Crystal Palace face Arsenal in the English Premier League on Monday night. The Eagles won 1-0 in their opening match whilst Mikel Arteta’s side beat Nottingham Forest 2-1. The Gunners have won just once in five away league matches whilst Roy Hodgson has Palace unbeaten in five at Selhurst Park (WDWWD).
Crystal Palace Form
Palace were on a run of no wins in 12 matches last season when the club brought back Roy Hodgson. His impact was immediate and quickly secured The Eagles’ top flight status. Wins against Leicester, Leeds and Southampton ended relegation fears. A dip followed as they went DLWL with three blanks fired.
The veteran coach refocused his side after that to beat Bournemouth 2-0 at home and to fight back from losing positions to draw at Fulham (2-2) and at home to Nottingham Forest (1-1) on the final day of the season. This season began with a dominant performance with 68% possession and 24 shots to win 1-0 at Sheffield United.
Crystal Palace Team News
Roy Hodgson has three injuries to navigate. Will Hughes was injured in the preseason and is ruled out. Michael Olise will be out for a while longer on the wing. Newly signed Brazilian forward Franca is also unavailable.
Jefferson Lerma made his debut last week in a strong midfield alongside Cheick Doucoure. The starting XI is set to be unchanged from the Sheffield United win where Hodgson only made one substitution. Andre Ayew and Jeffrey Schlupp will play down the wings.
Crystal Palace Motivation
Palace will be eager to start the season with a win in front of their fans. They dominated the ball against The Blades and Hodgson is no longer playing very defensively.
The issue for Crystal Palace is their lack of attacking depth. If they trail in matches, they may not have the firepower to come back.
The Gunners arguably threw away the title last season. Three successive draws saw six points cut off their eight-point lead with 29 matches played. A 4-1 thumping at Man City followed and Arsenal’s title challenge was on life support after four rounds of dropped points. A couple of wins followed in strong displays, 3-1 at home to Chelsea and especially a 2-0 win at Newcastle.
The last season ended curiously. A 3-0 home loss to Brighton saw them outclassed before being outfought in a 1-0 loss at Nottingham Forest. They thumped Wolves 5-0 on the final day in an inconsequential match. This match began by beating Man City on penalties in the Community Shield. The opening league match brought a 2-1 home win against Forest. However, 78% possession produced just 0.83 xG, and no ‘big chances’ were created.
Man City Team News
Gabriel Jesus is out for another month after knee surgery. The big blow was a long-term knee injury for Jurrien Timber on his debut last week. Gabriel is set to return to the XI in his place. Mikel Arteta could continue with Thomas Partey in a right-back/defensive midfielder hybrid role.
Further forward, Eddie Nketiah has earned another start. Kai Havertz is set to play as the left-sided number eight once again. Oleksandr Zinchenko is back in training and could be named on the bench.
Man City Motivation
The Gunners will see every game as a must-win, knowing how many points it would take to overhaul Man City this season.
Arsenal will play to dominate possession with Partey creating an overload in midfield. The first goal could be key in this match.
Arsenal have won just 1 of their last 5 away Premier League matches
Arsenal have leaked 18 goals in their last 11 matches
There have been over 2.5 goals in 13 of Arsenal’s last 15 EPL games
Palace have lost just once in 10 home EPL matches (won 3, drew 6)
Crystal Palace’s last 13 home matches have Both Teams Scoring on just 5 occasions
This looks set to be a tight match. Palace’s strong midfield could cause problems for Arsenal to play through. If the Gunners score first, they should be able to keep a clean sheet with the hosts lacking some impact substitute options.