Sunday, 27th October 2019
Arsenal will be looking to return to winning ways in the league as they welcome fellow London side Crystal Palace at the Emirates on Sunday.
Currently on fifth on the log, the Gunners were humbled in a 1-0 away loss to promoted side Sheffield United on Monday in a game in which they were incredibly disappointing. They trail Liverpool by 10 points after the Sheffield defeat where they could have made up some ground.
Lacking in quality and creativity and potentially out of the title challenge, the home crowd is beginning to grow agitation against manager Unai Emery’s team selection and questioning whether he is the right man for the job.
The concerns grew to a crescendo on Monday with many, fans and pundits alike, confused about the direction of the club, arguing key decisions have been taken without a clear explanation of the strategy behind them, and crave to know as much as possible about Emery’s perspective on a range of issues so they can get on board.
Top on the list is the freezing out of talisman Mesut Ozil, a man known for his creativity in the final third, which is seriously lacking in Arsenal’s current play.
The manager was left frustrated after he was pressed over Ozil’s future, who has featured just twice this term, following the decision to leave the playmaker out against Vitoria.
Record signing Nicolas Pepe was in spectacular form as he came to Arsenal’s rescue in Thursday’s Europa League tie with Vitoria Guimares, scoring two stunning free-kicks to win it at the death despite coming on for a 15 minute cameo, salvaging what was could have been yet another umpteenth bad night for Arsenal.
Fresh from bagging an honorary doctorate from Greenwich University, Palace manager Roy Hodgson will be looking to continue his record against top teams given that they have had some notable away wins in the past few seasons.
The Eagles came unstuck against a resilien Manchester City last time out but will not be too disheartened after their strong start to the season so far. Crystal Palace are sixth in the league with 14 points from the nine league games.
Wilfried Zaha will lead the attack against the home side. He was heavily linked with Arsenal in the summer transfer window. However a move failed to materialize as the Gunners failed to match the Eagles’ £100 million valuation for the Ivory Coast international.
He has featured in every game for Palace since, but has yet to hit the top form that attracted other clubs for his services.
Keeper Guaita remains an injury doubt coming into the fixture; meaning Wayne Hennessey could retain his place in goal for the Spanish stopper.
Head to head:
Each side has won two of their last five meetings with Palace emerging victorious in the latest, a 3-2 shocker at the Emirates in April.
Palace have kept one clean sheet in their last 12 away games, we are therefore going with an Arsenal win with over 2.5 goals in total.