- Palace won fixture 3-0 last season
- Lone win in last 14 vs. Gunners
- Arsenal leads all-time 26W-11D-4L
Arsenal needs a win to keep up with its Top Four rivals when it visits Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Thursday (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).
Palace has rebounded dramatically under manager Roy Hodgson, from zero wins to 18 points and a place outside the relegation zone.
The test is amongst the, if not the, biggest challenges for Hodgson since it opened an eight-match unbeaten run in league play with a 2-2 home draw with Everton. The Eagles boast an impressive 3-0 win at Leicester, but topping Arsenal for a second successive season at Selhurst would be significant.
What they’re saying
Palace boss Hodgson on Arsenal: “I watched their game last Friday night and I thought they were extremely good and their game against Manchester United which they lost but I thought they played exceptionally well, their attacking play was stupendous. We know that’s what we’ve got coming, that’s what we’ve got to try to find a way of trying to deal with and the only advantage we have is the fact that it is at home where our fans do give us enormous support and also they’re sensible fans they realise that we have got a big job on our hands, they will be expecting us to give our all against Arsenal.”
Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere on playing with Mesut Ozil: I’ve said before that’s where I want to play. I like playing through the middle, whether it’s deeper or it’s in the number 10. With a player like Mesut, we’ve been playing next to each other, it makes it easy. If you make a run, he’ll find a ball for you and with Granit sitting in behind it’s working quite well. We’re looking to build on that, we can improve definitely, that’s what we’re trying to do.
There’s real potential for some festive fireworks here, and we won’t be surprised to see both Alexandre Lacazette and Alexis Sanchez get on the scoreboard. But it can also be a day for Wilfried Zaha and ex-North London Derby thorn Andros Townsend against Arsenal’s back line. Laurent Koscielny‘s had a bit of a rough patch in particular, and we bet the Eagles find the back of the goal in a 2-1 or 3-1 loss.