Arsenal v Crystal Palace - Match Preview, Stats & Team News

To be played on Sunday 2nd February 2014 at 16:00. Venue: Emirates Stadium, London.

Odds: Arsenal 2/9, Draw 11/2, Crystal Palace 16/1

Last season: N/A

Preview & injury news

It will feel a little unfamiliar for Arsenal going into this game having been leading the Premier League table since Boxing Day, and they of course have been top for much of the season before the Christmas period. They have a chance to put the pressure on two of their closest title rivals who play each other a day later so a win would allow them to return to the summit of the Premier League for at least a day as they try to bounce back from their draw away to Southampton - which ended their five match winning run in the league.

Crystal Palace seem to be a pretty confident side at the moment under Tony Pulis having won five and drawn one of their last ten games. Most of their success seems to be coming at Selhurst Park which has allowed them to climb out of the relegation zone which sees them line in 14th place, four points above the relegation zone. 

On the injury front, Arsenal look as though they could be missing three of their key midfielders. Aaron Ramsey has suffered a setback in his bid to recover from a thigh injury, whilst Jack Wilshere is still recovering from an ankle problem. Mathieu Flamini starts his ban for his sending off during the draw against Southampton at St Mary's but Arsenal could welcome back Tomas Rosicky, who has missed the past couple of games with a broken nose.

For Palace defender Danny Gabbidon is a doubt with a knock, Jonathan Parr may have a chance of being available after suffering concussion in the FA Cup game against Wigan Athletic. Jerome Thomas and Kagisho Dikgacoi whilst Glenn Murray isn't too far away from returning from his long-term knee injury.  

Key stats

Here are the two sides' top scorers in the league this season:

Olivier Giroud Arsenal FW 10 21 1,830
Aaron Ramsey Arsenal MF 8 18 1,495
Theo Walcott Arsenal MF 5 13 858
Marouane Chamakh Crystal Palace FW 4 22 1,646
Dwight Gayle Crystal Palace FW 3 18 733
Jason Puncheon Southampton MF 3 20 1,488

 The two sides average possession statistics this season

NamePossession PercentageGames
Arsenal 55.78 23
NamePossession PercentageGames
Crystal Palace 38.87 23

 And how many clean sheets the two teams have managed to keep:

NameClean SheetGames
Arsenal 10 23
NameClean SheetGames
Crystal Palace 7 23

5 players to watch

Mikel Arteta - With Flamini suspended, Arteta will be expected to play the deeper role. It's not a role that is alien to the Spaniard. With Palace looking to take whatever chance they get, concentration will be key for Arteta as he looks to thwart any counter-attack early. 

Marouane Chamakh - Chamakh didn't have the best of times at Arsenal as he failed to hit his stride but he has shown signs that is a dangerous striker under Tony Pulis. Will he come back to haunt his former employers this weekend?

Santi Cazorla - Cazorla has been in pretty impressive form lately and has started finding the net pretty regularly. The Gunners may look to him to provide the goal threat from midfield again with Wilshere and Ramsey absent this weekend.

Mile Jedinak - Jedinak is a classy midfielder who can break up the play and put his foot on the ball to calm the game down for the visitors. He's likely to be under pressure in midfield but his distribution could start any potential counter-attack. A good Jedinak performance could be key for any potential success Palace will have at the Emirates Stadium.

Olivier Giroud - Giroud has been in pretty good form lately by popping up with a couple of crucial goals which have helped keep Arsenal in the mix towards the top of the table, including the winner against Newcastle and the equaliser against Southampton in the week. 

Earlier on in the season

Crystal Palace 0-2 Arsenal - October 2013

It was hard work for Arsenal for a while as managerless Palace were stubborn and resilient for the first half, but their resistance was broken at the start of the second half. Adlene Guedioura fouled Serge Gnabry to which allowed Mikel Arteta to give the Gunners the lead from the penalty spot. Arteta was given his marching orders midway through the second half after he brought down Marouane Chamakh. Despite that Olivier Giroud managed to seal the win when he headed home Aaron Ramsey's cross from close range.  

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