Verdict: Both teams to score
Crystal Palace play host to Arsenal in the Premier League on Monday night as they aim to move away from the relegation zone. However, the Gunners will be hoping for three points in the London derby if they want to stay in touch with the top-four and keep alive their Champions League ambitions.
Crystal Palace suffered a 3-1 loss against Southampton in midweek and will be keen to get back to the winning ways that enabled them to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge last Saturday. Previous to the game against the Saints, Sam Allardyce’s men looked to have finally adapted to their manager’s philosophy and enjoyed a run of four wins on the bounce in the Premier League. Even though they have embarked on a great run of form, they still find themselves only three points above Swansea City who sit in the bottom three, and relegation is still very much a possibility for the Eagles this season. Allardyce has always been a manager who prefers to shut up shop and keep his defence tight and compact. However, he may struggle to contain Arsenal’s attacking prowess on Monday night, with the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil amongst their ranks. On-loan Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho will be the key to ensuring Palace get anything out of the game.
Yohan Cabaye is out after coming off at half-time against Southampton midweek.
James McArthur could replace the Frenchman if he recovers from his own injury.
Scott Dann, Pape Souare, James Tomkins, Fraser Campbell and Connor Wickham are also out.
It seems like Arsenal are slowly starting to find their rhythm again after a 2-2 battling display against Manchester City last Sunday was followed by a convincing win against West Ham in midweek. However, the Gunners are still very much in danger of missing out on Champions League qualification for the first time since manager Arsene Wenger started his tenure at the club 20 years ago. The North London club are four points behind fourth-placed Manchester City, but they do have a game in hand on their rivals. One thing that may worry fans, is the fact Liverpool and the Citizens look to have somewhat more quality in their squad and any further slip-ups could see the gap widen with only a few league games left. Arsenal are renowned for finishing the season strongly after blowing their title chances, and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if they showed the same fighting mentality during the next month. Nonetheless, the Gunners will need to shore up their defence if they are to salvage their campaign and the flair of Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend could cause them problems on Monday night.
Third-choice goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez will start, with Petr Cech and David Ospina still sidelined.
Olivier Giroud could start after replacing Danny Welbeck against West Ham and scoring. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is also pushing for a recall.
Francis Coquelin returns after missing the midweek match due to personal issues.
Key Factors To Consider
- Crystal Palace have only won 1 of their last 15 games against Arsenal
- Arsenal haven’t lost away at Selhurst Park in the top-flight since November 1979
- Arsene Wenger has never lost a Premier League game against Palace (W8 D3)
- Sam Allardyce has lost 15 times to Wenger in the Prem (W4 D7)
- The Eagles manager last league win over the Gunners manager was in May 2010 with Blackburn Rovers
We predict this to be a very thrilling encounter on Monday evening as Palace and Arsenal have very attacking players on display whilst also possessing vulnerability in defence. Both teams need wins for different reasons and we can see an open, high scoring game to ease your Monday blues.
Verdict: Both teams to score
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