and so he will be rusty, Walcott is not ready and Sanchez is yet to open his scoring account.

      Palace are in the top flight of the English Premier League which means they are dangerous, potential point dropping, and not to be taken lightly. They were in the EPL last season too and survived comfortably. Makes them even more dangerous.

      If all the top rivals get 3 points in their opening games and we get 1 or none, this will not be good.

  2. Chamakh. That’s a name from the past. Has he improved since leaving us. I know Vela did but didn’t follow Chamakh last season. Anyway, wish him all the best.

  3. A 4-0 or more win would be an amazing start. Most likely to top the league after matchday 1 and confidence would be high. We should aim to score as many goals as possible against the lets say the ‘smaller teams’. Last season we only won 2-0 or 1-0 against a lot of small teams e.g. Cardiff, Palace etc. These games should all be at least 3-0 or more to make our goal difference as high as possible. Knowing this season will be a hell of a lot closer and tougher and if it does come down to the wire it may be on goal difference.

    1. That is confidence JD, or, is it blind faith.
      IF we score first, it MAY be 3 or 4-0, but, I doubt it.
      Concede first, and, old problems may raise there heads.
      I would gladly just take a 1-0 right now, 3 points and onwards we go.
      First few games are always difficult, fitness, players missing, new players. Don,t let us get over-confident already.

  4. With Pulls likely to play ork football and try to bully us off the ball if we come out with 3 points and no injuries I will be over the moon.

  5. i agree …pulis has done wonders with this palace team-wont be a walkover,

    as long as get the win.

    still kinda perplexed our biggest concern-dm hasnt been rectified?!

  6. Test? What do you mean by test? In case you don’t know, let me give you the news : it is a game from the EPL season and we NEED 3 points. Miss the start and all that momentum gained during the Emirates Cup and Community Shield is gone. Not to mention that the next game is at Godison Park. Like really, a test?

  7. I see us gaining the 3 points at stake and anything short of that is a bad start for me. Anyways, “off topic” what’s this news i’ve just read abt Afc bidding 51m pounds for Cavani peepz?

  8. I think Wenger is going to sign a CB to replace verm..

    He will also sign ONE more big name which i think will be a LW/ST as he knows how happy the fans get and he says he likes seeing the smiles in the emirates

    I don’t think he will get a CDM he will trust arteta too much but j do think he is going to try and use calum chambers there quite often and maybe against the big boys

    1. I agree – Wengers own mutterings re Chambers able to play CDM, Arteta made captain and the reiteration about JW’s long term position being a deep-lying MF seems to be fairly unequivocal evidence to me at least that no “beast” (as people like to say on here) is turning up this season. So we need to take that on the chin and get on with it. A young CB that no doubt hasn’t been linked to us will arrive – we won’t get a big name because they will want to start. And I think there is one last surprise coming our way – Wenger said “one more signing, possibly 2” recently – “the possibly 2” statement obviously a reference to whether TV5 left or not.

  9. Even though I don’t like Tony Pulis,I would like to say he has wonders at Crystal Palace.If we underestimate them we have to pay dearly.

    1. He DID work miracles, as much as, he organised them, especially defensively.
      However, the team he left, Stoke, looked and played 100% better once he left.
      I agree we do not underestimate them, but, if we play as we can, then we should win fairly comfortably.
      My problem, and was last Season, IF we concede first, we lose formation, confidence, we panic, push forward from the back and get caught out. Liverpool, Chelsea, Everton.
      Score first and we gain confidence, keep our shape, settle, and very seldom struggle to get a result.

  10. what does anyone else think about taking a punt on tiote he could be a cheap alternative to replace arteta and he is not scared to put his foot in and would protect our back line he would be a good squad addition and could fill in a gap for the time being until a better option comes along i think for £8 million could be a bargain i am sure wenger could refine his game to be a better player what does anyone think?

    1. After being linked with Khedira I don’t want to hear about B level CDM’s. Seriously. Better leave Arteta or Chambers there and buy a striker or a CB. Like seriously.

  11. Kinda feel like we should beat them very comprehensively. Injury dependent i’d play this team vs them

    Debuchy Mert Kos Gibbs
    —–Ramsey Arteta——-
    Sanchez Wilshere Cazorla

    Ospina, Chambers, Monreal, Flamini, Rosicky, Ox, Sanogo

      1. Only reason he would pay more is maybe because he isnt guaranteed to get a hefty suspension every season like Suarez was. £51M is too much for Cavani though. I’d be happy if we got him for around £40M. He’s not top priority though. I’d rather take that money and go after Pogba.

    1. in all fairness (and I actually like Suarez as a guy, I speak Spanish and he seems honest) Cavani is a lot ..lets say softer, he is more soft spoken, low volumen soeaker, and also honest.
      And by sof spoken i mean he doesnt go around biting people LOL

  12. If koscielny is fit my team would be:
    debuchy chambers koscielny gibbs
    Ramsey arteta wilshere
    Sanchez sanogo cazorla

    playing Everton early is good for us the first 3 games at home to palace and away at leicester and Everton 9 points would be a great start, Everton look there for the taking at the moment

  13. Off-topic

    I don’t get why Madrid want to hold on to Khedira without a contract, they will lose him for nothing when they can get £24 million for him. I know they ate a rich club but it’s still a lot of money. Maybe he will sign an extension

    1. I think it’s just a negotiating game really. With the arrival of Kroos it’d be silly for both Madrid and Sami not to have him sold and moved on this summer. I’m sure Wenger will take him if he’s eventually offered for less money and Sami drops his ridiculous wage demands.

    2. For what I understand they don’t, actually they are afraid of losing him on the free, and also with di maria, although both of the players are Great, they need to sell, if not the ffp will come for them in a year or two. They need to have some profit, problem is always the agents, they ask for too much. And so does real madrid. They were trying to sell di maria to psg for about the same money james came in, and 1: psg is affected by ffp 2: real madrid does not understand that they get players at a high price because they are real madrid. No one buys as crazy as them, so they always ask rodiculous money to them. If they came for rambo, how much would you ask them for? No doubt crazy money. They payed 40 mil€ for illaramendi, and they think they can sell just as high. I can tell you that real madrid want to sell khedira and di maria, but they want to get the same amount of money they payed for their replacements james and kroos. And if we had an agreement for khedira, which i am not sure about, then the problem was the agent. But they say that when you struggle to sign someone, and you get it, it feels and he plays greaat. Let’s wait and see, know it’s off topic but the long explanation was needed i think

  14. This is exactly what I said yesterday, the 4-1-4-1 formation we used defnsively helped arteta a lot, and if we don’t buy a dm, that should be the way to go. But wenger will want to play ozil, and he just doesn’t fit there, this is more of a counter attack formation and yes he can clip the right passes but unless we bench cazorla on the left he doesn’t fit there. Wenger won’t bench any of them, and he WILL buy the dm, he has to. If not he has to stick with the 4-1-4-1, but I prefer jack and rambo infront of arteta, cazorla on the left, as they tracked back in the city game which proved that they can play in the formation. I think ozil doesn’t fit there, let’s remember the game vs bayern at home, yes one man down but he doesn’t look to contribute defensively, it’s just not his attribute, we need a dm so we can play our 4-2-3-1 again and be well protected, because lets be serious lads arteta is like half a dm since that’s not his natural position if we buy one we’ll be done. Oh and a backup cb, would like a centre forward but wenger will rotate all of our wingers with the capabilities there (sanchez, walcott, campbell) atm he’ll stick with giroud i think, when walcott’s back we’ll see.

  15. Even a 1-0 will suffice for me this time. But I just want us to stuff Everton. Some how I felt the Everton game more humiliating. That 3-0 loss. The way Lukaku and Martinez were behaving on the touchline. Newly weds sort of. And the way Barkley behaved with Arteta that day. No matter how great BARKley becomes, my hate for him will be immense.
    Just stuff them already. I know expectations hurt but I dont know, if we lose again in Goodison park, I might go beserk and bite someone. I am really worked up.

  16. Some one should do an articles on Arsenal’s bogey teams.
    Like in Arsenal won only once in Stoke away in 6 years time. That too the day we won there was the day Rambo was Shawcrossed.
    ManU are bogey team for us in the sense that they always stop our run ins. Like the Invincibles or more recent memory beating Liverpool 2-0 and Dortmund 1-0 than losing 1-0. Or taking or precisely giving 4 points to ManU last year.
    Wenger’s bogey manager Mourinho. That is nevering winning against Mourinho.

    O incase I forgot to mention, We are Liverpool’s bogey team. We never lost a match in Anfield in PL last 8 years except last year.

    Every team has a bogey. Chelsea has Aston Villa.
    Spurs have us. City has us. Goes on and on.

  17. Jim white has been doing a transfer Q&A for sky sports/ sky bet and he was asked about Arsenal. He said we will do more business and he said ” I’m certain there will be a big name.” As I’ve said before, I can’t see us not getting either a DM or maybe a striker. Whoever it is, they’re good.

  18. Man! Diego Costa is firing goals consistently. He and RVP probably will battle it out for most goals. Hope Giroud has a breakthrough season and score 30 plus goals.

          1. I take this bet simply because of his injury record. EPL is much more physical than La Liga and I don’t believe he will basically have the play time to achieve 30+. I would be very impressed for him to score 30+ in his first season in England.

            1. I take that bet as well. Suarez looked like he was going for 40 goals but look what happened, he stayed firmly at 31 and only bypassed the record.

              Sorry but Costa doesn’t have the quality to score + 30 in Premier League.

      1. Costa was included in the European and World Cup holders for this years WC.
        Scoring 25 plus goals in La Liga is very good, but, most teams are terrible defensively.
        Just lets see how he does in the EPL. MAY be great, but, maybe not.
        Stats show, TALKSPORT, that Costa, and Giroud, have almost identical scoring records, both in numbers, and, conversion rates.

  19. 4231 is dead at the Emirates, nobody wants to hear about it anymore. 433 or the “christmas tree” 4321 is the new tactic. 4141 is going to be a gamble on the left side. Wilshere hates playing wide and Ozil or Cazorla are not exactly decent defenders.

    1. In the 4 1 4 1 system I think carzola was on the left not wiltshire. Carzola can play as a winger as we all know and in the mancity game he suprisingly helped gibbs in defence alot which was great to see. The truth is our midfielders exchange roles sometimes in the game depending on how the game flows. So sometimes Ramsay was even on the left terrorising clichy (loved it) while santi and wilshire were in the middle. But yes wilshire and ramsay in the middle defensively makes alot of sense. Even if we get a DM I think this system should still be used against the big teams defensively. if it worked against the champions and we kept a clean sheet with arteta as DM, imagine what will happen with a specialist DM like cavalho. We could officially be Bullies FC…lol

      1. We haven’t played so far 4141 with Cazorla on the pitch, check the games we played so far. When Cazorla was on the pitch the tactics was 4321 with Cazorla next to Sanchez and Wilshere (not sure who Wiltshere is) behind him together with Arteta and Ramsey.

  20. I don’t entertain any doubt or fears of Arsenal not beating C Palace Saturday. The Gunnres will surely humbled Palace by at least 3 to 4 goals margin. The Gunners have been strengthened with some new tops. And we have witnessed the positive effect of this strenghtening, as Arsenal smashed Man City 3-0 at Wembly. Arsenal will not fail to remember that last season’s opening day home lose to Villa. There is no way Arsenal will allow that kind of embarrassment to befall them again.

  21. We won’t get Cavani if PSG don’t get Di Maria. They said weeks ago that Di Maria is too expensive. When a money bag team says something is too expensive, you know they aren’t getting it, so there goes our Cavani hopes.

    1. Wow, Cavani is right footed and is played on the left wing. How stupid is that? He must be thinking of leaving.

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