Unai Emery admits Arsenal need to start games with more urgency as they look to make it 12 straight wins in all competitions against Crystal Palace, live on Super Sunday.
The Gunners beat Sporting Lisbon 1-0 on Thursday, meaning Emery has not tasted defeat since August 18 but one criticism has been their slow start to matches – which was evident again at the Estadio Jose Alvalade.
Head coach Emery concedes it is an issue, saying: “Each match is a very big opportunity to improve things and one thing is this.
“But the most important thing is that when we were in the dressing room at half-time, we spoke and we need to continue finding the solution for us to be better in the first halves.”
Meanwhile, Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson has said his side’s lack of goals is a concern, with the London club having only netted twice in their last six Premier League games but he remains confident that the goals will begin to flow again soon.
“You can’t win football matches unless you score goals,” he said. “Of course it’s a concern but the fact is there isn’t much more you can about it except keep working, keep trying to create goal chances and hope some of them go in.
C Palace vs Arsenal
October 28, 2018, 12:30pm
“We’ve not been a team that has spurned many penalty opportunities, for example, but we spurned one the other day. Unfortunately when you get into the type of run that we find ourselves in, that’s the sort of thing that happens.
“The players know what is required, they know they have got the ability and wherewithal to score the goals.”
Midfielder Max Meyer and forward Alexander Sørloth are both available for selection after missing last week’s defeat against Everton but Christian Benteke and Joel Ward will not return in time for Sunday’s clash at Selhurst Park.
Arsenal will be hoping to have either Nacho Monreal or Sead Kolasinac back in the squad for their Premier League trip to Crystal Palace.
Both left-backs missed the Europa League win at Sporting Lisbon with hamstring problems as Granit Xhaka filled the gap in defence.
Petr Cech will be pushing for a recall in goal having overcome his own hamstring complaint, with Ainsley Maitland-Niles (leg) and Laurent Koscielny (Achilles) also back in training but unlikely to be up to speed.
- Crystal Palace have lost nine of their last 11 Premier League matches against Arsenal (W1 D1), losing both games in 2017-18.
- Arsenal have only lost one of their nine away Premier League visits to Crystal Palace (W6 D2), a 0-3 reverse in April 2017.
- Crystal Palace have netted just three goals in their last eight Premier League games, failing to score on five occasions in this run. Only in 2017-18 (2) have the Eagles scored fewer goals after the first nine games to a top-flight season than in 2018-19 (5).
- Arsenal have won more points (437) and averaged more points per game (1.81) in Premier League London derbies than any other team.
- Arsenal lost their first five away matches on Sundays in all competitions in 2018 – they have since won each of their last three.
Arsenal are on an amazing run. Against Leicester they could have been 3-0 down at the break but were outstanding in the second half. I do not know how they do it. Arsenal’s big worry is when they play Liverpool next week – I dread to think what that score will be.
They will beat Palace as they will open this game up. Palace cannot score goals. I’m worried for them, they need to start winning games. That pressure is taking its toll on Wilfried Zaha.
PAUL PREDICTS: 1-3 (14/1 with Sky Bet)
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