As Saturdays go that wasn’t a great one if you are still praying for the annual neighbours meltdown. At Arsene’s press conference on Friday the point was made that we are actually two points better off after 29 matches than we were last season. Two points isn’t that much progress when the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool, and the two Manchester clubs have been much more consistent than a year ago.
All that pales into insignificance when you consider that the neighbours need just five wins from their last seven matches to postpone St Totteringham’s Day for the first time in 22 years. Somewhat ironically the team from the bus stop in Fulham also need to win five of their last seven to clinch the Premier League title after their win at Bournemouth.
All Arsenal can do is extend that victory over West Ham into a winning run and keep the pressure up on those around us. Crystal Palace, who hauled themselves three points clear of the relegation zone with that shock win at Chelsea last week, will surely come into the game with confidence anew. Welcome to the pointed end of the season, which we usually do pretty well.
Emiliano Martinez will get another chance in goal at Selhurst Park on Monday night, and is likely to be behind the same back four as Laurent Koscielny is still ruled out, thankfully with a less serious injury than was originally feared. Francis Coquelin is available again but such was the performance of Mohamed Elneny and Granit Xhaka against West Ham it is hard to see that formation not being given another chance.
The only change that is likely from last Wednesday is surely Olivier Giroud for Danny Welbeck. The Frenchman’s wonderful strike when he came on as a second-half substitute was a clear indication that he is somewhere close to his best and a little frustrated at spending so much time on the bench.
Palace themselves are being stretched to their limit. A quick check on physioroom.com shows they are missing eleven players at the moment, although James McArthur may return if he passes a fitness test. No wonder they might struggle without the likes of Cabaye, Remy, Tomkins, Dann, and van Aanholt. Sam Allardyce might not be everyones cup of tea, but to get the points last week with so many out shows he has the players that are fit buying into his methods and tactics.
The danger men could be the pacy Puncheon and in-form Zaha, particularly as Hector Bellerin is seemingly restricted at the moment. We will also want to cut out the supply line to the centre-forward for the second game in a row. Benteke shares a number of traits with Andy Carroll and must be respected.
The ‘holic pound
I’ve read that back. I hope it does not make for a depressing read, for that isn’t the intention. I do think we should carry good form and confidence from the last match into the next. I do think we can score another three goals at Selhust Park. Having taken the advice of one who knows better I am switching my recent run of punts from 3-2 to 3-1 in our favour. Shop around to get this scoreline at 14/1.
Have a blast, all who are fortunate enough to have tickets for Monday. Let it be the second win in our end of season twelve wins in a row!