Arsenal look as though they’ll be forced into a defensive reshuffle ahead of their visit to face Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Thursday night, raising hopes of Roy Hodgson and co. stretching their unbeaten run to an unprecedented nine Premier League games.
With Spaniard Nacho Monreal having been substituted thanks to an injury he sustained during the Gunners’ 3-3 draw with Liverpool a few days ago, it looks likely that Arsene Wenger will be forced to recall Shkodran Mustafi to the starting line-up after spending most of December out of the side.
For all of the speculation that continues to swirl around Wenger’s long-term future at Arsenal, they’re currently on a six game unbeaten run in all competitions themselves, ensuring that Zaha, Benteke, Townsend and the rest of the squad will need to be at the top of their collective games if they are to hold out serious hopes of repeating the 3-0 victory they managed in SE25 last April.
Thanks to yesterday’s results, Palace find themselves just a point above the relegation zone with David Moyes’ West Ham sandwiched in between them and the bottom three. Given the fact that they’re set to welcome the seemingly unstoppable Manchester City to Selhurst just days after Thursday’s clash with Arsenal, Palace’s fans could be forgiven for feeling a tad nervous, not that they could have expected to be so well placed after the opening seven fixtures.
The boisterous atmosphere at Selhurst Park is regularly remarked upon in the press and is likely to play a major role, should Palace be able to cause another upset. Whilst we should not get ahead of ourselves, a club record eight straight Premier League games without defeat really is something for Hodgson and his coaching staff to be proud of; bringing a sense of confidence rather than complacency to our pre-match preparation.
We can’t be sure of extending that run in front of the TV cameras but with an enforced defensive change for the Gunners and a home side champing at the bit to get a crack at the Frenchman’s charges, there’s definitely more than a glimmer of hope for those of a red and blue persuasion.