Arsenal v Palace Preview: Three Months Wait is Over, Our Strongest Attack is Back

A bullsh*t final (19/03/23) – Crystal Palace game preview

The purpose of these post is a pre-game analysis, so I’m not supposed to say (much) about our recent elimination from the Europa League. So I will be brief – albeit many of you know that is mission impossible for me.

We lost games this season. Fortunately not too many – 6 altogether – and we did that with the A+ team (Saka, Martinelli, Ode – against Manchester United or Everton), the A- team (with Trossard, Nketiah, Jorginho – against Man City 2x and Sporting), and with our B team (Hein, Soares, Elneny, Lokonga, Vieira, Marquinhos, Holding, Tomi) against Brighton and PSV. So it happens. Not particularly big deals. It’s unpleasant, but we have to move on.

What we shouldn’t do is to create false explanations to justify those. And there are 2 untrue excuses going around in Arsenal communities. First, that our squad is too thin to fight in 2 competitions. Firstly it’s not. We have capable backup-guys (maybe apart from Kiwior and Vieira, who still have to prove themselves) in every position. We shouldn’t confuse Tierney, Jorginho, Tomiyasu, Trossard or Smith-Rowe with our earlier generation of squad players like Sokratis, Coquelin, Kolasinac or Willock. And we did quite alright until this Thursday – albeit there is not much to be proud of in our domestic cup runs – plus we’ll practically have the same squad (+ Rice/Caiceido/SMS/Neves) to stand strong in the PL, the CL and the cups next season. It is deep enough – if we can keep the majority fit. Secondly, don’t fool ourselves that Arteta didn’t want to win the tie. If he wouldn’t, then Turner, Tierney, ESR, Holding and Kiwior would have started, and the first 4 penalties wouldn’t have been taken by our best attacking players. We tried and we failed, fair and square.

With that said, let’s forget the narrative that we have 11 finals left to play. We have negligible chance to win them all, and apart from our sure loss in the Etihad we will likely lose points against Liverpool, Chelsea and Newcastle. We have to do our very best – and hope that City will lose points in the same fashion – but the boys are doing their best on a constant basis anyway, regardless of the league position or our exposure in other competitions.

So I wouldn’t talk about finals – at least before 29/04. And definitely not on hosting Crystal Palace. We defeated them on the road in the first round, and we became better while they are sinking at the moment (they are sitting at the bottom of the form-table based on the last 12 games). This and the home support should result in a comfortable win: my prediction Arsenal 4 – 0 Crystal Palace.

Obviously, that doesn’t mean that we should take this game lightly. That would be unsportsmanlike, and probably counter-intuitive, as the boys have to demonstrate that the Sporting-fiasco was merely a glitch, and they are in full control again. Joachim Andersen is their best player this season, but despite his height and passing confidence, he is no real threat to Ramsdale, as he scored only a single goal in the last 1.6 season. And this is their Achilles-tendon: they seem to struggle creating dangerous situation in the opponent’s box. Zaha is Palace’s top scorer with 6, while Olise and Eze are capable of creating some chances. But if we manage to neutralize the trio, then we are in for another clean sheet, even though Arsenal is famous for individual errors; one of the few weaknesses Arteta couldn’t get rid of our portfolio yet. Which happened in almost all our defeats this season, but this should be a topic of a different post.

Supporting their impotent attack they have a quite capable defensive line. In their last 10 games they conceded a mere 9 goals, and only Manchester United managed to hit them twice. Andersen’s merits were already mentioned, however I think Guehi is a perfectly average defender. Doucouré is a hardcore DM, but the Malian is a card magnet, and will likely get booked today, too. But their major concern should be the goalkeeper, as Johnstone is out on a long-term injury, and Guaita is doubtful; so there is some chance that 19-year-old Joe Whitworth will stand between the sticks again – hence is my prediction of such a confident victory. And the lack of Patrick Vieira.

Because I almost forget to mention, that after the winless streak of 11 games – their last victory happened in 2022 the longest such run in the PL – the club fired Arsenal’s former legend from the bridge. It may have seemed more logical to make a call on the manager’s position after this game during the upcoming international break, but Palace are potentially sparing Vieira further embarrassment in this incredibly difficult fixture. Anyway, as far as I know they didn’t appoint a successor yet, so hopefully the Sean Dyche effect will not apply today. That should give the boys some confidence, but we have won our last 5 PL games, so the odds are on our side big time.

That’s undisputed, even though our last 3 meetings with CP in the Emirates all ended draws. But it is history, and in the current season Arsenal have picked up 32 points in the Emirates, only City (34) have picked up more on home soil in the league this PL campaign. Crystal Palace have only scored nine goals away from home in the league this season, only three teams have scored fewer – I expect to see little to no pressure on the Holding-Gabriel partnership.

By the way, line-up. The team had some unfortunate injuries, so I expect White going back to RB and Holding retaining his role from Thursday. Party and Xhaka should be our main engine today, and I predict the return of the lethal quartet of Odegaard, Saka, Martinelli and Jesus after a 3 months break. So apart from Saliba we will play with our strongest XI, hence my optimism to continue scoring 3+ goals as happened in 8 games from our last 13 PL matches.

Currently we played the same number of games as reigning champions Manchester City. But since they have played in the FA Cup yesterday (winning impressively by 6:0) we will go into the interlull with a game more, so it would be intimidating to extend the lead at the top of the Premier League to 8 points. Which has limited relevance to be honest as after the inevitable loss in the Etihad and completing their game in hand it’s still only 2 points, but maybe it can inflict some psychological damage, who knows…

We will be playing against a mirror formation of 4-2-3-1 / 4-3-3 with Stuart Atwell officiating, who was the referee when we defeated Wolves at the Molineux Stadium by 2:0 with Odegaard’s double. Palace have conceded 34 goals in the PL this season, with 17 (50%) in the last 30 minutes. Despite our Thursday game might still be in the legs, with proper substitutions and game management we have a good chance to exploit their seemingly short stamina.

Let’s go and see the boys erasing the bitter memory of Thursday’s loss on penalties in the first-ever senior competitive shoot-out to be held at Emirates Stadium. I hope I’m not being too optimistic, and definitely not jinxing it, but if we manage to break the dam early in the first half and the goals keep raining, the margin could be even bigger than my prediction above.

By Peter Barany

43 thoughts on “Arsenal v Palace Preview: Three Months Wait is Over, Our Strongest Attack is Back

  • Thank you for a great preview, PB.

    You are being very positive, especially about the result. I hope you are right but I fear that this will be an onslaught from the start, with injuries a big risk. Palace will sit back and break up everything they can and we will need an early goal/a bit of luck to crack them open. If that does not happen it will be a long afternoon, and they will have a chance to score on the counter or from a set piece. The stats tell indeed an interesting story. We concede more at home than away this season, and I am not sure whether we have the legs to overcome an early setback this time round. I would love your 4-0 but I will be very surprised if we were to win this with a bigger margin than one goal.

    I like your lineup and if we had started with this one v Sporting I am sure we would have won it (I don’t agree with your second statement at the start of your post).

    Looking forward to listening to this (once again its not televised in the UK).

    Come On You Arteta’s Finest!

  • An excellent PB. I expect CP to present a wall for us to crack. We have the skills but we need to be patient. Like TA. I’m not expecting a large scoreline but would happily accept one as GD may be important at the end of the season. COYG!

  • As long as Arteta can pick his strongest side I think we’ll do ok against the better team as they will attack us, it’s the low block teams who seem to cause us the most trouble so every game is nuanced and equally difficult and Man City have a crowded fixture list so if we win today I’d make us favourites but only by a wafer thin margin, say 52%/48%


  • Ramsdale
    Odegaard (c)


    Smith Rowe

  • Looks like the Everton game all over again – we were struggling (to say the least), and suddenly a flash of brilliance, and here we are. What a shot this was!!
    Should be plain sailing from now on. Rob outstanding so far, The Buk worrying, nothing seems to be working out for him

  • Scoring on such a day, the very definition of a top-class forward
    Game over, I think you’ll be very close to the mark, P., well done
    We should get GJ9 soon, hope Emile will be given playing time too

  • We score whenever we decide too …
    Zero spirit in these Palace boys
    What a scoring season our Swiss Guard is having

  • CK, again
    How can we concede a goal to such a team?
    Aaron not too happy about it – but the six-yard bow should be his, shouldn’t it?
    Too bad for Ben, in particular – I think he had a message for Southgate today
    So much for changes …

  • Ok I have seen enough Ben White is my man of the match what a player doing it on both ends shutting down Zaha and with an assist and a nice pre-assist.

  • Poor clearance almost cost us can never fall asleep Zaha should have scored.

  • Whenever we decide to …
    Brilliant from KT
    GJ9 on the scoresheet, and a little runout for Reiss, Emile, now??

  • Nice work Tierney with the assist good to see him back in the thick of things can Bukayo get our first hattrick this season or have we had one yet?

  • Job well done, great goals.
    Next stop, Elland Road, against unpredictable Whites … a more thrilling game than today it should be
    If ‘Pool could make April Fools out of the City guys that same day, it’d be nice, too

  • Pb, Thanks for such good previews.
    I thought White was excellent, Xhaka flawless again. Nothing needed to say about our front four.
    Just need to return from the break and come out with the same fire.

  • The mentality of this team is to admire. A very young team with exp players in the mix and they just played the game as if Thursday never happened. Offcourse Gabi had to score the first goal with his supposed weeker foot. Hats off to the team.
    Saka looked tired at first ang then assisted one and banged in two more. I was wishing him to be given a rest but boy isn’t he a hungry player. Wow can’t stop admiring these kids. Love them.

  • Watched the game live, but didn’t post as I left at the final whistle for an early morning fish. Got a 15 LB Snapper. Woohoo! Mornings don’t get much better, sumptuous display of the beautiful game, four goals, three points, followed by sunrise out on the Bay and a bin full of fish.
    Room on my sofa and on my boat for any of you boys who fancy a trip down under…

    PS Thanks PB, pity about missing the clean sheet otherwise your prognosis was pretty much spot on.

  • Here are the results of our competition for last weekend:-

    1st Eris with 4/6 plus most correct scores = 8 points
    2nd Kev & Madhu with 2/6 plus 1 correct score = 4
    4th Le Gall & GN5 2/6 = 2 points
    6th Total, OX10 & Stuart 1/6 = 1 point.

    Season to date:-

    1st Kev – 104.80
    2nd Eris – 102.13
    3rd Madhu – 100.80
    4th OX10 – 96.13
    5th – Stuart – 95.33
    6th Total – 77.66
    7th Le Gall – 76.80
    8th GN5 – 76.33


  • Eurorean Qualifiers next weekend:-

    Armenia v Turkey
    Croatia v Wales *
    Israel v Kosovo
    Andorra v Romania
    England v Ukraine *
    Northern Ireland v Finland *

  • Too late to comment on the preview now, PB but it was an interesting read, as always. You came close with your predicted scoreline (bet you nearly had a change of heart till we registered the second; Palace were that stubborn, at first); not very many would be that optimistic in a London derby Zaha about. Fine win and places more pressure on City, now, no matter how good we know they can be. It is a resurgent Liverpool next for them and there’s no telling what kind of side Klopp turns up with, International break distraction and all that.

    I disagree with you that we would drop points against Chelsea and Newcastle, though; Liverpool, maybe (but I think we shall beat them on their perch).

  • That was an irresistible performance by the lads yesterday with the emirates in rumbustious mood throughout and after the whistle. Can’t point at any one player who did badly. Ben White was brilliant and was like a rash on Wilfred Zaha apart from the couple of occasions he allowed him cut inside to shoot or attempt to shoot; of course, there was that point where he inexplicably cleared the ball for a corner, when the ball was there to be retrieved and recycled. That proved costly as Ramsdale lost his clean sheet from the corner kick. The CBS were majestic in all they did and Zinchenko was effervescent in his play and Tierney was even more composed when he came on. Our midfielders were imperious while the front men were rampant, as always.

    But for his two goals and one assist, man of the match would have been Rob Holding, for me. His first start and he ran it like a boss man. Kudos to him and long may this trend continue.

  • Thanks for the report, GN5. Good job, as usual.

    Looks like I am hitting form at the right time, eh.😎 I may have jinxed it now as predicting internationals is anybody’s game. Lol.

  • ** But for Bukayo’s two goals and one assist, man of the match………**

  • News from the club’s official site; we have another “Invincibles” side!

    Arsenal Women’s U16s side clinched an incredible league title and an invincible season this weekend with a 4-1 win over Brighton & Hove Albion.

    Our young Gunners won 11 matches and drew just three in the entire season, rising to the top of the FA Girls’ England Talent Pathway League and conceding only four goals in the process.

    Top scorer Isabella Fisher bagged 13 goals in only 10 appearances for our Gunners, with Omotara Junaid and Vivienne Lia getting on the scoresheet nine times across the season. The age group is led by Head Coach Dom Edwards and Assistant Coach Kieran Fox, with U21s Head Coach Elliot Allum also helping to oversee training.

    Highlights across this unbeaten campaign include victories over league rivals Chelsea home and away, including a 3-0 away win at Cobham, and travelling to Manchester in the quarter-final of the Youth Cup and putting eight past City.

    We’re back in action for another shot at silverware and the end to a perfect season on April 22, taking on Manchester United in the Youth Cup final. Come on you Gunners!

    Copyright 2023 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source.

  • Armenia Turkey H
    Croatia 3 Wales 0
    Israel Kosovo H
    Andorra Romania A
    England 1 Ukraine 1
    Northern Ireland 1 Finland 0

  • Eurorean Qualifiers next weekend:-

    Armenia v Turkey. A
    Croatia v Wales * H (3-1)
    Israel v Kosovo. H
    Andorra v Romania. A
    England v Ukraine * H (3-0)
    Northern Ireland v Finland * D (1-1)

  • Armenia v Turkey A
    Croatia v Wales * 2-0
    Israel v Kosovo H
    Andorra v Romania A
    England v Ukraine * 2-1
    Northern Ireland v Finland * 2-1

  • Armenia vs Turkey….. Away
    Croatia vs Wales………. Home (3-0)
    Israel vs Kosovo……….. Home
    Andorra vs Romania.. Away
    England vs Ukraine…. Home (2-0)
    N. Ireland vs Finland.. Away (0-2)

  • Armenia v Turkey A
    Croatia v Wales * 3-0
    Israel v Kosovo H
    Andorra v Romania A
    England v Ukraine * 2-1
    Northern Ireland v Finland * 1-1

  • With Tomiyasu having an operation on his knee today and Arsenal losing him until next season, the focus on keeping Ben White fit comes into view. Well with one game a week bar the City midweek fixture, we should be able to navigate the rest of the season without anymore injury drama and certainly avoid a similar crisis to that what we endured 12 months ago. In general our players are in good nick and Arteta has been helped greatly by the new 5 subs rule aiding his ability to change tack during a game. Mikel currently has Tierney, Kiwior and Holding to plug any defensive gaps and we’ll probably need all of them to help lessen the load on our regulars.

    It’s a shame, a I’m sure that LeG will agree, that Arteta hasn’t or hasn’t been able to give minutes to some of our youngsters. He’s come in for some criticism in that regard and I’ll admit that he does have a tendency to stick to what he knows in terms of senior squad players, but I also feel that he sets the bar high, probably higher than Arsene Wenger or Unai Emery. Wenger in particular would never miss a chance to give some minutes to a youngster, which was typically father like from our great manager, all the same most of those who played the odd first team game never actually made the grade and some youngsters I feel played more games than they probably should have done. We were at one time ridiculed for being a finishing school, but I don’t think that that will be the case under Arteta. If you have what it takes to come into the senior team and hold your own in the Premier League, as we’ve seen with a few of the new generation of Man City youngsters, then Arteta will give you a chance, but I don’t think he’s going to give youngsters a ‘run-out’ just to be a nice guy, you’re going to have to be a bloody good player before he gives you a 1st team debut.

  • Armenia v Turkey. A
    Croatia v Wales * 3-0
    Israel v Kosovo. H
    Andorra v Romania. A
    England v Ukraine *. 2-1
    Northern Ireland v Finland * 1-0

  • Thanks GN 5. Well done, Eris. You’ll have Kev looking in his rear view mirror.

    Armenia Turkey A
    Croatia 2 Wales 0
    Israel Kosovo H
    Andorra Romania A
    England 3 Ukraine 1
    Northern Ireland 1 Finland 1

  • Eris did me on the finishing line last year Stu, he’s a crafty customer indeed…

  • In the right-back position, I don’t think MA has much choice, unfortunately, Kev.
    The name that comes to mind right away would be Reuell Walters, and even though I spend time rinsing your eyes and ears with Hale End, I think this would come too soon for him. I know the boy (relatively) well now, his potential is immense, he’s strong, fast, confident, unafraid, elegant too … but his positioning, his technique are … raw, to say the least, as for his focus, I don’t know, buddhist meditation, yoga, you name it, but the kid really needs something to streengthen himself up on that front.
    I can’t help having a thought for Ainsley though. Now that I know Tomi better, and even though I like him a lot, I don’t see anything he does that Ainsley couldn’t – provided he forgot about his demands about a midfield position, where he has no future at PL level
    We’ll know much more about our youngsters on April 7th. That day, they’ll face a formidable City team, whose players (almost) all got the callup for England, either the U17s, U18s, or U19s, during this international break. Half of the team who’ll step onto the Emirates pitch that night has played the U19 Youth League too, where they were knocked out by a ravenous Split team as well as by dodgy refereeing.
    Given Mick’s attitude towards our Academy – which you’re spot on about; Walters, Sousa, Rosiak, Lewis-Skelly, Cozier-Duberry, Nwaneri in particular, had better put up a real fight that night …

  • Great comment LeG, the Man City academy is clearly the strongest in England and has supplanted the Chelsea academy in that regard, both clubs routinely take some of the best kidsfrom other academies just as City and Chelsea are trying to do with Nwaneri at this time, they were also sniffing around Lewis-Skelly but it seems as if we’ve been able to retain him if the reports are to be believed.

    As for Walters he seems to be more effective at centre-back in the U21’s, the position that Arteta used him in when he joined up with the senior squad during a tour several months ago, but he can fill in at right-back at a push and would have senior players guiding him which he doesn’t currently experience. That’s where I feel that in general we miss out on and have missed since the end of the Football Combination.

    I was quite impressed with Kiwior during his short cameo last weekend I feel that he has the tools to fit in during an emergency.

  • Armenia v Turkey A
    Croatia v Wales * H (3-1)
    Israel v Kosovo H
    Andorra v Romania A
    England v Ukraine * H
    Northern Ireland v Finland * A (1-2

    Thank gents all predictions in nice and early this week.

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