Crystal Palace return to Premier League action this evening as they travel to the Emirates Stadium to take on local rivals Arsenal.
Roy Hodgson has hinted that Palace will ring the changes for tonight’s short trip across the capital in what will be another big game for the Eagles.
Palace defender Mamadou Sakho has a ‘significant’ injury that is expected to sideline him for the foreseeable future, per The Athletic’s Matt Woosnam, so he won’t be featuring.
Despite this setback, Gary Cahill is close to making his return to first-team action in what will be a huge boost for Hodgson and Palace during the busy schedule.
With that in mind, here is Football FanCast’s predicted line-up for tonight’s action, which sees Hodgson make seven changes to the team he selected foe the defeat to Wolves in the FA Cup.
Jack Butland may be chomping at the bit, but we’re backing Vicente Guaita to keep the gloves for Palace this evening, as he has been trusted in goal for every Premier League game this season.
This game may come too soon for Cahill, so we think Cheikhou Kouyate will be given another chance at centre-back; Patrick van Aanholt is a mainstay of Hodgson’s side, with eleven appearances across all competitions this season, and we don’t think Nathaniel Clyne will be risked. It’s likely James Tomkins will also get the nod alongside Kouyate to complete the back four.
In midfield, maybe Jairo Riedewald could have kept his place, but James McArthur has been such a reliable asset for Hodgson, having made 15 top-flight appearances this term, so we reckon the Palace boss will stick with his trusted midfield enforcer.
James McCarthy seems destined for the Selhurst Park exit, so bringing Luka Milivojevic into midfield to join McArthur makes most sense. This means that there will be no room for Riedewald, we think will be forced to settle for a place on the bench instead.
Elsewhere, Eberechi Eze will likely start on the left wing, with Andros Townsend taking up position on the opposite flank as Jeffrey Schlupp remains on the sidelines.
Having been rested for the game against Wolves, Wilfried Zaha is set for a start upfront, with support from Christian Benteke alongside him.
AND in other news, Crystal Palace must avoid signing Fiorentina striker Christian Kouame in January…