Arsenal travel to Crystal Palace on Sunday, less than 72 hours after their game in Lisbon, attempting to maintain their position in the Premier League’s top four.
Arsenal won their 11th consecutive match on Thursday, defeating Sporting Lisbon 1-0 in a closely fought and physical encounter. As a result, we expect Unai Emery to make a number of changes to the side that started the match less than 72 hours before the Gunners’ trip to Selhurst Park.
Arsenal are trying to keep the pressure on the league leaders, just a couple of points ahead at the start of the weekend, whilst also edging in front of the other teams fighting for a Champions League spot. Let’s have a look at the predicted team to start the London derby.
1Goalkeeper and Defence
Petr Cech’s return to full fitness means Unai Emery has a decision to make. However, it would be harsh to drop Bernd Leno after his good run of form in his competitor’s absence, so we expect the German to keep his place for now. There’s a League Cup game in midweek for whichever goalkeeper doesn’t start on Sunday.
Hector Bellerin should return to the starting XI after Stephan Lichtsteiner started against Sporting, and Shkodran Mustafi will reclaim his spot in the centre-back pairing. Nacho Monreal will hopefully be fit to replace Granit Xhaka at left-back, but we might have to wait for a late decision on that one.
It’s a toss-up between Rob Holding and Sokratis Papastathopoulos for the final defensive pick after both performed well in mid-week. Sokratis probably edges it on seniority and that Sporting performance, particularly as Holding has now started six matches in a row for Arsenal.
Click ‘Next’ for Midfield, Forwards and our Full Predicted Starting XI