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Preview: Arsenal v Palace, team news, Ramsey to start + prediction

By on December 31, 2016

aaron ramsey arsenal

Arsenal desperately need a win to cling on to any faint hopes of winning the Premier League title when we welcome Crystal Palace to the Emirates on New Year’s Day.

A late header from Olivier Giroud ensured we got back to winning ways against West Brom on Boxing Day following successive defeats at Everton and Manchester City.

But with all of our closest rivals also winning, it’s as you were at the top meaning we’re still fourth in the table but we now trail leaders Chelsea by 12 points after they beat Stoke today.

Therefore, we simply have to beat Palace to retain any hopes of winning the title while we can also take advantage of Liverpool and Man City playing each other this evening.

However, Palace will no doubt be a different proposition than they were a couple of weeks ago after Sam Allardyce replaced Alan Pardew as manager last week and he got his tenure off to a solid start with a 1-1 draw at Watford.

Team News

Mustafi makes his return from a three-game absence after recovering from a hamstring injury and the German international should replace Gabriel at the back.

Monreal will also get a recall at left-back as Gibbs has been ruled out with a knee injury that forced him off against West Brom last Monday.

Oxlade-Chamberlain is back in contention after shaking off a minor hamstring injury but Theo Walcott has been ruled out after failing to recover from a calf problem.

Welbeck and Mertesacker are progressing well in training but neither player is ready to return to the squad just yet while Cazorla won’t be back until at least February following ankle surgery.

As for Palace, they’ll be without the suspended Delaney but Tomkins is back in the squad along with McArthur and Ledley. Wickham, Sako, Souare and Mandana remain out with long-term injuries.

Preferred Line-Up

The back five picks itself but I’m going to once again call for Wenger to play Ramsey alongside Xhaka in the middle of the park. The Xhaka/Coquelin combination doesn’t work for me so I’d love to see Rambo given a run alongside Granit while Cazorla is out.

I also think Giroud should retain his place up front as his physical presence will be important at both ends of the pitch against Palace while The Ox should start out wide if fully fit as we lacked pace against West Brom last time out.

This would be my line-up:

Prediction

We all know Allardyce is going to set-up much like West Brom did with plenty of bodies behind the ball looking to stifle us. However, Palace do actually have some decent attacking players so hopefully they’ll be a bit more adventurous which should leave more space for us to work in.

As long as we can keep the likes of Benteke, Townsend and Zaha quiet we should be able to put a couple past them at the other end. I’m going for Arsenal 2-0 Palace

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2 Comments

  1. Pingback: Arsenal Fanatik » Preview: Arsenal v Palace, team news, Ramsey to start + prediction

  2. Me

    December 31, 2016 at 6:10 pm

    Nothing more than a friendly match is it.
    Nothing to play for except the fight for fourth place which I would rather not bother with. Perhaps failure to qualify for the CL would mean the end of Wenger..

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