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.

Ten-man Aston Villa prove too strong for Crystal Palace

Palace nearly made the perfect start when Wilfried Zaha was played clean through, catching Tyrone Mings on his heels, but Villa goalkeeper Emi Martinez was equal to the attempt.

The hosts then took the lead only five minutes in, when Bertrand Traore played in Ollie Watkins down the right and was on hand to thump the ball into the net after Vicente Guaita parried Watkins’ shot into the middle of the box.

Villa were then, however, reduced to 10-men when Mings stuck out an arm to block Zaha and was shown a second yellow on the stroke of half time.

Despite their numerical disadvantage, Villa continued to enjoy the better of the game in the second half.

And the second goal that arrived in the 66th minute was no more than they deserved. Palace failed to defend an El Ghazi free-kick, Watkins headed against the crossbar and Hause followed up to score his second Premier League goal for Villa.

With Palace forced to commit more men forward, Villa looked even more dangerous, and, after Watkins saw a shot blocked, he teed-up El Ghazi for his fourth goal in four games.

The result lifted Villa into the Premier League’s top six – for a few hours at least – while Palace have now conceded 10 goals in two matches after last weekend’s hammering by Liverpool.

Burnley 1-0 Crystal Palace: Turf Moor a happy place again as Clarets grab first win of Premier League season

The Eagles’ performance on the night suggested they were a side that lacked a cutting edge in Wilfried Zaha’s absence.

Palace manager Roy Hodgson revealed Zaha had been ruled out of the Turf Moor trip after testing positive for coronavirus and although they created enough chances to claim a point, it was clear they missed their talisman.

The decisive moment of the game came as early as the eighth minute when Wood found the back of the net after being put through by strike partner Jay Rodriguez, making his first league start in two months, as the Clarets won 1-0.

Burnley came into this fixture as the division’s lowest scorers and this was only their fourth goal in eight matches – and first in five games – but it was enough to move them out of the relegation zone.

Johann Berg Gudmundsson clattered the crossbar on his 100th Premier League appearance, which meant Burnley were hanging on as full-time approached.

But Nick Pope saved brilliantly from Michy Batshuayi – Zaha’s replacement – and substitute Christian Benteke in the second half to ensure the Clarets claimed their first league win since July 18.

Pope was called into action inside the first 90 seconds, his palms stung by Nathaniel Clyne’s effort from distance but Burnley then ended their long goalless stretch, scoring at home for the first time in the league this season.

Gudmundsson directed a hopeful ball towards the area but off-balance Palace defender Cheikhou Kouyate headed into the path of Rodriguez, whose clever backheel allowed Wood to steal in and slot home.

Palace responded well to going behind with Batshuayi making life difficult for the hosts, only just failing to get a final touch when the ball was rolled along the six-yard area by James McArthur.

After Burnley’s defenders sat back Batshuayi’s shot only just missed Pope’s right hand post while the goalkeeper had to be alert as he tipped over a curling and dipping effort from distance from Andros Townsend.

Pope’s opposite number Vicente Guaita was perhaps a touch fortunate a mistimed punch from an innocuous Dwight McNeil corner did not end up in the back of the net as the Clarets ended the half firmly on top.

Burnley boss Sean Dyche was left fuming on the touchline after a clumsy challenge by Kouyate prevented Rodriguez going clean through and went unpunished, but replays showed the coming together took place just outside the area.

It was nevertheless an encouraging start to the second half for Burnley and Gudmundsson should have doubled their lead when McNeil picked out his team-mate in plenty of space but a first-time effort cannoned back off the crossbar.

They were given a major let-off on the hour as an errant McNeil backpass put Batshuayi one-on-one with Pope, who was off his line quickly and was helped by the on-loan Chelsea striker scuffing his shot straight at him.

It was becoming an end-to-end affair and Guaita did brilliantly to palm away a Wood header after Kouyate had been unable to intercept an Ashley Westwood dink into the area.

As the game headed into added-on time, Benteke was denied from point-blank range by a left arm from a spread-eagled Pope and the Palace substitute then spurned another opportunity after taking a bad touch when put through.

That allowed James Tarkowski to nip in and snuff out the danger, enabling Burnley to celebrate an overdue victory.

Brighton secure late 1-1 Premier League draw at Crystal Palace

Wilf Zaha’s first half penalty looked to have decided a dull M23 derby, but Alexis MacAllister’s late strike nicked a valuable point for the Seagulls.

Neither side were to create much too in scrappy opening quarter with Brighton working hard to keep dangerman Zaha off the ball.

But despite managing to shackle him in open play, there was nothing the visitors could do to stop him scoring from the spot on 17 minutes.

Tariq Lamptey nudged over Michy Batshuayi inside the box and the Ivory Coast international calmly tucked past Mat Ryan.

That setback disrupted Brighton’s confidence with Neil Maupay wasting a pair of half chances either side of the break.

With Graham Potter’s side struggling to breakthrough Palace’s military style defence they needing a late slice of luck.

Palace defender Joel Ward gifted possession to Maupay inside the box and he squared for substitute MacAllister to force home.

Brighton’s late rally was almost undone by a red card for skipper Lewis Dunk but in the end Potter’s visitors just held out.

FULL TIME AT SELHURST PARK IT’S CRYSTAL PALACE 1 BRIGHTON 1

Honours even between Batshuayi and Zaha on international stage

Zaha’s Ivory Coast played Batshuayi’s Belgium, with both players featuring heavily in the 1-1 draw.

Belgium are currently ranked as the best International side in the world according to FIFA, and the Red Devils took the lead on 53 minutes through Batshuayi.

Ivory Coast would find a route back in to the game through Zaha though, who was fouled in the box before Franck Kessie converted the resulting spot kick.

Christian Benteke also played as he replaced goalscorer Batshuayi in the 68th-minute for Belgium, taking the captain’s armband in doing so.