Crystal Palace vs Arsenal Preview: Improvement or Regression


When Arsenal go play Crystal Palace on Saturday we will see if they’ve improved or regressed since they last played Crystal Palace during the season opener.

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Last time around, Arsenal won 2-1 yet to any of us who watched the game, it looked like there was no way Arsenal deserved that victory.

Crystal Palace is well organized in the back, and their counter-attack is a serious threat to Arsenal. Yet the Gunners have played far better since the start of the season. Can they muster up enough creativity to break down this Palace defense?

Prediction: Crystal Palace 0-2 Arsenal

1) Francis Coquelin will be why Palace will not score

I think this game will be very enjoyable for Arsenal fans to watch. The reason: Crystal Palace will sit back and look to counter. Francis Coquelin will be there to inject some physicality and defend against the counter-attack much better.

Coquelin has shown all of us how important the holding midfield position is for Arsenal and when he plays, the defense and midfield looks much better. Coquelin injects energy, physicality and good tackling into this squad. When he is on the pitch I have felt a lot calmer watching the game.

Jun 26, 2014; Recife, BRAZIL; Germany midfielder Mesut Ozil (8) passes the ball past United States midfielder Jermaine Jones (13) and midfielder Graham Zusi (19) during the second half of Germany

2) Ozil & Cazorla can play in the same midfield

If these past few games have proven anything, it is that you can have two creative midfielders and still be effective for 90 minutes. Ozil has not lost his wonderful touch and control, while gaining a few pounds during his injury stint.

Ozil definitely looks like he was in the gym and finally has a body that can cope with all the bumps and hits in the Premier League.

Santi Cazorla looks like he can link the defense and the attack together, playing everywhere on the pitch. Together they give Arsenal a lot of creativity and set up numerous chances with touches of brilliance. With the two playing, Arsenal has enough creativity to break down any good defensive side!

3) Alexis Sanchez isn’t as hot but it’s okay

Remember when everyone feared the worst when Alexis Sanchez took a game off a few weeks ago? Everyone, including writers on Pain in the Arsenal, suggested that Arsenal would be doomed if Sanchez was injured.

Well look at us now! Arsenal has been able to cope beautifully, Sanchez doesn’t need to be the hero every night and that makes Arsenal a more dangerous team.

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Next: The Curious Case of Santi Cazorla at Arsenal