Crystal Palace travel to face Arsenal at The Emirates this Sunday knowing that their Premier League status has been all but secured but for the Gunners, an injury issue sustained against Watford has left them sweating.
Uruguayan midfielder Lucas Torreira started for Unai Emery’s side at Vicarage Road but was brought off at half-time for Mesut Ozil; a decision his manager said was made for two differing reasons. Indeed, after just 11 minutes, the midfield man was involved in an incident with Troy Deeney which saw the Hornets’ captain sent off. For Emery, that incident and the reaction it provoked from the home fans, sewed a seed of doubt over Torreira’s continued involvement beyond the interval.
With a game against Napoli in the Europa League knockout stages looming this Thursday, there remains some hope that Lucas will be able to take part but after the Arsenal doctor informed their boss that the player was feeling his groin after 45 minutes, it is far from a given that he’ll be named in the starting line-up. If he indeed is, the fatigue brought on by a trip to southern Italy may cast doubt over his inclusion against the Eagles at The Emirates less than 72 hours later.
It goes without saying that Arsenal’s strength in depth is far greater than what Roy Hodgson has at his disposal but even so, it’ll be a real blow to their tactical plans if Torreira is forced to sit out Sunday’s game. Whilst they are in decent form both at home and on the continent, the continuing relentless race for a place in the top four offers no room for error, leaving the door open for Palace to spoil the party with a performance free of pressure.
Do you fancy Zaha, Benteke and co. to pull off an upset?