This year’s holiday season has been a bit strange in the Premier League, especially for the Gunners. Unlike normal, the team is not playing on Boxing Day, instead will have to wait all the way until Thursday for their next match. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about the team getting six days of rest at a time in the season when they are usually playing every three days, but seriously, these Thursday games are not easy to get used to. Let’s take a moment to preview the game, against Crystal Palace, for you to digest along with those Christmas left-overs!
Midweek Musings: Palace Preview
For most of the year, our boys have avoided the treatment table like the plague, but have recently fallen victim to some knocks. Aaron Ramsey has been out for almost two weeks, and the last update Wenger gave was that he would be out probably until the new year.
Joining him on the sidelines is Olivier Giroud, who picked up a similar hamstring injury against West Ham in the Carabao Cup quarterfinal. Wenger, in his pre-match press conference, told the media that the striker will be gone for 4-6 weeks.
Francis Coquelin also went off late that match, but the boss has confirmed that the midfielder’s injury is not serious, and he might even be back in training as of the time of writing.
Meanwhile, much to the chagrin of Gooners worldwide, Nacho Monreal went off injured against Liverpool on Friday, and our man Arsene tells us he is out for about ten or so days.
With Mustafi back in the lineup, the team will be able to recover quickly, but there is a worry that without our most consistent defender (so far this year) it will be difficult to cope.
Crystal Palace Preview
Arsenal’s opponents spent most of this year languishing in the relegation zone and famously went two months without a goal in the League to start the campaign. Such poor results lead to the dismissal of Frank De Boer, and fears that the Eagles would not make it out of the relegation zone at all this season.
However, ever since the veteran manager Roy Hodgson took over, Palace have seen a resurgence in form, and are sitting (relatively) pretty in 16th place in the table, at least before Tuesday’s matches.
In fact, they have not lost a league match since losing to some club named after potatoes on November 5th. In the 8 games since the loss at Wembley, the Eagles have won 3 games and drawn the other 5, totaling 14 points.
Seems like typical luck for the good guys; finally get to face a seemingly-relegation-bound team, and they’ve only gone and dragged themselves out of the drop zone. Still, with only dropping points in one of ten home games in the league, Arsenal will be the definitive favorites.
Les Boss seems to have fully reverted to a back four system for the past couple of weeks, not deploying a back three since the draw with Southampton. Despite the relatively good results against the other Big Six teams, a change to a four at the back has, on the balance of the season, been more successful.
So, especially with the team named at the Emirates on Friday, we should expect more of the same from our man Arsene.
Possible Starting XI
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