MOTD COMMENTATOR’S NOTES
@alibruceball: Mikel Arteta’s reign is up and running and there have been promising signs for Arsenal so far, but consistency is hard to establish and it took some harsh half-time words from the new boss in the FA Cup tie against Leeds to snap his players out of some of their bad habits – a reminder that the Spaniard’s got a massive job on his hands to get them back to where they want to be.
Crystal Palace find themselves a point above Arsenal, which reflects incredibly well on the job Roy Hodgson has done once again, particularly considering only Watford have scored fewer league goals this season.
Injuries have hit hard in recent weeks and the big question for the rest of this month will be whether can they hold on to Wilfried Zaha? If, or when, he eventually leaves then Hodgson will have to be at his canniest and most creative to find the personnel and the system to replace him.
VIEW FROM THE DUGOUT
Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson: “Arsenal have been buoyed by him [Arteta] coming in and we have to be ready to face a team that has got some good results in recent weeks.
“They are a big club, I have enormous respect for Arsenal. I still see them as one of the mainstays of the Premier League, the elite. They were for many years number one or two. They are capable of doing it with the quality that they have brought in and it makes me believe they are still very much a top four team, or in that bracket of the top six. And I expect them to stay in that bracket.”
Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta: “The first thing I wanted to change was the energy around the team and around the club as well. It is slightly better than how it was, or much better I would say.
“Obviously the fact we are winning games helps, and as well what I am seeing at the training ground since the day I moved is much more like I want to see.”
Crystal Palace will compete in every area of the pitch and, if Arsenal are going to win again, they will have to earn it.
- Crystal Palace are unbeaten in the past three league meetings, winning one and drawing two.
- However, Arsenal have lost just two of their 19 away league matches at Palace (W10, D7).
- There have been 23 goals scored in the last five league encounters.
- If Crystal Palace win they will equal their Premier League club record of 31 points after 22 matches.
- They have lost only one of their past eight league matches (W3, D4).
- Defeat by Derby in the FA Cup last week ended Palace’s three-game unbeaten home run (W2, D1).
- The Eagles have lost only one of their 13 league fixtures against the teams below them in the table this season (W6, D6).
- Games involving Palace have produced 42 goals, the fewest in the division.
- Connor Wickham has been involved in two goals in just 60 league minutes this term; he has one goal and one assist.
- They are unbeaten in five away matches in all competitions since the sacking of Unai Emery (W1, D4).
- Arsenal’s 27-point total is their lowest after 21 games of a top-flight season since 1982-83, when they also had 27.
- The Gunners could win three successive games in all competitions for the first time since September.
- They have kept clean sheets in three of their past five matches in league and cup.
- Arsenal have won just one of 10 matches against other clubs currently in the top half of the table (D4, L5).
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored eight of Arsenal’s 11 away league goals.
- Head coach Mikel Arteta won all five of his league appearances as a player against Crystal Palace.