Crystal Palace have been on a good run lately and have clawed themselves off the bottom of the table and out of the relegation zone with only one loss in their last 10 matches. After a run of incredibly difficult fixtures to start off the season, the Eagles have picked up points against the teams around them, pushing them away from the dreaded bottom three. Their only loss in their last 10 matches came against Tottenham and now they’ll have to deal with the other north London club, Arsenal.
Since their victory against rivals Tottenham, Arsenal have had a rough couple of weeks. They were painfully unlucky to lose to Manchester United, but then had some poor performances that resulted in dropping points away to Southampton and West Ham United. They had a tight victory over Newcastle United, but then threw away a 3-2 second-half lead over Liverpool on Friday. Considering how tight the race for the Champions League is, the Gunners will have to win matches like this if they want to return to Europe’s Premier competition next season.
Palace will be looking to stop the dangerous Arsenal attack, but they could have some trouble doing so due to some injuries. They’ll be without centre-backs Mamadou Sahko and Damian Delaney as they are both out with long term injuries. They’ll also be without Connor Wickham and they could be without Joel Ward as the fullback is due to have a late fitness test, according to Physioroom.com.
Crystal Palace: Wilfried Zaha
In a team that lacks offensive talent, Zaha is a rare shining light. The Ivorian international leads the team in goals scored and, while he is yet to register an assist, he is third on the team in key passes per 90 minutes, according to Whoscored.com. He is also fourth in the league in completed dribbles per 90 minutes with 4.1 per 90 minutes. His dribbling ability will be vital for Palace as they look to his the Gunners in transition throughout the game.
Arsenal: Mesut Ozil
After a quiet start to the season, Ozil has been involved in nine goals in his past 10 games for Arsenal. It’s been somewhat under the radar, but the German is having a pretty fantastic season. He leads the league in chances created per 90 minutes and has been the chief creator on one of the better offensive teams in the league. The German scored the go-ahead goal against Liverpool and the winning goal against Newcastle and will hope to make the decisive contribution for the third match in a row against Palace.
Palace have been on a good run, but most of those results have come against bottom half teams. Arsenal have struggled lately, but they should still have the quality to score a few goals. While Arsenal’s defense has been a bit leaky this season, it is tough to see Palace scoring more than two goals here maximum.