Arsenal today welcome fellow Londoners Crystal Palace to the Emirates. Arsenal head into this tie hope to pick up an assuring 3 points to take them closer to their rivals Tottenham. Crystal Palace really have nothing to play for, with Alan Pardew this week claiming his side were clear of any signs of relegation. They currently sit in 16th place with 38 points, 8 points clear of the drop. This game on paper certainly looks to be a fairly straight forward Arsenal win, although anything is possible in the world of football.
If you think Arsenal have had a poor turn of the year this season, you wouldn’t be wrong, but Crystal Palace have had the WORST of all teams in the top tier of England. The Eagles have only taken 7 points in league football since the new year, 1 point less than recently relegated side Aston Villa. Arsenal, with their relatively poor 2016, have amassed 20 points this year, compared to their 39 points before the bells. However, there’s still 24 points to play for. Arsenal may be setting their sights upon Spurs 6 points above, but must be wary of Manchester United in 5th, now just within 3 points reach of the Gunners. Last week ended in bitter disappointment with the 3-3 draw at Upton Park, and with a similar squad available for the Gunners they’ll look to set the record straight.
Despite the Eagles record this year, they are surprisingly, or unsurprisingly, 3 games without defeat now. Draws to Everton and West Ham and a narrow win over struggling side Norwich do show an improvement for the side. This was also the first time Palace have kept back to back clean sheets since December. A win for Palace would definitely diminish any talk of relegation, so there is some incentive for the Eagles to perform.
Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Özil will be out to kill this afternoon, with Sanchez on a brilliant surge of form, the first we have seen since his return. But we should not forget the ever so impressive Alex Iwobi, who looks to have cemented his spot down in this team as his performances continue to elevate beyond expectations.
“For everybody it is tight, and we have to look behind us because everybody is chasing. There can still be twists and turns until the end and everyone is fighting to put teams in front of us under pressure.”
“We need a strong run at home now and I think that is what we want to do. It is perceived that the championship is over but I don’t think that completely even if Leicester are in a strong position. I think we have to continue to fight until the last minute of the season.”
“Crystal Palace should now be completely safe but they still might need one or two points. I think they have nearly got out of their relegation problems.”
“They have a lot of potential offensively with individuals like Bolasie, Zaha, and Adebayor. They have a big offensive force. We need to rectify the fact we conceded goals at West Ham and come back strong defensively.”