Competition: Premier League – Crystal Palace vs. Arsenal
Venue: Selhurst Park – Sunday, August 16 – 13:30 BST (08:30 ET)
Match Odds: Crystal Palace 15/4 – Draw 11/4 – Arsenal 7/10
Palace got off to the perfect start by beating Norwich 3-1 on the opening weekend and will now hope to seal three points in their home opener against Arsenal.
The Gunners didn’t enjoy the first weekend of the new season quite as much. A shock 2-0 defeat at home to West Ham raised early question marks over the side’s chances of challenging for the title and a second straight London derby will see those questions resurface immediately.Embed from Getty Images
Arsene Wenger’s men had a great preseason, capped off by a Community Shield win over Chelsea and so no one foresaw West Ham winning at the Emirates last week. Now they must try and pick back up by winning their first away game of the campaign.
Alexis Sanchez should be fit to start after coming on last time out and he will certainly make Arsenal stronger. Failure to win this one would put Wenger under some early season pressure and the club could do without that before the transfer window has even shut.
Alan Pardew has turned Palace into a fiercely competitive side since taking over at the turn of the year. With three points on the board already, they will have some nerves lifted and will look to enjoy the occasion against the Gunners.Embed from Getty Images
It has been 36 years since Crystal Palace last beat Arsenal at home though, so history would suggest the Eagles have it all to do if they are to keep their 100% record going through two weeks.
The last meeting between the two ended 2-1 to Arsenal at Selhurst Park back in February as goals from Santi Cazorla and Oliver Giroud helped them on their way before a late Glenn Murray consolation.
The Gunners have won each of the last five Premier League clashes between the two and will be favourites to seal all three points, even after their contrasting starts to the campaign.
Julian Speroni, Fraizer Campbell, Kwesi Appiah and Marouane Chamakh are all ruled out for Palace so Alex McCarthy should keep his place in goal. Yannick Bolasie and Jason Puncheon will be pushing to start, though Wilfried Zaha is expected to keep his place in the team after scoring last weekend. Connor Wickham will hope to start in place of Glenn Murray.Embed from Getty Images
Arsenal have two players ruled out as Jack Wilshere and Tomas Rosicky will play no part, while Danny Welbeck remains a doubt but is close to returning. Alexis Sanchez should start, while Wenger has a big choice to make up front as Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud battle for the lone striking role. Hector Bellerin will hope to return to the squad at right-back after Mathieu Debuchy started last week.
Crystal Palace’s form: W
Arsenal’s form: L
Key Stat: Crystal Palace have only beaten Arsenal once in the Premier League era. But that came back in 1994 and it has now been nine games without a league win in this fixture for the Eagles.
Key Player: Yohan Cabaye – Palace’s record signing started life back in the Premier League with a fine display and a goal at Norwich. Expect him to be influential in midfield in his home debut.Embed from Getty Images
Crystal Palace 1-1 Arsenal – Tough to see Arsenal having enough to beat Palace this week, especially after last weekend’s disappointing display. If they play like that again, they’ll lose, but an improved performance is expected. Alan Pardew’s side are hard to beat and should do enough to earn at least a point here in what should be a close contest.