Arsenal

Arsenal line-ups vs Crystal palace as Havertz recalled, havertz handed chance and Martinelli decision made

Mikel Arteta will hope Arsenal produce a comeback win on their return to action when they host Crystal Palace at the Emirates.
Arsene Wenger once famously said that losing two games is a problem, but three defeats in a row amounts to a crisis. Whether Mikel Arteta considers this as one remains the question, but the Spaniard will undoubtedly demand answers from Arsenal, who are engulfed in an offensive rut, when they take on Crystal Palace on Saturday.

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Being top of the table at Christmas was seen as a massive boost to their title hopes, only for the balloon to deflate in the following two games. After a stellar run in London derbies, Arsenal have lost each of their last two, as West Ham United and Fulham beat the Gunners, which has since pushed them down to fourth. The third defeat came at the hands of Liverpool in the FA Cup.
Arteta will hope the warm-weather training camp in Dubai might have rejuvenated his players as he looks to get his side up to speed with the title race. Tottenham’s draw with Manchester United was a favourable result for the Gunners, and Arteta will hope to get a win to galvanise the group and get back on track with the championship run from here on.

Unlike Arsenal, probably no other team had the luxury to opt for a training camp away from England, and Crystal Palace were kept busy by their FA Cup commitments. The Eagles managed a goalless draw at Selhurst Park with Everton. But the Toffees got one over their counterparts in the replay.
Andre Gomes’s first-half strike proved enough to keep the Eagles at bay, and Roy Hodgson will focus his attention on matters in the league. Not only will the Crystal Palace manager want a good result against Arsenal, but he will probably think this is the perfect time to face the Gunners, who appear out of ideas.

In the Premier League, Crystal Palace have had a mixed run of results recently. But they did manage to beat Brentford in the latest fixture. Hodgson will want his side to maintain form and take the Gunners head-on. The Eagles are also not too far away from the relegation zone, and their veteran manager will demand results to steer clear of any possibility of dropping very close to the bottom three.

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The Dubai trip did provide plenty of fitness updates for Arsenal fans, as the tour saw Jurrien Timber running on grass again. While the Dutchman could theoretically play again this season, he is nowhere close to making a comeback in the present.
Thomas Partey was also part of the group that travelled to Dubai but was not seen in regular training. Fabio Vieira and Emile Smith Rowe appeared sharp and fit. The duo could form a part of the matchday squad against Crystal Palace, although Vieira remains a doubt still. The Gunners are also missing Takehiro Tomiyasu and Mohamed Elneny, with the pair representing Japan and Egypt, at the AFC Asian Cup and the Africa Cup of Nations respectively.

Gabriel Jesus is also back in action after a recent knee complaint, while Ben White also appeared to be at his usual level after some reports suggesting he has been carrying a niggle all this while. There are still doubts over Oleksandr Zinchenko’s participation and whether he has recovered from his recent problem.

Arteta may not want to take a significant risk with the fitness of his players despite many of those doubtful featuring in full training in Dubai. Hence, there are chances that the Arsenal boss will deploy a similar side against Crystal Palace to the one that lost the FA Cup clash to Liverpool, with David Raya the only potential change from that lineup.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Raya; Ben White, Saliba, Gabriel, Kiwior; Odegaard, Jorginho, Rice; Saka, Havertz, Martinelli

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Crystal Palace
Roy Hodgson does not have any fresh injury problems with his side but will continue to miss several critical stars. Chief among them is Michael Olise, who remains out with a thigh problem, and there are no suggestions about a return date yet. Another winger, Jordan Ayew, has joined up with the Ghana squad and will miss the forthcoming games.

Former Arsenal defender Rob Holding will also miss out with ankle trouble, although the centre-back would not have started had he been fit. In Olise’s absence, Matheus Franca could deputise on the right wing, while Jeffrey Schlupp could take his place on the left-hand side of the attack.

Eberechi Eze will complete the attacking setup and in support of central striker Jean-Philippe Mateta. Will Hughes and Jefferson Lerma are best placed to hold the fort in central midfield. At the back, with Joel Ward still absent, Nathaniel Clyne seems best placed for the right-back role.

Tyrick Mitchell will remain at left-back. Joachim Andersen and Marc Guehi are Hodgson’s first-choice centre-backs, and the Crystal Palace boss will be glad they are fit to take their places. Dean Henderson will get the nod between the sticks over Sam Johnstone.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Henderson; Clyne, Andersen, Guehi, Mitchell; Hughes, Lerma; Franca, Eze, Schlupp; Mateta

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Irrespective of whether Gabriel Jesus plays, Kai Havertz may find himself in a starting role either in midfield or at the tip of the attack. Mikel Arteta tasked the German with the centre-forward role against Liverpool, where to his credit, he did perform well and got into good positions, but proved profilgate.

Havertz has seen a drop off in performances after a period of renaissance. Hence, in an era where the slightest of mistakes come under scrutiny, there is a need for the German to put in a stellar performance to showcase his worth to the fans and his manager.

Prediction
Arsenal 2-0 Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace may have come out victorious in their last London derby against Brentford. But Arsenal are a different gravy. The Eagles might also have a favourable record at the Emirates during their recent visits; they will have to unearth an extraordinary performance to find a positive result at this venue.

Arsenal are hurt and will want to answer their critics in a big way. Mikel Arteta will hope his side produces a flawless display and repairs their offensive rut, something the players will likely address against Palace. Hence, the result points towards a Gunners victory and taking them back into the reckoning of the title race.

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