Arsenal 0-0 Crystal Palace: Eagles halt Gunners’ winning run

Having won their last three league outings to end a barren spell, the Gunners were unable to find a way past their visitors – who came closest to winning the game through a James Tomkins header which hit the crossbar.

The 0-0 draw means Palace remain unbeaten in their previous five meetings with Arsenal and they stay just a point behind Mikel Arteta’s men.

Arsenal made two changes to the side that won 4-0 at West Brom in their last league outing – both enforced as Kieran Tierney and Pablo Mari were left out as precautions.

The hosts were largely frustrated by a Palace side playing on the counter-attack and on the few occasions they did get in behind, they largely wasted the opportunity.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang shot straight at Vicente Guaita in one moment of promise, while Hector Bellerin managed to take the ball off the foot of team-mate Alexandre Lacazette when the in-form France forward looked poised to strike.

It would be Palace who came closest to breaking the deadlock before the interval – firstly as Eberechi Eze’s deep free-kick was headed against the frame of the goal by Tomkins.

Then Bernd Leno was called into action, making a fine diving stop to keep out Christian Benteke’s effort moments later.

Arsenal were still struggling to unlock a rigid Palace backline after the restart and were restricted to pot-shots on Guiaita’s goal on the few occasions their attacks did not break down.

Arteta responded by introducing club-record signing Nicolas Pepe in place of Ainsley Maitland-Niles, with Bukayo Saka reverting to left-back as a result.

Palace were still a threat on the break and Zaha burst forward only to see his cross towards Eze cleared away by a backtracking Granit Xhaka.

Benteke miscued his header from the resulting corner and James McArthur turned the ball into the grateful grasp of Leno.

Zaha wanted a penalty after going down under pressure from Rob Holding but referee Andre Marriner correctly waved away the protests.

Arsenal suddenly moved up a gear as the game entered the closing stages but never looked like getting the goal to settle the contest and remain 11th in the table as a result.

Premier League: Arsenal v Crystal Palace

Since losing 4-1 to Manchester City before Christmas, Arsenal have won four from four in all competitions, and Mikel Arteta seems to have found a system which has started to produce results for the FA Cup holders.

A back four system has resulted in wins over Chelsea, Brighton, West Brom and Newcastle, with Emile Smith Rowe and Kieran Tierney the standout players in Arsenal’s resurgence. Both should start when Crystal Palace make the trip across London, with the Gunners hoping to move into the top half with a victory.

Speaking of the South London side, Roy Hodgson’s side have won only one of their last six games, beating bottom side Sheffield United in their last Premier League game, before exiting the FA Cup at the hands of Wolves last weekend.

Wilfried Zaha was afforded a partial rest in the defeat, playing only the last 20 minutes – a decision that may well have been influenced by this game. The winger will be central to the Eagles’ chances of getting anything against an Arsenal defence that has kept three consecutive clean sheets.

Palace also have injury worries elsewhere in their squad, with Mamadou Sakho, Martin Kelly, Jeffrey Schlupp, Connor Wickham, Wayne Hennessey and Nathan Ferguson all missing through various ailments.

There’s good news in the shape of Gary Cahill though, as the former Chelsea defender should return after a thigh injury, and Scott Dann could also come back into the squad after a similar issue.

As for Arsenal, Gabriel Martinelli is expected to miss out after turning his ankle in the warm-up of the FA Cup win over Newcastle, despite training in the week, but Thomas Partey and Gabriel should both return to the squad after injuries. Rob Holding, who signed a new contract this week, is available to deputise should the Brazilian defender not make the starting XI.

Arsenal take on Crystal Palace on Thursday, January 14th. Kick-off is at 8pm.

Rob Holding commits future to Arsenal

The centre-back has become a regular under Mikel Arteta this season, playing 18 times in all competitions – the same total he managed throughout the whole of the 2019-20 campaign.

Holding was a key part of the Gunners’ run to the FA Cup final and starred to help them clinch silverware with a 2-1 win over Chelsea on August 1.

“Since I started as manager, I have been hugely impressed with Rob’s contribution to the club and the dressing room, on and off the pitch,” Arteta told the official club website.

“We all know Rob’s quality, which he has shown in his displays during the intense moments of those two FA Cup final victories.

“We are all very happy that Rob has signed a new contract, he is very popular with all the players and staff and we’re looking forward to watching him continue to grow with us in the coming years.”

Since the defender moved to the Emirates from Bolton in the summer of 2016, he has made 96 appearances for the club.

Holding also impressed in the 2017 FA Cup final triumph, again over Chelsea, and has been backed to get even better in the coming years.

Technical director Edu added: “We are very happy to have signed Rob on a new contract extension. He is 25 years old so is still coming into the peak of his career and we are delighted that he’ll be with us during these important years.

“Rob has shown great quality and maturity on and off the pitch in recent months and is developing well. We are looking forward to Rob continuing his progression in the years to come.”

Holding is expected to feature against Crystal Palace on Thursday and while Arsenal are set to be without Gabriel Martinelli for that game, the news on the forward is a lot more positive than expected.

Arteta feared the worst when the 19-year-old suffered an ankle injury in the warm-up before Saturday’s FA Cup tie with Newcastle.

Martinelli was said to be in tears in the medical room, but an update from the club revealed he could return to training as soon as this week.

A statement read: “Gabi has progressed very well and we’re hoping that he will return to full training with the squad in the next few days.”

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta hints at new deal for Holding

The centre-back’s current terms do not expire until the summer of 2023, but the Gunners will reward his impressive form with an improved contract.

Holding could have left the Emirates in the summer with Newcastle among a number of teams chasing his signature, but the move was blocked by his manager and the 25-year-old has gone on to make 18 appearances this term – the same amount he managed last season.

Asked if the current first-choice would extend his stay at Arsenal, Arteta said: “It’s something we will announce as quick as we can and it looks that way.”

Crystal Palace visit on Thursday in the Premier League and Holding is set to line up at the heart of defence while several players could return for the hosts.

Gabriel has missed the last four games after he tested positive for coronavirus, but has recovered and is back in training alongside Thomas Partey, who has not played in a month due to a thigh injury.

Arteta added: “He (Gabriel) tested positive, he had very mild symptoms so he’s missed a few weeks of training because he had to be isolated.

“He’s better now, we expect him to be training with us the next couple of days and we’ll make an assessment whether we can have him or not on Thursday.

“Thomas has been full training for the last four or five days. He’s completely asymptomatic (of his thigh injury). He was a little bit rushed to try to play him against Newcastle, but I think he will be ready for Thursday.”

The Spaniard is still waiting for young forward Gabriel Martinelli to have a scan following an ankle injury sustained in the warm-up ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup win over Newcastle.

After he missed a large chunk of football in 2020 with a knee injury, Arteta is hopeful the result will be positive.

He admitted: “We don’t know how bad it is, he is getting a scan this morning. We didn’t look after the game because he was in a lot of pain.

“Yesterday he tested a little bit better so let’s hope we have a scan today and it is not as serious and we can have Gabi back really soon, but we will know more tomorrow.”

Arteta was unable to provide an update on Mesut Ozil’s future, although the German is due to take part in a Twitter question and answer session later on Monday where he will talk about “the past, present and future”.

“My understanding is nothing has changed from the last press conference, that Edu and the club are having some conversations about the near future and the long-term future and when we know something, we’ll announce it,” the 38-year-old confirmed.

“He has done it in the past, it is something he tried to do to engage with his fans and keep everyone informed. I am not surprised.”

The Arsenal manager also revealed there are no plans for the club to allow Eddie Nketiah to leave this month, but the Gunners are very much in the market for a goalkeeper, the PA news agency reports.

It could be either a loan or short-term deal and if completed could result in Alex Runarsson exiting on loan or reverting to third choice.

Arsenal edge out Newcastle in FA Cup win

The Gunners finally broken their visitors resistance after the 100 minute mark with crucial goals from Emile-Smith Rowe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Arsenal looked bright and breezy in the opening stages with Reiss Nelson and Nicolas Pepe testing Martin Dubravka.

But despite the positive start in North London the game descended into a slug fest after the break with half chances for Willock and Andy Carroll.

The introduction of Smith-Rowe tipped the balance for Arsenal in the extra 30 as the England U20 international superbly fired home.

Newcastle threw the kitchen sink at it in the final minutes but Arsenal wrapped it up in last few seconds as Aubameyang tucked home his first goal in over a month.

Full Time at the Emirates Stadium it’s Arsenal 2 Newcastle 0

Arsenal power past West Brom with 4-0 win at The Hawthorns

The Gunners look set to move up into the top ten in the coming week as a late brace from Alexandre Lacazette put the gloss on a dominant performance in the West Midlands.

Arteta’s team were on the front foot right from the start in this one with Sam Johnstone called into early action to deny Hector Bellerin and Bukayo Saka.

And with all the traffic heading in one direction it was only a matter of time before Arsenal edged ahead as Kieran Tierney netted a superb opener.

The Scotsman raided forward from full back, turned Darnell Furlong one way and then the other and curl home a beauty past Johnstone.

And with The Baggies unable to offer resistance, Saka tucked home a brilliant second.
Lacazette’s delayed pass released Emile Smith-Rowe and his cutback was buried by Saka.

Arsenal kept on coming and coming before the break with more Johnstone keeping the score down as he denied Lacazette and Rob Holding.

And the Arsenal avalanche showed no signs of slowly after the break before Lacazette finally made it three.

Saka was right at the heart of it once again Semi Ajayi deflected his cross onto the post before Lacazette pounced to tuck home.

Arsenal smelt blood in the final stages as Lacazette volleyed home Tierney’ cross for Goal No.4 as Sam Allardyce’s miserable start continues with The Baggies.

Full Time at The Hawthorns it’s West Brom 0 Arsenal 4

Premier League Preview: West Brom v Arsenal

The manager questioned his players’ commitment following the 5-0 home defeat to Leeds on Tuesday and Filip Krovinovic, Matheus Pereira and Branislav Ivanovic could return.

Mikel Arteta’s men meanwhile will take momentum into 2021 after halting a seven-match winless streak with a 3-1 Boxing Day victory over London rivals Chelsea followed by a scrappy 1-0 success at struggling Brighton.

The back-to-back wins have moved the north London club to within six points of the top six and helped quash talk of relegation.

The game kicks off at The Hawthorns at 8 o’clock on Saturday evening.

Premier League Preview: Brighton v Wolves

Midfielder Lallana missed Tuesday’s defeat to Arsenal due to a groin issue, while forward Welbeck was an unused substitute because of a knee problem.

Striker Aaron Connolly (groin) will also be assessed but full-back Tariq Lamptey (hamstring) and midfielder Steven Alzate (illness) remain sidelined.

Leander Dendoncker and Willy Boly remain doubts for the trip to the south coast.

The pair have missed the last three games, including the 1-0 defeat at Manchester United, after picking up injuries in Wolves’ win over Chelsea two weeks ago.

Raul Jimenez remains a long-term absentee after fracturing his skull in November while Jonny (knee) is still sidelined.

Kick off at the Amex is at 5.30 on Saturday.

Mikel Arteta says trimming Arsenal squad is January transfer window priority

The Gunners were able to offload Emiliano Martinez and Henrikh Mkhitaryan on permanent deals in September while a month later Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira departed on loan.

But forgotten man Mesut Ozil remained at the Emirates along with Shkodran Mustafi and Sead Kolasinac, who have barely featured in the Premier League this season.

Arsenal have been linked with a loan move for Real Madrid playmaker Isco next month, but first of all technical director Edu will attempt to raise funds by moving on those who are surplus to requirements.

One player who is not set to depart is attacker Reiss Nelson, despite failing to play for the club since December 3.

It has been a stop-start campaign for the 21-year-old, who has scored once in eight outings for the Gunners this term. Mikeal Arteta confirmed Nelson had a muscular issue which saw him in and out of training, but not 100 per cent fit.

Arsenal secure crucial 1-0 Premier League win at Brighton

The Gunners will now kick off the New Year in 13th place after Alexandre Lacazette secured a vital three points.

Despite showing signs of moving in the right direction in recent weeks, the Gunners were second best in the first half, as Brighton created the better chances.

Alireza Jahanbakhsh’s low drive was the best Graham Potter’s team could muster in the first 45 with Bernd Leno equal to his effort.

Arteta’s side did slowly begin to turn the tide after the break as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang tested Robert Sanchez and Gabriel Martinelli fired over.

And as Arsenal found themselves in the ascendency late on, Lacazette grabbed his chance to put them in front.

Bukayo Saka’s driving run had the Brighton defence on the back foot and Lacazette collected his square ball to fire home.

Neither side were able to create a grandstand finish on the south coast as Arsenal grabbed back to back wins for the first time since the opening day.

Full Time at the Amex Stadium it’s Brighton 0 Arsenal 1

Premier League: Brighton vs Arsenal

The Gunners haven’t won in their last 5 Premier League meetings against Brighton, but, will be hoping to change their fortunes as they look to bounce back from their 7-game winless spell prior to Boxing Day.

Brighton, on the other hand, are in a rut of their own, without a win in their last 6 league fixtures and are still in search of their first home win of the season.

Speaking after the win against Chelsea, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta admitted he felt responsible for his clubs “draining, frustrating and painful” form.

Tomorrow’s fixtures come as the first of a run of games that his side will have identified as winnable or potentially must-win as they face West Brom, Crystal Palace and Newcastle in the following weeks.

The game is an 18:00 pm kick-off at the Amex on Tuesday 29th December.

Premier League: Brighton vs Arsenal

The Gunners haven’t won in their last 5 Premier League meetings against Brighton, but, will be hoping to change their fortunes as they look to bounce back from their 7-game winless spell prior to Boxing Day.

Brighton, on the other hand, are in a rut of their own, without a win in their last 6 league fixtures and are still in search of their first home win of the season.

Speaking after the win against Chelsea, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta admitted he felt responsible for his clubs “draining, frustrating and painful” form.

Tomorrow’s fixtures come as the first of a run of games that his side will have identified as winnable or potentially must-win as they face West Brom, Crystal Palace and Newcastle in the following weeks.

The game is an 18:00 pm kick-off at the Amex on Tuesday 29th December.