Crystal Palace v Arsenal Preview: Sides gear up for London derby with both looking towards future goals

Palace travel to North London this weekend, hoping to build momentum ahead of their FA Cup semi-final next weekend.

Crystal Palace v Arsenal Preview: Sides gear up for London derby with both looking towards future goals
Palace face a tough trip to the Emirates this weekend

After a better week where Crystal Palace picked up four points thanks to a win over Norwich and then a point against Everton on Wednesday evening Alan Pardew’s men travel to the Emirates to face Arsenal.

Crystal Palace 

Prior to the Norwich game, Palace had been on a 14-game winless run which meant that relegation was a distinct possibility. 

But the win over the Canaries last weekend has effectively sealed their spot in the top-flight for another year; now they look to build momentum ahead of their FA Cup semi-final next weekend against Watford.

It hasn’t been the season Palace had hoped for.  Before Christmas they were flying, and people were tipping them to give the likes of Liverpool, and Tottenham a run for the Europa League places. But this season has been like no other, and their form after Christmas meant they slipped out of contention.

But injuries have cost Palace dearly this season; at one stage or another, most of their attacking players have been out meaning Pardew has had to reshuffle his side.

It's been one of those season for Palace, where injuries have hit them hard / Ireland Herald
It's been one of those season for Palace, where injuries have hit them hard / Ireland Herald

But now as the season enters ‘crunch’ time, the former Newcastle United manager has a full set of attacking players, except for Dwight Gayle.

And speaking in his pre-match press conference, he wants his attacking players to have an impact at the Emirates on Sunday: "Players of that size, power and pace can terrorise defences. And that's what we want Connor (Wickham) and Ade (Adebayor) to do for us.”

But Arsenal is a side that the Eagles haven’t fared well against in previous meetings, in fact they have only won three of the last 38 meetings. But with Arsenal coming off the back of a disappointing 3-3 draw with West Ham, and the fact that they will once again miss out on the title, it might be a good time to play Arsene Wenger’s side.

Team News

Pardew has a few injury concerns ahead of the game; Gayle is out of both this game and the Manchester United one because of a glute muscle strain, but the club hope to have him back in time for the semi-final at Wembley.

And Wilfried Zaha will face a late fitness test on a shoulder injury he picked up against Everton during the week; the only other absent is James McArthur who is still recovering from ankle ligament damage.

Arsenal

At the start of the season, Arsenal fans were optimistic that this season they would finally end the drought and win the Premier League; but nobody expected the fairytale season of Leicester.

But in terms of Arsenal’s size and quality, it has been another rather disappointing season, and the draw at the Boleyn Ground last weekend, further highlighted the need for stronger and more resolute personnel.

And heading into this game; there is reason to believe that Palace could potentially pick up some points; as Arsenal have yet to win a home London derby this season, and they have only won two of their last five league games.

And with Palace coming with renewed confidence, this is going to be no stroll in the park for the Gunners.

Team News

Wenger will look to welcome Petr Cech back into the side after he sat out of the draw against West Ham; and Jack Wilshere who has played minutes for the under-21’s is close to a return, but the game against the Eagles is too soon.

With Arsenal’s underachieving season drawing to close; they will want to make sure they secure Champions League football for next season; as for Palace they want to push up the league and with a FA Cup semi-final to look forward, momentum is needed for the South London side.