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Arsenal vs. Crystal Palace: Match preview

It's an away game, but not a long trip

He looks like a sadder Nicolas Cage in this picture
He looks like a sadder Nicolas Cage in this picture
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Arsenal vs. Crystal Palace
English Premier League
Saturday, February 21, 2015
Selhurst Park, London
Form: ARS stepped in a small pothole, rolled ankle, walking it off | PAL Fell off the curb, brushing off, standing back up
US TV: PL Extra Time, NBC Live Extra | Worldwide TV info

After Sunday's installment of Cup Magic, Arsenal are back at it in the league tomorrow against a Crystal Palace side who have been, if not completely rejuvenated, then at the very least playing a whole lot better under the tutelage of Alan Pardew. Pardew took over for Neil Warnock, who combined with his predecessor Tony Pulis for 15 wins and 19 losses in 45 games, and since taking over five games ago, Pardew's Palace has won four and lost one, bringing Palace up to 13th place in the table, five points above the relegation places.

Arsenal, as per usual, come in to this game carrying some injuries - in addition to the usual long-term residents of the training table, Hector Bellerin faces a late fitness test on his ankle, Flamini faces a test on his hamstring (I really hope the medical staff doesn't mix up the tests, that'd be awkward), and Jack Wilshere, though available, may not start as Arsene Wenger looks to work him back into the squad slowly following his latest injury.  With the Champions League returning next week, I'm OK with this conservative approach - it's getting back into a busy period for Arsenal now, and they'll need as many fresh legs as they can muster.

Palace, meanwhile, come in to this game having exited the FA Cup at the weekend to Liverpool; as mentioned, though, they're playing better in the league. Yaya Sanogo is ineligible to play per the terms of his loan, and other than a late series of fitness tests of their own to James McArthur, Mile Jedinak and old favorite Marouane Chamahk, are more or less at full strength.

Yes, we all know that there are no easy games at this level, but this tie could be even trickier than the Leicester tie if Arsenal aren't up for it - they made Leicester look like a 13th placed team, so hopefully Arsenal won't make Palace look like a sixth-placed one this weekend.