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Crystal Palace v Arsenal

Scouting Report - Crystal Palace

Before every Arsenal fixture, we’ll bring you a Scouting Report on the Gunners’ next opponents.

Arsène Wenger's side face Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Sunday. To find out more, we asked tactical expert Michael Cox.

MICHAEL COX

Alan Pardew’s Crystal Palace started 2015/16 with a fine 3-1 victory at newly-promoted Norwich City, although the victory was more slender than the scoreline would suggest.Norwich had an equaliser disallowed when 2-1 down before Yohan Cabaye’s last-minute goal put more distance between the sides.Nevertheless, this is an excellent Palace side which could well challenge for European places this year, and in their first home game of the season at Selhurst Park, there’s sure to be an intimidating atmosphere for Arsenal.

 

Alan Pardew

Alan Pardew

The major counter-attacking threat comes from the flanks, where Palace use two flying wingers.Wilfried Zaha and Jason Puncheon are both good at travelling with the ball and have improved their end product significantly over the past 18 months. Zaha continually attempted dribbles against Arsenal in this fixture last season, although most were unsuccessful thanks to good work from Nacho Monreal.

 

 

Zaha's attempted dribbles v Arsenal last season

Zaha's attempted dribbles v Arsenal last season

Yannick Bolasie is another option, and offers something very similar plus the odd outrageous piece of skill.Up front, Glenn Murray started last weekend but Connor Wickham, newly signed from Sunderland, could lead the line with more physical presence.Patrick Bamford, on loan from Chelsea, is an alternative, and it’s likely Pardew will use his bench to introduce another attacker at some point in the second half.

 

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