Mesut Özil

Premier League preview Crystal Palace v Arsenal
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Premier League Preview: Crystal Palace v. Arsenal

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Arsenal looks to keep a third-straight clean sheet when it visits Wilfried Zaha and Crystal Palace on Saturday (Watch Live at 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

The Gunners’ improved form meets an Eagles side with plenty of absences, as Andros Townsend and Jeff Schlupp remain injured and Luka Milivojevic is suspended.

Palace may include new loan signing Cenk Tosun.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Palace has found points in 14 of 21 matches this season, including a 2-2 draw with the Gunners at the Emirates Stadium. It should be noted that the Eagles benefited from a wildly controversial VAR decision that deprived Sokratis Papastathopoulos a match-winning goal.

Tenth-place Arsenal is a point back of Palace, nine points off the Top Four.


Injuries/suspensions

Crystal Palace: OUT —  Andros Townsend, Jeff Schlupp, Joel Ward, Luka Milivojevic, Christian Benteke, Scott Dann, Patrick Van Aanholt, Mamadou Sakho. QUESTIONABLE — Wilfried Zaha.

Arsenal: OUT — Kieran Tierney, Calum Chambers, Hector Bellerin. QUESTIONABLE — Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang


Probable lineups

Crystal Palace: Guaita, Riedewald, Kouyate, Tomkins, Kelly, Kirby, McCarthy, McArthur, Zaha, Ayew, Tosun.

Arsenal: Leno, Kolasinac, Luiz, Mustafi, Maitland-Niles, Torreira, Xhaka, Ozil, Pepe, Lacazette, Martinelli.


What they’re saying

Palace’s Roy Hodgson on the season’s expectations: “Well, I guess with the incredible number of injuries, we are perhaps exceeding them, and I am more than happy with our current situation and where we are. But the only relevance is what the table looks like in May. We have a lot of games to play. It is pleasant to go into games in a comfortable position, but we know how quickly that can change. It is the performance that counts and we have to give the type of performance necessary to get results. If we are a better team than Arsenal, as perhaps the table suggests at the moment, we have to go out and prove it by going and beating Arsenal tomorrow.”

Mesut Ozil on new manager and former teammate Mikel Arteta: “Every manager is different and obviously I have had some world class managers throughout my career. Mikel Arteta is different to the others but he is very focused on the ball and wants to make us very successful and I think he is the right man at this club. … Time flies quite quickly and I remember when he went to work with Pep Guardiola at Man City, it was quite obvious he would become a manager soon. I am really happy that he is here with us at the moment because this is the right time. We are all happy to have him here.”


Prediction

Home field is a huge advantage for Palace, but the injury list is so long that it’s difficult to believe in the Eagles’ chances to pull out a win. Arsenal, 2-0

Arteta hopes Ozil able to play ‘every three or four days’

Arsenal manager Arteta praises Ozil
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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has a lot of faith in Mesut Ozil.

It didn’t look like the Gunners’ playmaker would have a lot of time left in North London, but the new guy in charge feels otherwise.

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Ozil, 31, was much younger when he joined Arsenal from Real Madrid. The German rang up 20 goals and 43 assists in the three seasons he spent as Arteta’s teammate.

Ozil had 19 assists the last season of their tenure as teammates, coming within one of tying Thierry Henry’s record.

The player has a contract through 2020/21, and is entering the dreaded final year, but Arteta’s got a lot of plans for him.

From The London Evening Standard:

“I’m hoping he can sustain this level every three or four days. He’s putting in everything he has to try and do that, and I think his numbers physically have improved so much as well. He’s willing every day in training.

“I know him really well, so I’m not surprised. I know his ability and I know the player we have there, and as well, the structure has to be there to be able to help him to take everything that he has inside.”

The Arsenal attacking jigsaw puzzle will be fascinating the rest of this season.

Lethal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang may want out, and buddy Alexandre Lacazette may not be too thrilled about his role, either. Then there’s mega-money transfer Nicolas Pepe, who isn’t getting a ton of run at all, with youngster Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli waiting in the wings.

Oh, then there’s Eddie Nketiah on loan at Leeds United.

And Ozil. What’s the plan?

PL Preview: Arsenal v. Chelsea

Premier League preview Arsenal v. Chelsea
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Two longtime Premier League midfield generals meet for the first time as managers when Arsenal and Chelsea tangle in a Sunday morning London Derby (Watch Live at 9 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Frank Lampard‘s Chelsea and Mikel Arteta‘s Arsenal need wins in a bad way ahead of a meeting at the Emirates Stadium.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Arsenal has one win and eight draws in its last 16 matches, the most recent result a 1-1 draw in Arteta’s first match in charge of the Gunners.

That draw came while Chelsea was losing 2-0 to Southampton at Stamford Bridge, giving the Blues two wins from their last seven league outings.

An Arsenal win would open the door for either Sheffield United or Tottenham Hotspur to move into the Top Four. The Gunners open the day in 11th place on 24 points.


Injuries/suspensions

Arsenal: OUT —  Kieran Tierney, Sead Kolasinac. QUESTIONABLE — Dani Ceballos, Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding, Gabriel Martinelli.

Chelsea: OUT — Ruben Loftus-Cheek . QUESTIONABLE — Ross Barkley, Olivier Giroud.


Probable lineups

Arsenal: Leno, Saka, Mustafi, Luiz, Bellerin, Guendouzi, Xhaka, Pepe, Ozil, Aubameyang, Lacazette.

Chelsea: Arrizabalaga, Christensen, Tomori, Zouma, Emerson, Jorginho, Kante, James, Pulisic, Pedro, Abraham.


What they’re saying 

Arteta on starting Mesut Ozil versus Bournemouth: “To be fair, his attitude in training since the day that I walked in the building has been incredible. I’ve seen this and I said I would give a clean slate to everybody and that was for him too. When we were preparing and watching where we could hurt the opponent, we believed he could be a key point. Like this, he responded, did what he had to do and we could have put two or three goals in the net because of him.”

Lampard on Chelsea’s poor run: “Teams are making it difficult here. We are not making enough chances, we were at the beginning of the season. We are being asked a different question at home. At the moment we are not answering them. We do not manage to pick up that final pass,” Lampard said. “Against Tottenham we had space to make runs and today we had none. It changes things. We did not do it right today. I think If at the start of the season we would have been happy where we are. We are good away but we have to make it difficult to come here.”


Prediction

It’s the same old story for Arsenal: Goals will come, but will the defending? Injuries seem to tilt the scales for Chelsea, but the home stadium will be buzzing for Arteta and we think the new bounce might be enough for a 2-2 thriller.

Arteta: Arsenal ‘better than I expected’ in debut draw

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Mikel Arteta is clearly a man in his dream job, buzzing a bit following a 1-1 draw between Arsenal and Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium.

“I’m very pleased with some of the things I’ve seen in terms of attitude, character, the passion we showed and the fighting spirit the team showed,” he said, via Football.London. “Spot on. Probably better than I expected over 90 minutes.”

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The Gunners went behind 1-0 during a rain-soaked day on England’s South Coast, only to see Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang score an equalizer.

Wasteful on the day, Arteta saw enough to feel hope for the future.

He was especially complimentary of Mesut Ozil, who was credited with four key passes but received mixed reviews from many.

“To be fair, his attitude in training since the day that I walked in the building has been incredible,” Arteta said. “I’ve seen this and I said I would give a clean slate to everybody and that was for him too. When we were preparing and watching where we could hurt the opponent, we believed he could be a key point. Like this, he responded, did what he had to do and we could have put two or three goals in the net because of him.”

Arsenal skid hits nine with home loss

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Arsenal’s winless run reached nine with a 2-1 home loss to Brighton and Hove Albion at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday.

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Neal Maupay headed an Aaron Mooy cross past Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno with 10 minutes to play.

Alexandre Lacazette found a second half equalizer after Adam Webster put the Seagulls ahead before the break.

Arsenal stays 10th with 19 points, below Sheffield United and above Newcastle United on goal difference. Brighton rises to 13th with 18 points.

The nine-game run is Arsenal’s worst since 1977.


Three things we learned

1. Freddie not the fix: There’s been no new manager bounce for Arsenal, and perhaps that’s as big of an indictment on player recruitment than anything else. Who knows if Freddie Ljungberg is a future genius manager, but the Gunners had little to offer in being outshot for most of the match.

2. Leno would be Best XI on a good team: Arsenal’s goalkeeper is one of the good ones, and the 27-year-old goalkeeper was credited with seven saves at home. Who knows where the Gunners would sit on the table if Leno wasn’t leading the league in saves? I mean, look at the clubs represented around him on the board. This is a bad, bad, bad defense.

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3. Potter’s men continue to impress: The Seagulls continue on an upward trend, and were the better team on the day inside the home of one of the biggest teams in the league. Their big backs dealt well enough with Arsenal’s talented attack, with midfielder Aaron Mooy the star of their match even before he assisted Maupay’s go-ahead goal.

Man of the Match: It would’ve been Leno, who had no fault on either goal, but Mooy’s assist tips the scales in favor of the Australian.


Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin conceded a free kick on the edge of the box in the 22nd minute, but that came to nothing.

At the other end, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang spun an outside-of-the-boot hit wide of the far post.

But Brighton was producing the best chances over the first half-hour, and were rightly on the board first when Webster slotted a shot from the heart of the 18.

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Arsenal brought on Nicolas Pepe at halftime, but it was Lacazette who equalized with a looping header off a corner kick.

Brighton didn’t wilt, and Bernd Leno reacted well to Neal Maupay’s disappointing first touch of a loose ball in the six with just under a half hour to play.

The Gunners saw a goal pulled back by VAR after David Luiz was offside when he headed a free kick past Mat Ryan.

Pepe then slid Aubameyang behind the Brighton back line, but the Seagulls limited the damage to a corner kick.

Maupay put the Seagulls ahead when he held his nerve in front of Luiz to head Mooy’s cross home.