Crystal Palace come to the Emirates today at a time when they are enjoying one of their best runs ever in the Premier League, while Arsenal are going though one of their worst ever under Wenger so the Eagles should be feeling quietly confident of getting some sort of result at the Emirates today.
So today’s View From The Enemy comes from the Official Palace website, and they have some interesting facts to disclose about both sides current form….
Preview: Arsenal v Crystal Palace
Palace put their five-game away unbeaten run in the Premier League on the line when they face Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday afternoon, searching for their first win at the venue.
Roy Hodgson’s team haven’t lost on their league travels since they were last in north London to take on Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley on 5th November, and they will be looking to extend that form at the expense of the Gunners, who have struggled on and off the field since they beat Palace 3-2 at Selhurst Park just 23 days before the teams do battle again.
With the future of Alexis Sanchez dominating the headlines in recent weeks, Arsenal have struggled without the Chile international in their ranks. Wenger has also seen Theo Walcott depart for Everton this week, while the futures of Mesut Ozil and Jack Wilshere are also up in the air, meaning there is a lot on the Frenchman’s plate right now.
Nightmare start to 2018 for Wenger
Since beating Palace, the Gunners have failed to win any of their subsequent five matches, with league draws against West Bromwich Albion and Chelsea followed by last weekend’s 2-1 defeat at Bournemouth.
Wenger was on the sidelines for that game due to his comments following the controversial draw at The Hawthorns, and he watched from afar whilst Arsenal’s defence of the FA Cup ended meekly at Nottingham Forest – the first time they’d exited the competition at the third round stage during the Frenchman’s 21-year tenure.
While one chance of silverware has disappeared, they did record an encouraging 1-1 draw at Chelsea in the first leg of their League Cup semi-final, with the return game at the Emirates following the weekend’s encounter with the Eagles.
View From The Opposition
Arsene Wenger: “I am confident yes, but it is down to our performance. Crystal Palace were in a good run before we played against them and since they have had positive results again, so we just have to focus on our performance and make that we win the game.
“It is difficult at the moment, but as well very exciting because we have many challenges in front of us. We of course play the semi-final next week and after we have the Europa League as well, which is another target, so we have to very quickly get over this transfer period because for us especially this period has been more disturbing than ever.
“Why? Because we have big players that are at the end of their contract and that is the first time that it happens, that we have such influential players close to the end of their contracts and it has been more destabilising than ever.”
Hodgson has revealed that Joel Ward could be available again having trained with the squad for the past 10 games following his groin injury, and Yohan Cabaye is also available again.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek is touch-and-go to feature as he recovers from a back issue, but Andros Townsend, Jeffrey Schlupp, Mamadou Sakho, Scott Dann, Jason Puncheon and Connor Wickham are out long-term.
Wenger has admitted that he could have Mesut Ozil, Nacho Monreal and Laurent Koscielny back for the visit of Palace, but youngster Ainsley Maitland-Niles is struggling with illness. Should Sanchez’s proposed move to Manchester United fall through, then Wenger has stated he’ll feature on the weekend.
Having been involved in five goals in his last eight games against the Eagles, Hodgson will be pleased to hear that Olivier Giroud is a week away from recovering from a hamstring injury.
Chris Kavanagh takes charge of his first ever Palace, and indeed Arsenal, match on Saturday. He made his Premier League debut in April 2017 but before then he had been fourth official in the top-flight on a number of occasions. He has referreed eight Premier League games in 2017/18, showing 30 yellow cards and no reds.
Referee: Chris Kavanagh
Assistant Refs: Peter Kirkup and Adam Nunn
Fourth Official: Andre Marriner
After a run of 12 consecutive home Premier League wins, the Gunners have won just one of their last four at the Emirates (D2 L1)
Meanwhile, after losing eight consecutive away Premier League games, the Eagles are unbeaten in their last five on the road (W2 D3). Only Liverpool (6) are on a current longer run without defeat away from home in the division.
Bakary Sako is Crystal Palace’s top scorer in all competitions this season (6), and has scored in his last two competitive games. He’s not scored in three games in a row in the same season of English football since he was at Wolves in February 2015.