After the disappointment of Thursday night’s Europa League exit, we have a quick opportunity to return to winning ways ahead of the international break when Crystal Palace visit Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
“We have 11 finals to go and that’s it, that’s the main focus now,” Martin Odegaard told us after our penalty shoot-out defeat to Sporting CP. “It starts already now in the dressing room to recover well and change the focus, so that’s what we have to do.”
Our record in London derbies during 2022/23 has been nothing short of faultless. We head into the weekend’s fixture aiming to become the first team in the capital to win nine derbies in the same season.
A victory would take us eight points clear at the top of the Premier League, with Manchester City hosting Burnley in the FA Cup quarter-final.
Standing in our way are a Crystal Palace side who announced the departure of Patrick Vieira on Friday morning.
The former Gunner will be replaced temporarily by Paddy McCarthy, who led first-team training ahead of the match and will manage our visitors on Sunday.
Visitors without a win in 2023
A run of 12 matches without a win ultimately contributed to Vieira’s dismissal.
“It is with enormous regret that this difficult decision has been made,” chairman Steve Parish told CPFC.co.uk. “Ultimately, results in recent months have placed us in a precarious league position and we felt a change is necessary to give us the best chance of retaining Premier League status.”
Palace go into the matchweek 12th in the Premier League - though they find themselves just three points clear of the relegation zone.
The Eagles haven’t scored in their last four league matches - but they have proved tough to break down. Palace have drawn with Manchester United, Newcastle and Liverpool at home in 2023 and frustrated Manchester City for long periods before eventually falling to a 1-0 defeat at Selhurst Park last weekend.
What the managers say
Mikel Arteta on Palace: “It’s 11 games to play for, 11 Premier League games, and a big final against Crystal Palace. The focus has to be there, the energy has to be there and learn from tonight.
“The best thing is now the reaction and to show the same commitment, more quality and play better against Palace to beat them.”
Paddy McCarthy on us: “We’ll try and implement an aggressive style out of possession in different ways. We’ll look to be aggressive when we don’t have the ball, and we’ll look to progress the ball up the pitch in possession.
“That obviously said, we’ve only got a short amount of time to implement a few ideas, so I don’t want to flood the players with too much information. But ultimately, at this football club, part of our identity is that we’re aggressive out of possession, and certainly quick and fast in the attacking third.”
Takehiro Tomiyasu and William Saliba were forced off with injury in the early stages of Thursday’s match against Sporting.
“Tomiyasu looks pretty serious, for his reaction straight away and what he said to me,” Mikel said in his post-Sporting press conference. “Obviously, it’s very early and difficult to know. William, I don’t know. He had some discomfort and could not carry on, so we had to take him off.”
Gabriel Jesus was replaced at half-time on Thursday - a substitution Mikel says was planned.
“We decided to do that because we had to manage the subs, especially after the two windows that we had to use in the first half, but that was the plan and he was coming from an injury as well. We knew the game could go to extra time and we have to manage that and he looked okay.”
Mohamed Elneny remains out with a long-term knee injury, with Eddie Nketiah “still a few weeks away”.
Palace midfielders James McArthur and Will Hughes trained on Friday after missing the last two Premier League matches. Sambi Lokonga is ineligible to face us. Teenager goalkeeper, Joe Whitworth, made his debut at Brighton on Wednesday, with Vicente Guaita and Sam Johnstone both injured in midweek.
Facts and stats
We are looking to become the first side to win nine London derbies in the same league season.
If we win and score at least three goals, it will be the first time we’ve done that in four successive league games since September 2004.
We go into the match with five straight league wins, one short of the longest streak in the division this season set by Newcastle from October to December.
Crystal Palace have only won two of their 22 league away fixtures against us: 2-1 at Highbury in October 1994 and 3-2 at Emirates Stadium in April 2019.
They are, however, unbeaten in each of their last four away matches against us.
Palace are winless in all 17 league games this season against the teams in the top half of the table heading into this weekend (D8, L9).
Sunday’s referee is Stuart Attwell, from Warwickshire.
Attwell has officiated one of our matches this season - the 2-0 win at Wolves in November.
He also took charge of two of our games in 2021/22 - a 2-0 win over Newcastle and 2-1 defeat to Manchester City, both at the Emirates.
This is Attwell’s first Palace fixture since last season’s FA Cup quarter-final against Everton. The Eagles won that match 4-0.
Referee: Stuart Attwell Assistants: Lee Betts, James Mainwaring Fourth official: Andy Madley VAR: Darren England Assistant VAR: Sian Massey-Ellis
Last time out
Palace hosted us on the first day of the Premier League season, with Gabriel Martinelli’s header and Marc Guehi’s late own goal setting up a 2-0 win.
Join Nick Bright and Adrian Clarke live from Emirates Stadium at 1pm (GMT) on Sunday for the best build-up to the game.
Nick and Adiran will look back on our Europa League exit and analyse what to expect in Sunday’s match, where they'll be joined in the studio by celebrity chef, Tom Brown, and The Athletic's Crystal Palace correspondent, Matt Woosnam.
Then from 2pm, join Dan Roebuck and Jeremie Aliadiere for live commentary from Emirates Stadium. Make sure you log onto Arsenal.com or the official app to stay up to date.
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