The Breakdown: Crystal Palace preview

We’re back in Premier League action against Crystal Palace on Monday, and ahead of the game Michael Cox and Adrian Clarke assess our opponents.

Check out more ahead of the weekend's match:


MC: “Sam Allardyce was appointed by Crystal Palace shortly before Christmas, following Alan Pardew’s dismissal. After an initially difficult period, Allardyce has stamped his mark upon Palace and there’s the usual brand of solid defending, direct football and reliance upon a big target man. Although Palace lost 3-1 at Southampton on Wednesday night, they’d previously won four matches in a row to lift themselves out of the relegation zone.”

AC: "Big Sam has made good acquisitions who have made the difference. Mamadou Sakho’s come in and their central midfielder, Luka Milivojevic, has done a great job in the heart of midfield." 


MC: “Palace’s formation is essentially 4-1-4-1, with Serbian holding midfielder Luka Milivojevic sitting in front of the defence, while Yohan Cabaye and Jason Puncheon are given more freedom to advance. Andros Townsend and Wilfried Zaha attack from the flanks, and provide centre forward Christian Benteke with crosses.”

AC: "We need to play with urgency. You cant’ coast through games against Palace and you can’t assume that things are going to happen, you have to make things happens and that means we have to play with fire and 110 per cent effort and energy. "


MC: “Benteke wins more aerial duels than any other player in the Premier League - in fact, in this respect he’s just ahead of Andy Carroll, who Arsenal successfully nullified in midweek. Palace are also suddenly very solid in defence, despite conceding three at Southampton. The January arrival of Mamadou Sakho partly explains that, and now Palace are a formidable side in the two penalty boxes.”

AC: "They’re full of confidence and have had a load of back-to-back clean sheets other than that Chelsea win, but what a result that was."


MC: “Benteke is the greatest goal threat, but winger Zaha has been in sensational form recently, netting in victories at West Brom and Chelsea, scoring an incredible goal on international duty for the Ivory Coast, and mixing counter-attacking speed in deep positions with efficiency around the box. Arsenal must stop him.”

AC: "The obvious man in form is Wilfried Zaha, a player I’ve never been a huge fan of because he lacks end procwut. However, under Big Sam, he seems to have harnessed his qualities and we’re seeing a player who is doing a job for the team, producing goals and assists, and is still getting fans off their seats with these flashes of brilliance. Zaha is a player that Arsenal need to control in that game. "


MC: “Left back Jeffrey Schlupp is more impressive going forward than when defending, and can leave too much space in behind. That might be exploited by the runs of Theo Walcott.”

AC: "I’m not sure about Patrick van Aanholt because I’ve never been a huge fan of him. He’s great going forward but sometimes he doesn’t know how to defend, and the same could be said for Schlupp."


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