Selhurst Park is the venue as mid-table Crystal Palace and fourth-placed Arsenal go head-to-head in Monday’s all-London Premier League fixture. While it’s not the most watched fixture in football on tv today, the game will be watched by fans of Arsenal and their close rivals alike in context of the top four race.
Palace headed into March’s international break in high spirits after thrashing lowly Everton 4-0 in the FA Cup quarter-finals, making it six competitive matches without defeat (W4, D2).
Patrick Vieira’s men stunned table-topping Manchester City in their most recent Premier League outing as they stood firm at home to hold Pep Guardiola’s high-flyers to a goalless draw.
With tenth-placed Leicester City only two points away, the Eagles still harbour faint hopes of locking up their first top-half finish since 2014/15.
However, anything other than a victory against Arsenal would probably curtail those ambitions, given Brendan Rodgers’ men boast two games in hand.
Mikel Arteta’s men have their sights firmly set on their first top-four finish since 2015/16, so there is a feeling that Palace may have to seek points elsewhere.
Since losing 1-0 to Chelsea in mid-February, the Eagles have alternated between winning and drawing across their last four Premier League matches (W2, D2).
A decent league form could inspire Palace’s bid to improve their underwhelming nine-game H2H record against Arsenal in the Premier League (W1, D5, L3).
But playing on a Monday has so often tormented the Selhurst Park outfit, with just one win from their last 15 top-flight matches staged on Mondays (D6, L8).
Moreover, Vieira’s men have faltered in the Premier League London derbies of late, having won just one of their last 17 such match-ups (D8, L8), courtesy of a 3-0 triumph over Tottenham Hotspur this season.
The Gunners have bounced back from a 2-0 home defeat to Liverpool instantaneously by edging out mid-table Aston Villa 1-0 on the road last time out.
Unlike Palace, Arsenal have flourished in their Premier League London derbies of late, going unbeaten in their last four such fixtures (W3, D1) following back-to-back defeats at the beginning of the season.
They could win three successive London derbies in the Premier League for the first time since 2015, and their recent away form backs such hopes.
After losing three away league games in a row, Arteta’s men have racked up a five-match winning league run on the road, keeping three clean sheets in that sequence.
Vieira revealed on Thursday that he has high hopes for Wilfried Zaha, whose availability for this match was in doubt following his international exploits with Ivory Coast.
“He is still in the medical room and we will see how he is tomorrow,” the Palace boss said, as relayed by Football365.
“We have until Monday so hopefully he will get better and he can have a couple of training sessions with the team.”
In his recent interview with the Evening Standard, Arteta confirmed Takehiro Tomiyasu could return to the fold for Arsenal’s visit to Selhurst Park.
“I think he will be close. He has been training more and more. He will be joining some sessions this week and let’s see how it is,” the Spaniard said.
Other than the Japan international, the Gunners have no other injury concerns going into this fixture.