Arsenal vs Crystal Palace by Luke
Arsenal was much better side than their visitors from West Brom last time out on the Boxing Day, as they completely controlled the ball possession and created much more chances, however only managed to score the winning goal four minutes before the end of the match via Giroud. However, it must be said that the hosts deserved a bigger margin victory without getting into uncertain ending.
With this victory they reacted well on two defeats away from home in previous matches, since the team disappointed against Everton and Mancehster City, suffering two 2:1 losses. In front of own fans the team has three consecutive victories, but also pretty decent 6-2-1 record and will want to continue in the same trend, at least to make themselves with better chances in the Champions League race, currently just a point above fifth placed Tottenham Hotspur.
Home team will be playing in 4-2-3-1 formation with Giroud as central striker, plus Sanchez, Ozil and Iwobi on the position of offensive midfielders. Left back Kieran Gibbs will probably miss this one, meaning that Nacho Monreal returns to the starting lineup. Central defender Shkodran Mustafi is back in training but the match probably comes to soon for him, similar to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott. Aaron Ramsey returned to the first team and is probably an option here. Players like Santi Cazorla, Mathieu Debuchy and Yaya Sanogo continue to be long term absentees.
Crystal Palace, on the other side, comes from their fourth consecutive match without a victory (two draws and two defeats), as the team took only a point in an away game against Watford 1:1 on the Boxing Day. It needs to be said that the game was quite balanced one, but if one of the teams deserved to walk away with a three pointer, that would probably be the visiting side, as the guests didn't look somewhat more threatening.
Players of Crystal Palace took the lead in 26th minute with a goal from Cabaye, missing also a great chance to double up the lead from a penalty kick taken by Benteke just ten minutes later. Hosts were more active side in the repetition, as the visitors tried to waste the time and preserve their net, failing in the end to keep the lead since Deeney equalized in 71st from a penalty kick, with both teams having not much of desire to attack in last ten minutes.
Guests are also set to play in 4-2-3-1 formation with Benteke as their number nine, with Townsend, Puncheon and Zaha s offensive midfielders. Midfielders Joe Ledley and James McArthur are both doubtful for this one. Important central defender Damien Delaney (15/0) is suspended with a one match ban, while injured continue to be goalkeeper Steve Mandanda (9/0), central defender James Tomkins (10/3), left back Pape Souare (3/0), midfielder Bakary Sako (3/0) and forwards Jonathan Benteke (1/0) and Connor Wickham (7/2).
Even though they got a late victory in the previous game, Arsenal is now twelve points behind leaders from Chelsea and can not afford any more slips ups in case they want to catch the team at the top of the table. Crystal Palace are now two points above the botto three and even though they need points badly, I'm affraid that the side already knows that they will be needing to seek for points in soe other matches. The Gunners should be able to get the victory here without getting into problems in the late stage of the game.