Arsenal will focus on the Premier League title chase after their European heartbreak as they host Crystal Palace at the Emirates.
After the Europa League elimination, Mikel Arteta will look for a big response from his Arsenal team against Crystal Palace on Sunday. Sporting CP ousted the Gunners at the Emirates on penalties. Granit Xhaka opened the scoring before Pedro Goncalves’s audacious strike from distance put the visitors level.
The game stretched and went to extra time, then a penalty shootout. Gabriel Martinelli missed Arsenal’s penalty as the Gunners suffered yet another exit from the Europa League. In the aftermath of the defeat, Arteta insisted his team have 11 finals now, as they can now wholly focus on the Premier League title race.
💬 "It’s done now, we can’t think too much about it, we have to move forward and we have a new game on Sunday and we just have to be ready for that one now." pic.twitter.com/R7UXPwD9G0
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) March 16, 2023
The Gunners were too good for Fulham last weekend, thumping their London rivals through three first-half goals. That was their fifth straight win in the league, as they maintained a five-point lead. With Manchester City playing in the FA Cup, a win over Crystal Palace could allow Arsenal to go eight points clear at the top before the next matchday in April.
As Arsenal continue their journey at the summit, Crystal Palace are in danger of dropping into a relegation dogfight. With the Eagles struggling for form, they have not found their first win of 2023. The quest has cost Patrick Vieira his job at the helm after Palace sacked the Frenchman on Friday.
Paddy McCarthy, their Under-21 manager, will take temporary charge of the team ahead of their visit to the Emirates. As for Vieira, it has been a terrible run of games, although many of those fixtures were tough by their standards.
The slender defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion was the final nail in the coffin for Vieira. The club’s board will hope for a positive outcome to the saga, as they will look to appoint a new manager during the international break. The Eagles are 12th but only three points away from the danger zone for now. A defeat at Arsenal will pin them into the relegation conversation.
Team News & Tactics
The Sporting CP loss also came at the cost of key personnel. Arsenal lost Takehiro Tomiyasu to a suspected knee injury, and the signs are not good, considering he left the Emirates on crutches. Shortly after the Japanese international departed, William Saliba hobbled off with what seemed like a back problem.
9'—Tomiyasu subbed off
21'—Saliba subbed off
Two injuries to Arsenal's back line 🤕 pic.twitter.com/HUP9tebcmm
— B/R Football (@brfootball) March 16, 2023
The Frenchman’s injury will be assessed before the game, and only then will Mikel Arteta decide. Meanwhile, Eddie Nketiah remains on the comeback trail after missing the last few games with an ankle problem. He will probably rejoin the group after the international break.
Other than that, Arsenal have no more fitness concerns, and Arteta could revert to his preferred starting eleven. If Saliba is deemed unfit, Rob Holding is best placed to replace him. Meanwhile, Thomas Partey and Martin Odegaard could return in midfield.
Leandro Trossard and Bukayo Saka are primed to start against Palace, with Martinelli completing the front three. Gabriel Jesus could remain on the bench despite starting in midweek as Arteta remains cautious over his full fitness. The Brazilian could become a regular starter after the international break.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Ramsdale; Ben White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Odegaard, Partey, Xhaka; Saka, Trossard, Martinelli
Paddy McCarthy had positive news regarding the fitness of James McArthur and Will Hughes. The duo has trained, having missed the last two games against Manchester City and Brighton. It will boost Crystal Palace, considering Albert Sambi Lokonga cannot play against Arsenal, his parent club.
Crystal Palace Football Club can confirm that Patrick Vieira has left his post as First Team Manager.#CPFC
— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) March 17, 2023
With Vicente Guaita a significant doubt again, McCarthy could let 19-year-old Joe Whitworth keep his place between the sticks after an impressive performance against Brighton midweek. Meanwhile, Cheick Doucoure could count himself lucky in that game after escaping a second yellow, as had that happened, he would have been a big miss at the Emirates.
McCarthy could revert to a 4-3-3 attacking style and possibly change their midfield. There should be no new faces to the backline from the Brighton game. But Luka Milivojevic could replace Lokonga in midfield. Doucoure and Jeffrey Schlupp will keep their spots.
Up front, Wilfried Zaha, steadily returning to his usual form, will start on the left-hand side of the attack. Odsonne Edouard could lead the line for Palace, with Michael Olise moving to the right side to replace Jordan Ayew.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Whitworth; Clyne, Andersen, Guehi, Mitchell; Milivojevic, Doucoure, Schlupp; Olise, Edouard, Zaha
- Arsenal have drawn their last three home matches against Crystal Palace in all competitions.
- Arsenal have won their last five matches in the Premier League.
- Only Arsenal (15) have recovered more points from losing positions this season than Crystal Palace (14).
- In the last 12 Premier League meetings between Arsenal and Crystal Palace, the Gunners have scored 21 times, and the Eagles have netted 20.
- Crystal Palace are winless in 2023.
Player to Watch
Comforting Martinelli after his penalty miss. Fair play Lahoz! pic.twitter.com/PWuRXhiq5X
— AfcVIP⁴⁹ (@VipArsenal) March 17, 2023
There were plenty of talking points from Arsenal’s last two games. At the weekend, Leandro Trossard grabbed headlines with his hat-trick of assists. But Martinelli became the subject on Thursday following his miss in the penalty shootout against Sporting CP.
Many have already positively compared that to Bukayo Saka’s miss at the UEFA Euro 2020 final, with suggestions that Martinelli could bounce back similarly. Arsenal’s top scorer will have a brilliant chance to redeem himself with a stellar performance against Crystal Palace, against whom he scored on the opening matchday.
Arsenal 2-0 Crystal Palace
The big problem for Crystal Palace under Patrick Vieira was their lack of goals. Despite having a host of stellar attackers, the Eagles have found it tough netting chances, and that trend may continue at the Emirates. On the other hand, Arsenal have been in fluid form in the final third, which may hurt Palace.
The Gunners will look for a big response to their midweek disappointment and could probably put Palace to the sword. More than anything, Arteta will be eager for a response and to go eight points clear at the top. Expect Arsenal to take three points and Aaron Ramsdale to keep a clean sheet.
Arsenal 2_1 on Sundays match