20/01/2024 – 14:30

The pressure is mounting on both Mikel Arteta and Roy Hodgson as they prepare their teams to meet in Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off.

Arsenal is in a turbulent patch right now after being knocked out of the FA Cup by Liverpool. They’ve been struggling in the Premier League as well and have gone four consecutive games without a win. The last three games in that streak ended in defeats, despite the Gunners accumulating 61 shots, but scoring just one goal in that time has put the pressure on their misfiring attack.

The Eagles boss is a bookies favourite to be the next manager in the Premier League to face the axe. This comes after Everton clipped their wings with a 1-0 win in their FA Cup clash and only managing two wins from their last fifteen games in all competitions. Despite having an energetic side and enough talent at his disposal, it’s a result business and they sit five points above the relegation zone, another loss could be the final nail in the coffin.

The Gunners edged out the Eagles 1-0 at Selhurst Park in the reverse fixture, extending their winning run against their fellow Londoners to three games on the bounce. But it would be ignorant to think that Bukayo Saka and company will have an afternoon stroll in the winter sunshine. Palace can be a tough nut to crack and have lost just one of their last five visits to the Emirates Stadium. They’ve got enough speed and quality, and should they hold firm they can punish Arsenal on the counter-attack.

Roy Hodgson does not have any fresh injury problems with his side but will continue to miss several critical stars. Chief among them is Michael Olise, who is still out with a thigh problem. Jordan Ayew has joined up with the Ghana squad and will miss the forthcoming games. The exciting Eberechi Eze will complete the attacking setup and in support of central striker Jean-Philippe Mateta. Will Hughes and Jefferson Lerma are best placed to hold the fort in central midfield.

Arteta enjoyed a good training outing in Dubai, but he could still stick with the team that faced Liverpool in their Cup defeat with David Raya the only potential change from that lineup. Thomas Partey was also part of the group but was not seen in regular training. Fabio Vieira and Emile Smith Rowe appeared sharp and fit. The duo could form a part of the matchday squad although Vieira is still a doubt. The Gunners are also missing Takehiro Tomiyasu and Mohamed Elneny, with the pair representing Japan and Egypt, at the AFC Asian Cup and the Africa Cup of Nations respectively.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Raya; Ben White, Saliba, Gabriel, Kiwior; Odegaard, Jorginho, Rice; Saka, Havertz, Martinelli

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Henderson; Clyne, Andersen, Guehi, Mitchell; Hughes, Lerma; Franca, Eze, Schlupp; Mateta 

Palace will be tough and stubborn, but we can expect Arteta to have his Gunners fully focused and they should pick up a comfortable victory.

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CORRECT SCORE 1-1 @ 92/10

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