|Home Ground||Selhurst Park (26,309)|
|Record Signing||James McArthur (£7m in 2014)|
|Ex Gunners||Jerome Thomas, Dwight Gayle, Marouane Chamakh, Yaya Sanogo (sort of!)|
|Top Scorer||Dwight Gayle (10)|
|Top Assister||Yannick Bolasie (5), Jason Puncheon (5)|
|Most Yellow Cards||Marouane Chamakh (6), Jason Puncheon (6)|
|Star Player||Yannick Bolasie|
|Biggest Liability||Julian Speroni|
STYLE OF PLAY
Palace have quite a record for coming from behind in games to level, even if they don’t always go on to win or even draw – Pardew has got them playing for eachother and it means that they rarely get dominated. They don’t need too much possession, favouring the counter attack as you might expect of a side with pace to burn on the wings and up front, and they typically play relatively long balls, leaving the wingers and whichever of Gayle/Campbell is playing to chase onto them in the channels.
Yannick Bolasie is having something of a standout year – he has certainly overtaken his fellow Barnet alumni Puncheon, and he has found a lot of success with his tricks to complement his pace. Erik Dier had an absolutely torrid time against the winger in Tottenham’s 0-0 before Christmas in a game which Palace more than deserved to take all three points from (they did subsequently take the full points in the reverse fixture in January).
Former Gunner Chamakh will pose a significant aerial threat, with the perfect foil in the shape of former Arsenal youth Dwight Gayle – his pacy runs and excellent finishing complement the Moroccan’s style well. Arsenal must look to push Palace back and ensure that support cannot get forward to support the duo, or overloading counter attacks could prove our undoing.
At the other end of the pitch, there is markedly less pace however. 33 year old Brede Hangeland has somewhat disappeared off the radar since being linked with Arsenal a number of years ago, and now plies his trade at the heart of the Eagles defence. Height is on his side, but he has a habit of overcommitting to challenges on the ground and not always attacking the aerial balls. Certainly the goals of his early career have dried up, and he along with the rest of his defence may struggle faced with the pace of the likes of Alexis and Walcott.
Captain Jedinak’s potential return could through a spanner in the works and provide the Eagles with a more solid platform from which to attack. With doubts over his fitness, Arsenal must look to give him the run around early on and exploit any vulnerabilities
SEASON SO FAR
The season began is somewhat odd fashion for Palace, with Tony Pulis resigning the day before it started citing differences with the chairman. Frankly I like the chairman and indeed Palace all the more for that revelation. Neil Warnock subsequently took up the reigns and had a fairly shaky start to the season.
The first game was of course the reverse of this fixture at the Emirates, and Palace stunned us by taking the lead late in the first half. Luckily Koscielny equalised on the stroke of half time before the Palace boss could reset the game plan, and a late red card for Puncheon and an injury time winner from Ramsey saw us get out of jail.
It took Palace until 21st September to get their first league win – against Everton – and before their second consecutive league win against Leicester six days later, they were already out of the Capital One Cup after a 3-2 extra time defeat to Newcastle, ironically led by Alan Pardew.
Warnock’s results were pretty mixed, with narrow losses to Chelsea and Utd as well as the opening day loss to us, and secured a decent point at Spurs as well as the Leicester and Everton victories. However, the writing was on the wall in the disappointing results against key rivals – draws with Burnley, West Brom and QPR as well as losses to Sunderland, Hull and Aston Villa saw the Palace boss the first Premier League manager to be sacked over the festive period.
Alan Pardew was a somewhat surprise candidate, at least intially, but the former Palace player is a bit more credible than Warnock despite enjoying a good whine and excuse-making session. It’s certainly little surprise that he would want to leave Newcastle where it had reached a point where he would be blamed for the tiniest issue, but even if he had won the Champions League you can’t help but feel the credit would have gone to someone else.
To date, he has presided over five wins and a draw from his first eight games, picking up 10 points from a possible 15 in the league, and knocking Southampton out of the FA Cup before falling to Liverpool in the following round. In the process, the Eagles have risen out of the relegation zone to 13th in the table.
Clearly, then, the new manager is getting the best out of his players and with the crowd behind their team on Saturday this will be a tough game. For added spice, the two managers haven’t exactly always got on well. There are likely to be goals in this one, but scoring first could be the difference needed in this tough fixture. With the Emirates proving something of a fortress in recent months, it’s time to take the show on the road.
Arsenal’s last 5 results against Crystal Palace: DWWWW
|League||16/08/2014||(H)||W 2-1||Arsenal: Koscielny (45) Ramsey (90)Crystal Palace: Hangeland (35)|
|League||02/02/2014||(H)||W 2-0||Arsenal: Oxlade-Chamberlain (47, 73)Crystal Palace: –|
|League||26/10/2013||(A)||W 2-0||Arsenal: Arteta (47 P), Giroud (87)Crystal Palace: –|
|League||14/02/2005||(H)||W 5-1||Arsenal: Bergkamp 32, Reyes 35, Henry 39, Vieira 54, Henry 77Crystal Palace: Johnson (63 P)|
|League||06/11/2004||(A)||D 1-1||Arsenal: Henry (63)Crystal Palace: Riihilahti (65)|
Record for Crystal Palace v Arsenal
Overall record between the two clubs:
Crystal Palace’s last 5 results: WLWDL
|FA Cup||Liverpool||(H)||L 1-2||Campbell|
|FA Cup||Southampton||(A)||W 3-2||Chamakh (2), Sanogo|