Match Preview: Crystal Palace v Arsenal; Last Stop on #PROJECT24
Arsenal return to the pitch tomorrow after a Thursday sojourn to Lisbon where they collected their 11th win in all competitions. Tomorrow they travel only to Selhurst Park to take on Crystal Palace and see if they can extend their run to 12 and finalize their efforts towards #PROJECT24.
What is PROJECT24 you ask? It is a phrase coined by Scott Willis (@oh_that_crap) that summarizes the need for Arsenal to get maximum points from all their league matches after their opening season losses to Manchester City and Chelsea before playing Liverpool, next week.
If Arsenal can not only capture all 3 points from their trip to Palace, they’d extend their run to 12 in a row in all competitions (8 in the league) which would be their longest since 2007.
However, if they are going to do it, they must learn to not be a second half team. In their last 8 matches (again in all competitions) Arsenal have been tied at the half only to come out on fire in the 2nd and take over the match completely. That simply won’t due especially against better teams.
We face off against a Crystal Palace side that has lost its last 3 and they have yet to score a single goal at home. However, they likely feel buoyed by their performance against Everton last week where it wasn’t until the very end that they finally capitulated.
Against Everton they were stubborn and well organized. They played physically and used it to take Everton off their game. They grew into the game and by the 2nd half their counter attack and set pieces agave Hodgson’s team chances to win the match.
Arsenal need to avoid this and jump on Palace early. They need to use the confidence they’ve built up over these last 11 matches to take it to Palace from the first whistle. We simply cannot allow the likes of Wilifred Zaha and company to go into the second half feeling they can get something from the match.
Of course, everyone is waiting for us to falter. We hear daily how “we haven’t played anyone.” While that may be true to a point, you can only play those teams that are scheduled for you. Additionally, those people who say that keep forgetting last year those matches against “nobody teams’ were matches we weren’t winning with any sense of regularity.
While the feel-good factor is high, this is a match you’d have to classify as a must win. November isn’t an easy month for Arsenal. It kicks off against Liverpool who will present a stiff challenge to the Gunners and if they don’t capture all their points from #PROJECT24, it will make it hard to stay in touch with the Champion’s League spot we are targeting for this season.
Still we’re brimming with confidence. We have a team that when it plays to the potential it has, offers a fluid, decisive attack and can open up even the most stubborn of teams. Of course, the worries of our defensive structure still persist. . . so there’s that for us to be concerned about.
Players to Watch:
Arsenal. Mesut Özil. Last week he was given time and space to operate and he tore open Leicester. We’re all looking for more performances like that because as Özil goes, so does Arsenal
Palace. Wilifred Zaha. Speed and power are his game and against our back 4 he’d give even the most ardent Arsenal supporters reason for concern.
Arsenal: Leno; Bellerin, Mustafi, Sokratis, Monreal; Xhaka, Torreira, Özil; Aubameyang, Iwobi, Lacazette (4-2-3-1)
Palace: Hennessey; Van Aanholt, Sakho, Tomkins, Wan-Bissaka; Milivojevic, Kouyate, McArthur, Schlupp; Townsend, Zaha (4-4-2)
Injuries and Suspensions:
Arsenal: Mavropanos (groin), Koscielny (achilles)
Palace: Wickham (calf), Dann (knee), Benteke (knee)
Form: (Last 5)
Goals Scored Per Game Average:
Arsenal: 3.00 (away average)
Palace: 0.00 (home average)
Goals Conceded Per Game Average:
Arsenal: 1.75 (away average)
Palace: 1.25 (home average)
Arsenal: Aubameyang, – 6
Palace: Zaha – 3
What the Manager Says (courtesy Arsenal.com)
When I was in France and in Spain, I would sometimes watch the Premier League and Crystal Palace is a team that doesn’t have a lot of big names in it, like the best teams in the Premier League. But they have very good players and produce very good performances. You watch it and say, ‘These players are very good and they have a very big level to play against the best teams’. Now I am here and I am watching, and I know that Crystal Palace is a very good team with very good players, with a very good coach and a lot of experience in the Premier League. For us, the respect is very big. I think they deserve more points in the Premier League and they deserve to be higher in the table, and for us it’s about having the respect and then preparing well for this match if we are to beat them.
We want to think about the next matches and our improvement comes from not resting in our analysis after we win games. Also, our demands are very high and every day our players work to these demands. We need to continue doing that with a high intensity. We can win if we produce the best performances.
Referee: Martin Atkinson (9M 32Y 0R)
Assistants: Lee Betts, Adam Nunn
Fourth official: David Coote
UK: Sky Sports 13.30 GMT
US: NBC Sports Network/Telemundo 9:30 AM EST
Match Facts: (Courtesy BBC.co.uk)
- Crystal Palace have lost nine of their last 11 Premier League matches against Arsenal, including both games in 2017-18.
- Arsenal’s only defeat in their past nine away league visits to Selhurst Park was a 3-0 loss in April 2017.
- There have been 13 goals scored in the past three league meetings.
- Arsenal could win 12 successive matches in all competitions for the first time since October 2007.
- They are vying for eight league wins in a row for the first time since February to April 2015.
- The Gunners have scored a league-high 12 away goals.
- Unai Emery’s side have scored a league-high 16 second-half goals – 23 of their 33 goals in all competitions this season have been scored in the second half (70%).
- Arsenal have won more points (437) and averaged more points per game (1.81) in Premier League London derbies than any other team.
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been directly involved in 21 goals in 22 Premier League appearances, with 16 goals and five assists.
Palace 1 – 3 Arsenal