Arsenal v Crystal Palace preview: Arsene Wenger desperate for victory
Last Updated: 20/01/18 1:53pm
Arsenal will look to put a dismal couple of weeks behind them when Crystal Palace visit the Emirates on Saturday afternoon.
The Gunners are winless in their last five games in all competitions as they have slipped off the pace in the race for top four and are out of the FA Cup.
However, only Man City (31) and Man Utd (29) taken more Premier League points at home this season than Arsenal, so Palace will be well aware of the tough task ahead.
Furthermore, Crystal Palace's only win in 17 league visits to Arsenal was 2-1 win at Highbury in 1994.
Arsenal emerged victorious when the two sides met last month, winning 3-2 at Selhurst Park thanks to two second-half goals from Alexis Sanchez.
The Chile international trained with the Gunners on Friday and could feature against Palace despite continued speculation over his future.
Arsenal could welcome back Laurent Koscielny (Achilles), Nacho Monreal (ankle) and Mesut Ozil (knee).
However, Ainsley Maitland-Niles (flu) is a doubt, while Olivier Giroud (thigh) and Santi Cazorla (heel) remain out.
Crystal Palace have been boosted by the return to fitness of Joel Ward and Yohan Cabaye.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Jeffrey Schlupp (ankle), Andros Townsend (also ankle), Mamadou Sakho (calf), Scott Dann and Jason Puncheon (both knee) are all out.
Arsenal have lost just one of their last 16 matches against Palace in all competitions (W11 D4), a 3-0 defeat in the Premier League last April.
The Eagles haven't won away from home at Arsenal in any competition since October 1994, winning 2-1 at Highbury with a brace from John Salako.
Arsenal have never failed to score in 17 home league games against Crystal Palace, netting 39 goals in total (2.3 per game).
Indeed, the Gunners have scored in each of their last 25 home Premier League games, their longest run since scoring in 29 in a row between April 2007 and November 2008.
Meanwhile, after losing eight consecutive away Premier League games, the Eagles are unbeaten in their last five on the road (W2 D3). Only Liverpool (6) are on a current longer run without defeat away from home in the division.
Bakary Sako is Crystal Palace's top scorer in all competitions this season (6), and has scored in his last two competitive games. He's not scored in three games in a row in the same season of English football since he was at Wolves in February 2015.
Assuming there's no Alexis Sanchez, I'm trying to make a case for Arsenal winning here. I don't know where they're going to hurt Palace. If you look at the Palace forwards to the Arsenal forwards, it's chalk and cheese.
I'm going for a Palace win. I know people will say: "Oh you're going against Arsenal again," but I really can't make a case for them without Sanchez! Alexandre Lacazette doesn't look like he will score in a month of Sundays, Danny Welbeck is not a winger, Granit Xhaka is not going to score you a goal, and no matter how good Jack Wilshere is playing he's not going to be the one who scores you the goals.
They let in goals for fun, and that's where Palace are dangerous. Arsenal will have to have a go at Palace and won't be able to deal with them on the break!
PAUL PREDICTS: 1-2 (16/1 with Sky Bet)