Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Gnarby, Arteta, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Cazorla, Ozil, Giroud
Mathieu Flamini will serve a three-match ban starting this game, therefore Mikel Arteta will start in the middle. Winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain may be deployed in a more central role to replace the injured Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey. Against a very defensive Crystal Palace side, the Flamini suspension could be a blessing in disguise as the Gunners will be deploying much more creative players to break down Tony Pullis’ rigid tactics.
Crystal Palace (4-4-2): Speroni, Mariappa, Gabbidon, Delaney, Moxey, Puncheon, Ward, Jedinak, Bolasie, Jerome, Chamakh
Crystal Palace have been defensively solid of late, managing to only concede four goals in their last six games (only conceding one in their away trip to Man City). They should line up similarly to their 1-0 win over Hull during midweek, with Ward moving up to defensive midfield alongside Jedinak. Marouane Chamakh will also be looking to nick a goal against his former club.
Arsenal’s coming fixture against Crystal Palace is a must win, before what will be a very tough February.
— Haris Strangas (@HarisSTR) January 31, 2014
— Ali Al_tamimi (@allawi_arsenal) January 30, 2014
Come on Giroud! This is arsenal not west ham or crystal palace. You want to be arsenal legend so play like other world class striker.
— Ryuk (@Zaid_Jenkinson) January 31, 2014
A fan commentates during Arteta’s penalty against Crystal Palace earlier this season.
Arsenal’s biggest ever transfer, Mesut Ozil was seen as the extra needed class to make the Gunners title contenders. It proved to be so, with Arsene Wenger’s men firmly in the mix to become champions. With a knack of scoring at home (all four of his EPL goals came at the Emirates), we are backing the “Assist King” to do more than lay the ball off to his team-mates tonight.
Arsenal vs. Crystal Palace: An Alternative Preview
Arsenal have won 14 and lost just one of their last 20 Barclays Premier League games at the Emirates.
Crystal Palace have scored just five goals away from home in the Barclays Premier League, fewer than any other team and never more than once in a single match.
The Gunners have kept six clean sheets in their last seven Premier League games on home soil.
Arsenal have won five and lost none of the last eight meetings with Palace in all competitions.
The Gunners average 1.84 points per game in Premier League London derbies and Palace 0.90 per match. These are the best and worst points returns respectively of any capital clubs.
Arsenal have drawn 99 Premier League games at home in Premier League history.
Crystal Palace head into this matchday in 14th place having scored only 15 goals; the fewest of any side in the Premier League this season so far.
Seven different Arsenal players have scored headed goals this season, more than at any other club.
Arsenal have won 12 and drawn two of their last 14 Premier League games in February.
No player has scored the first goal of a Premier League game on more occasions than Olivier Giroud this season (6).