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.