Arsene Wenger versus Alan Pardew has not always been a Premier League classic, with both managers showing more signs of friendship in recent months, Sanogo’s loan the stamping proof.
But when Mark Clattenburg blows the whistle for the game today, you would not be surprised to see that there is no love lost between the two teams. Palace have got themselves something of an arriving saviour in the former West Ham boss and with rumours that he will be using this second managerial stint in a London-based Premier League club to audition for both the Arsenal and England job, Wenger and his boys will have to be up and doing to limit his chances.
They will be hard to beat
Crystal Palace, under Pardew, have become hard to beat as a look through their past games will easily show. They have only lost twice in their last seven games in all competitions by one goal on each occasion. But those defeats came at the hands of visiting ‘superior’ opposition (they beat Spurs though) and having managed to crack through tough set ups in Leicester and Boro, the Gunners should look to employ those same tactics against the Eagles.
The wings are the way to go
And it would prove most effective to get beyond them from the wings. Martin Kelly and Joel Ward are not the League’s most flamboyant full backs neither are they excellent defenders. Alexis, Walcott and Welbeck have the pace and strength to get in behind them and they should be able to feed off the blooming excellencies of the creative diversities of their midfield teammates.
But Chambers and Monreal will have their hands full too
With Bellerin likely to miss out and Gibbs still behind his Spanish competitor, Chambers and Monreal will make up the back four with Per and Kos, while Gabriel continues his English lessons. Chamakh will cause as much trouble as he can to the central pair but it will be the full-backs who should be sure to not sleep on any danger as Bolasie, Zaha and Gayle will be massive treats.
Rampant Arsenal must now be truly RAMPANT
One goal may not win this and the idea of relaxing on a half time two-goal lead may not be advisable this time.
Cazorla and Ozil must be retained
Santi, deep in midfield with Coquelin as Jack is not yet ready while Ozil continues his show as the Number 10.
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