By Bulldog Drummond
Crystal Palace are a yellow card team – they have had 45 this season, making them the third most carded team in the league. Arsenal are mid-table in this regard. However they are not too bad on shots with 301 this season to Arsenal’s 393.
They have kept five clean sheets this season (Arsenal have nine) but they have delivered the second most tackles of any team in the Premier League this season. Only Huddersfield have tackled more.
There is still the issue over Kolasinac being injured or not, but all other things being equal it looks like we should have a strong lineup available for the game today. The Guardian says he is.
With Maitland Niles out with a sickness (or maybe back from sickness, the reporters vary in their reports) but Monreal back I imagine it will be a back three of Chambers or Holding, Koscielny and Mustafi leaving Bellerin and Monreal as the wing backs. Holding has started five league games this season and Chambers four, so it could be either.
The BBC is the place where we are told Maitland Niles has recovered from his illness but I suspect that means he will either be given more time to recover or be on the beach.
What we don’t know about is Ozil so this makes it tough to work out what is going to be going on. Here’s one guess
Holding Koscielny Mustafi
Bellerin Wilshere Xhaka Monreal
That would leave us on the beach with a selection from
Ospina, Debuchy, Chambers, Maitland-Niles, Mavropanos, Mertesacker, Elneny, Iwobi, Nelson, Akpom, Welbeck
Theo and Coquelin are with us no more of course. Farewell old friends – there is a lot of affection for both these guys at Untold and we really do wish them well.
However, we are informed that Alexis did train with the rest of the squad yesterday, so I suppose there is a chance he could be there.
Leaving that one out of the reckoning another approach might be
Chambers, Mustafi, Holding,
Bellerin, Wilshere, Xhaka, Kolasinac,
Personally I do hope that Ramsey and Wilshere can play on the pitch together; it would be fascinating to see how the two could work their magic at the same time, especially if one could move forwards as the other drops back, with the opposition having no idea which one is going to take the game on. If they can’t both get in the team at the same time I fear for the future of one of them.
In some wild fantasy land I imagine a midfield trio of
with Ozil moving out to the left when one of the other two goes hunting forwards.
Building on this one could put Lacazette up front with Ozil free to play to the left of him and Ramsey or Wilshere free to attack on the wing.
Now we’ve got to have some serious defenders behind them so
Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal
Pretty weird I know, but. well, it helped pass a few minutes as everyone else at Untold threw current buns at me. Mind you I did catch one of them and it was quite nice with some jam.
Of course we also have a little matter of the League Cup semi-final coming up with that standing at 0-0 so there may be some shuffling around in order to arrange the right XI for that game too.
Anyway, I am sorry to say that is it for today. We’re all off to the game, and after that I’m doing the usual post-match thing, Tony’s getting the train back to the Midlands with some of the gang and then going to his saturday night bop, and Walter is once again entertaining friends and family. It’s just one long party for some of these guys.
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