It’s hard to believe (or maybe it isn’t) that Arsenal have won three matches in a row just once this season. Perhaps more shocking is that the Gunners are on a two-match clean sheet streak. Should Mikel Arteta and Arsenal want to win three in a row and get Arteta’s first away win in charge, they’ll have to go through Crystal Palace.
The big challenge for the Gunners today will be breaking down a formidable Palace defense whose 23 goals against is fourth best in the Premier League. To do that, Mikel Arteta is faced with a tough decision — who to play on the left. Wilfried Zaha, despite having a poor year, is Palace’s biggest attacking threat and plays down the right. Does Arteta go with the additional offensive punch from Nicolas Pépé or the more defensively adept Reiss Nelson? UPDATE: Arteta is going with the lineup that thoroughly outplayed Manchester United, so Pépé it is. I wonder if the boss has an extra wrinkle in the tactics to ensure that Zaha doesn’t hurt the Gunners too much.
Arsenal are catching Palace at a fortunate time from an injury perspective; the Eagles’ training room is full, particularly of defenders. Defenders Scott Dann, Mamadou Sakho, Joel Ward and Patrick van Aanholt are all currently sidelined. Andros Townsend, Jeffrey Schlupp and Christian Benteke are also carrying injuries.
On the Arsenal side of things, Hector Bellerin is back in partial training but unlikely to be available. Rob Holding and Gabriel Martinelli are good to go after returning against Leeds from their knocks. Dani Ceballos, who made the bench but didn’t play in the FA Cup tie, is also good to go if needed. Kieran Tierney and Calum Chambers are out long-term.
Arsenal - Leno, Maitland-Niles, David Luiz, Sokratis, Kolasinac, Torreira, Xhaka, Ozil, Pepe, Lacazette, Aubameyang
Crystal Palace - Guaita, Kelly, Tomkins, Cahill, Riedewald, McArthur, Kouyate, McCarthy, Meyer, Zaha, Ayew
WHAT: Arsenal at Crystal Palace
WHERE: Selhurst Park, London, England
WHEN: Saturday, January 11th, 4:30 AM PT | 7:30 AM ET | 12:30 PM BT
US TV: NBCSN. Stream here.
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