Arsenal v Crystal Palace

Troy Deeney's penalty denied Sam Allardyce a victory in his first game as Crystal Palace manager.



Troy Deeney’s penalty denied Sam Allardyce a victory in his first game as Crystal Palace manager.

TEAM NEWS

Theo Walcott is expected to miss a second successive match for Arsenal with a minor calf problem.

However, Shkodran Mustafi is available following a hamstring injury, while Danny Welbeck is getting closer to a return after a long-term knee problem.

Crystal Palace will be without defender Damien Delaney as he is serving a one-match suspension.

Manager Sam Allardyce says James McArthur, Joe Ledley and James Tomkins have an outside chance of being fit.

MOTD COMMENTATOR’S NOTES

Jonathan Pearce: “If Arsenal are to overhaul Chelsea in the title race, they’ll realistically need to go to Stamford Bridge on 4 February on the back of six straight wins.

“The victory over West Brom was laboured. This must be a more comfortable win to calm anxiety. Bournemouth, Swansea, Burnley and Watford must also be dispatched in January.

“They need Alexis Sanchez to run the Eagles ragged with his clever movement.

“Palace will improve under Sam Allardyce. Again, an individual error cost them at Watford. Sam will cut those out.

“But recovery will be gradual and I can’t see them getting anything at a ground where they’ve never won.”

WHAT THE MANAGERS SAY

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger: “The level of confidence or the level of urgency always goes a bit up when a new manager comes in, of course. That makes the game more difficult.

“When you look at their squad, it’s a talented squad, because they have potential going forward, they are quick on the break and they are very versatile.”

Crystal Palace manager Sam Allardyce: “Defensively we need to be a little better when we’re out of possession. We have to defend as a team.

“We looked more resilient at Watford. It looks like we can get back to that. The creative side was pretty good – we can improve a bit.”

LAWRO’S PREDICTION

It will take time for Sam Allardyce to have an effect. I think the Eagles’ improvement will be a gradual process, and all their players will get feedback from their manager along the way.

It is hard to see them getting anything against Arsenal, who were not at their best against West Brom last time out, but still found a way to win.

Prediction: 2-0

Lawro’s full predictions v hip hop duo Run The Jewels

  • Think you can do better than Lawro? Predict the score for this match and the rest of this round’s Premier League fixtures in our Predictor game
Only three of Alexis Sanchez's 12 PL goals this season have been scored at home<!–

MATCH FACTS

Head-to-head

  • Arsenal have won eight of their last 11 Premier League games against Crystal Palace, drawing the other three.
  • The Eagle’s only Premier League win against Arsenal came in October 1994 at Highbury, with John Salako scoring twice in a 2-1 victory.

Arsenal

  • Arsenal are unbeaten in their last eight league matches at home (W6, D2).
  • If the Gunners win, they will reach 40 points at the halfway stage of the season. They have achieved this only once in their last six campaigns (42 in 2013-14).
  • Alexis Sanchez has been directly involved in 18 goals this season (12 goals, six assists), a joint-league high along with Chelsea’s Diego Costa (13 goals, 5 assists).
  • Olivier Giroud has scored five goals in his last three league starts.

Crystal Palace

  • Crystal Palace have won just one of their last 12 league games (D3, L8).
  • The Eagles lost 22 league matches in 2016, a joint-high in the top five European leagues along with Palermo. Palace played two fewer league fixtures in 2016 than the Italians.
  • They haven’t kept a clean sheet away from home in the league since 26 December 2015 (19 matches).
  • Sam Allardyce has never won a Premier League away game at Arsenal, drawing three and losing nine of 12 games – and he has lost each of his last seven.
  • Christian Benteke has scored in six of his eight away league appearances for Palace.

SAM (Sports Analytics Machine) is a super-computer created by @ProfIanMcHale at the University of Salford that is used to predict the outcome of football matches.

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