Arsenal have the opportunity to register a third-straight win in all competitions when they face Crystal Palace in Saturday’s early Premier League kick-off at Selhurst Park.
The Gunners are without a victory from the previous three meetings against their London counterparts but manager Mikel Arteta will be aiming to end the run and guide the side to back-to-back league wins for the first time since mid-August.
Bernd Leno has been the first-choice goalkeeper for the Premier League and he is expected to start in goal. The German has recently been guarded with improved displays by the defence. He has kept two clean sheets from the past four league games.
In the backline, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Sead Kolasinac are very much certain to feature in the right and left side of the defence respectively. Hector Bellerin has recently returned to training with the first-team but Arteta has ruled out the right-back’s involvement against Palace.
Sokratis played in an unfamiliar right-back role against Leeds but he should return to the central defensive position for the derby at Selhurst Park. He is expected to be partnered by David Luiz, who has been one of the most improved players since the appointment of Arteta at the helm.
Granit Xhaka and Mateo Guendouzi had a tough first-half in the FA Cup third round tie against Leeds United but the midfield duo managed to turn things around after the break as the club registered a slender 1-0 win. Still, the latter should make way for Lucas Torreira, who has formed a solid partnership alongside Xhaka in the centre of the park under Arteta.
The attack should remain the same from the win over Manchester United on New Year’s Day. This should see Reiss Nelson drop to the bench from the recent Cup meeting. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who missed the recent game with flu, should accompany Nicolas Pepe on the flanks with Mesut Ozil in the number 10 spot.
Alexandre Lacazette should lead the line for the fifth game on the bounce. Arteta hinted at a possible rest for the Frenchman prior to the FA Cup clash last Monday but surprisingly, the striker played through the entire 90 minutes. He is goalless for nearly a month but should get the nod for the striker’s role on the basis of his impressive workrate and high pressing.
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