Crystal Palace vs Arsenal Preview
After Arsenal’s disappointing 2-0 home defeat to West Ham on the opening weekend, Arsene Wenger’s side will be looking to redeem themselves against Alan Pardew’s Crystal Palace. The Eagles earned a convincing 3-1 victory away at newly promoted Norwich City in their curtain raiser and many have touted Palace to be one of the surprise sides in England’s top flight this season.
Petr Cech, who joined the Gunners from archrivals Chelsea earlier this summer, made two key errors to gift the victory to a well organised West Ham side. It is now crucial that Wenger’s men bounce back in true Arsenal fashion and claim their first victory of the season in Sunday’s clash.
The Eagles have come a long way since their promotion to the top flight back in 2013 and are now regarded as an established Premier League side. Since Alan Pardew arrived at the helm, Palace have been one of the deadliest sides in the division and obtain an unrivalled threat on the counter-attack.
Yannick Bolasie, Wilfried Zaha and Jason Puncheon form a three-pronged, speedy attack that is capable of hurting the Premier League’s best defences. Meanwhile, summer signing Yohan Cabaye has settled immediately and grabbed a debut goal in their opening day win. The Eagles have caused problems for England’s best clubs and will continue to trouble sides throughout the duration of the campaign, particularly at Selhurst Park.
The Gunners could recall Chile international Alexis Sanchez to the starting line-up, while Danny Welbeck may also return from a knee injury that has troubled him throughout the offseason. Sanchez featured for his country in their Copa America success earlier this summer and was forced to come on in Arsenal’s opening day defeat as Wenger tried to salvage a draw. This is not an ideal second game for the North London side and although the bookies have them as slight favourites some smart money will be going on Palace and an upset could well be on the cards.
The likes of Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla may drop out of the starting line-up after both players were poor against the Hammers. Ozil has come under scrutiny in recent times and is in desperate need of an impressive performance while Cazorla struggled to shake off West Ham’s 16-year-old star Reece Oxford. It will be interesting to see whether Wenger opts to freshen up the midfield or stick with Cazorla and Ozil.
Despite their opening day defeat , Arsenal will be keen to secure all three points ahead of their clash with Liverpool next week. Sanchez’s return will be welcomed but the likes of Ozil, Cazorla and Ramsey must offer more if the Gunners are to cause serious problems for the Palace defence. Arsenal’s back four must remain solid and cannot alloon and Bolasie to dictate the play. Although it will be tough, I think Arsenal will just edge this 2-1.