Arsenal v Palace: the team predictions

By Bulldog Drummond

We have already seen the Guardian suggesting that Partey and Gabriel will play a part in tonight’s game

Sportsmole give us


Bellerin, Holding, Mari, Tierney;

Ceballos, Xhaka;

Saka, Smith Rowe, Aubameyang;


which looks to me very much like a team that ought to beat Palace.

Sky Sports won’t predict a team despite running the game themselves tonight.  But they do say that “Arsenal have lost their last two home Premier League matches played on Thursday, losing 0-3 to Man City in March 2018 and 1-2 to Brighton in December 2019. However, they did beat Crystal Palace the last time the sides met on a Thursday, winning 3-2 in December 2017.”   And one wonders, does that really have any relevance to anything.

There is another one of these things on a more positive note however

“Arsenal have conceded at least once in each of their last 11 Premier League home games – they last had a longer run without a home clean sheet between October 1983 and August 1984 (18 games).”

The Standard as usual has its confirmed team news but I am not sure who has confirmed it.  Their predicted line up is … exactly the same as the one above.

Football.London, as always on another planet, don’t give us a team but instead give us the full squad,  No mention of the word bloated however.  But the Daily Mirror can’t resist, and this morning has

Mikel Arteta’s side have had a relatively quiet January transfer window so far, but the … League side are set to shed some players as Arteta looks to trim his bloated squad. .”

One might however expect hammersnews to be somewhat behind the time (East London being 15 years behind GMT) and today they write of “Mikel Arteta having to shed players from a bloated squad.”  That really was yesterday’s news, guys.

There is an interesting one from WhoScored who tell us that “With everyone available, it’s fair to say Newcastle actually have a bloated squad,” but really that is the point.  Clubs are allowed to have 25 players – and that’s what they try and do.  But now it seems having anything over 20 players is called by these ever lazier copycat journalists, “a bloated squad”.

I wonder how the Mirror etc would feel if we always referred to their “bloated team of journalists”?  Or should that be, “a team of bloated journalists.”

The Hard Tackle has none of the bloaters however but has…

… exactly the same team lineup as above.

Pain in the Arsenal however to go to other lands and try


Bellerin, Holding, Mari, Tierney;

Partey, Smith Rowe, Xhaka;

Aubameyang Lacazette Saka

1st4FootballTickets doesn’t give us a possible line up, but does have the headline

Tickets for Arsenal v Crystal Palace available …

Actually guys I think that really would be illegal.

The Sun has just a minor variation with the team…


Bellerin, Holding, Mari, Tierney;

Partey, Xhaka;

Saka, Smith Rowe, Aubameyang



And one final variation on  that from the Daily Cannon


Bellerin, Holding, Mari, Tierney;

Ceballos, Xhaka;

Saka, Smith Rowe, Aubameyang


which turns out to be pretty much where we started.

But here’s a final thought.  According to Google, the opposite of “bloated” is “shrunken” so I guess if we do sell anyone the headlines will have to be “Arsenal’s shrunken squad”.

So the long and the short is going to be, if we win, that is to be expected.  If we lose it will be with everyone in our bloated squad present and a lot of bloated journalists will be getting bloated at The Bloated Scribbler, a new rival public house to the Toppled Bollard in Wapping Swamp.

After this game it is Newcastle again on Monday 18th, followed by the FA Cup 4th round against either Southampton or Shrewsbury.  But that game is not being played until 19 January, so as yet we don’t know who.  But we’ll be playing them sometime between 22 and 25 January.


15 Replies to “Arsenal v Palace: the team predictions”

  1. Arsenal starting XI: Leno; Bellerin, Luiz, Holding, Maitland-Niles; Ceballos, Xhaka; Saka, Smith Rowe, Aubameyang; Lacazette.

    Arsenal substitutes: Runarsson, Gabriel, Cedric, Chambers, Willock, Partey, Willian, Pepe, Nketiah.

  2. Tierney has a tight muscle so is rested.
    I think Mailand-Niles is an able replacement and he is not afraid to get forward on the flanks.

  3. Is it just my impression that thereferee giving some strange decisions. Auba pulled back inside the penalty area, no penalty or VAR review. Foul given to Palace in a good attacking position when no foul committed that i could see. Oh well have to do better in the second half.

  4. Mariner not ready for play to continue!!! WTF is hev doing officiating if he is not aware at all times.

  5. I would not complain about the yellow card for Luiz. However it was a clear example of uneven refereeing, since Palace were allowed to commit numerous fouls which were just as bad, including several by individual players, without any hint of a yellow card.

    Also, PEA was blatantly shoved in the back in the penalty area, with no reference being made to VAR. On the other hand, commentators kept on about a possible penalty when Saha pretended that Holding had fouled him.

  6. The dive by Saha was a card in any fair game but not when the Referee is liable to lose his Riley Bonus!!

  7. We are missing creativity when the absence of one player (Tierney) makes such a big difference.

  8. GGG – spot on!! Tierney is just so creative compared to AMN. Saka needs a foil to play with as there is nothing to stop him getting kicked. If he cannot pass quickly he gets fouled but not protected.

  9. I can’t help wondering if Pepe should be tried on the left (in the absence of Tierney). I can’t remember him trying to go outside and get to the byline a single time. The contrast with Tierney is stark. Not fair to put all the blame for lack of cutting edge on one player, but Pepe is offering the team next to nothing on the right. Arteta must have his reasons for bringing him on ahead of Martinelli, but how many chances can he be given?
    But at least we didn’t lose, which on another day we would have done. Put 5 past Newcastle and all will be well again.

  10. I don’t think Ceballos and Smith Rowe can play together. Ceballos likes to drift into a more forward or No. 10 role forcing Smith Rowe out wide. He created a few chances after Ceballos was withdrawn. Let Smith Rowe be the 10 as he makes things happen. certainly more creative than Ceballos.

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