Arsenal’s first game after the international break is quite a significant one.
Club legend and former captain Patrick Vieira returns to N5 as his Crystal Palace side look to complete a north London double by recording only their second win of the season.
The Frenchman can perhaps take confidence from the fact that Palace’s recent record in this fixture is rather impressive – and worrying for the Gunners – as they’re unbeaten in their last three trips to the Emirates Stadium.
But Arsenal did win the last meeting between the two sides back at Selhurst Park in May with Nicolas Pepe proving to be the star of the show as he netted a brace in a 3-1 victory.
A repeat scoreline will be exactly what’s on the menu for Arsenal as they look to ensure Vieira’s homecoming doesn’t end with him taking any points back to south London.
And the good news for the Gunners is things are looking rather rosy on the injury front.
Once again, Granit Xhaka is the only first-team player definitely unavailable for selection, although Gabriel Martinelli is doubtful after picking up a knock in training.
With that said, a near full-strength squad will present manager Mikel Arteta with a selection headache ahead of naming his line-up to face the Eagles.
Luckily for the Spaniard, football.london ‘s Arsenal writers Kaya Kaynak and Tashan Deniran-Alleyne are on hand to provide their say on who should start at the Amex Stadium.
Kaya Kaynak – Arsenal writer
For me the big issue Arsenal faced against Brighton last time out was their inability to hold on to the ball.
The problem in my opinion was not so much the personnel in the team, but the way they were set up.
You would be a fool to change any of that back five who have conceded just one goal in their last four matches. Ben White and Gabriel both stayed at home during the international break so you get the feeling they’ll be fresh and ready for this one.
Into midfield is where I would change things though.
I’m a huge fan of the 4-3-3 and would like to see it resumed, but I am an even bigger fan of Emile Smith Rowe playing on the left.
As a result, I’d keep Partey as the six, put Odegaard on the left as a free eight and have Albert Sambi Lokonga playing the same role on the right.
Bukayo Saka would be on the right-wing with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang up top in what would be an exciting and experimental lineup.
Kaynak’s Arsenal XI vs Crystal Palace: Ramsdale; Tomiyasu, White, Gabriel, Tierney; Partey; Odegaard, Sambi Lokonga; Saka, Aubameyang, Smith Rowe
Introduction of safe standing, the effects of Newcastle’s takeover, the World Cup in Qatar – have your say on football’s biggest issues in the survey below.
Tashan Deniran-Alleyne – Arsenal writer
When it comes to the Arsenal defence, an ‘if it ain’t, broke don’t fix it approach’ is necessary as the back four of Takehiro Tomiyasu, Ben White, Gabriel Magalhaes and Kieran Tierney in front of Aaron Ramsdale has looked solid.
Whilst the full-backs have been on international duty, playing on Monday night allows them to have had enough time to rest and recharge their batteries, thus allowing Arteta to named an unchanged back five for a fifth Premier League game in a row.
Although, when it comes to the Gunners’ attack a different approach is required, as aside from the win over Tottenham, scoring goals has been a major issue.
Emile Smith Rowe’s performances for England U21’s have provided Arteta with a selection and formation dilemma as the attacking midfielder looked at home playing from the left-wing.
However, with the forward line in need of freshening up, I think it’s worth dropping the Arsenal No.10 into a central midfield role where he can operate as one of two ‘8’s alongside Thomas Partey and Martin Odegaard.
That allows Nicolas Pepe to make his first Premier League start in a month, but on the left-wing instead of the right, as Bukayo Saka’s performances have improved on that side.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will likely lead the line again, meaning Alexandre Lacazette has to settle for a place on the bench once again despite an impressive cameo against Brighton.
Deniran-Alleyne’s XI vs Crystal Palace : Ramsdale; Tomiyasu, White, Gabriel, Tierney; Partey, Odegaard, Smith Rowe; Saka, Aubameyang, Pepe
Source by Football London