Arsenal begin their season against Crystal Palace on Saturday at the Emirates.
Arsenal (Possible, 4-1-4-1): Szczesny; Debuchy, Chambers, Koscielny, Gibbs; Arteta; Sánchez, Ramsey, Wilshere, Cazorla; Giroud.
Injuries: Gnabry (knee), Ospina (thigh), Mertesacker, Özil, Podolski (all match fitness), Miyaichi (hamstring, Walcott (knee),Koscielny (Achilles).
Crystal Palace Palace (Possible, 4-4-2): Speroni; Kelly, Dann, Hangeland, Ward; Bolasie, Jedinak, Ledley, Puncheon; Chamakh, Campbell.
Injuries: Mariappa (ribs), Delaney, Williams (both unspecified).
Arsenal will start the new Premier league season without Theo Walcott who is out due to a knee injury. German trio Mertesacker, Özil and Podolski are all out due to their late return from the World Cup. New signing David Ospina will also miss the game due to thigh injury. Koscielny is doubtful, but in all likely he will feature alongside new signing Calum Chambers at centre-back. Alexis Sanchez will also make his official home debut. Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere and Mikel Arteta will all start in the central midfield. Giroud is expected to start up front for Arsenal.
Tony Pulis left Crystal Palace just before the Premier league opener and caretaker manager Keith Millen will select the team against Arsenal on Saturday. They will be without Damien Delaney and Jonathan Williams. Adrian Mariappa is expected to be fit for the game.
Arsene Wenger: “I believe we have a chance because we were a long time top of the league last year. It is difficult to know how much better the other teams will be. We have some challenges we have of course to face that we did not face well last year, and that means we have to take more points from the top teams. “That will be our real challenge this year and also to keep the consistency against the teams who do not fight for the championship. We finished fourth last year and made 79 points. Man City won it with 86, so it was very tight in the top four, that is one or two games.”
Keith Millen on the departure of Tony Pulis: “We’ve been frustrated we haven’t got the players in we wanted but we were all looking forward to the game yesterday. He’ll be a tough act to follow. We’ve got to get over the shock of what has happened.
- Arsenal have won none of their last four Premier League opening weekend fixtures (D3 L1); including defeat to Aston Villa at home last season (1-3). They had won eight of the previous nine (D1).
- Palace have won just one of their five opening weekend fixtures in the Premier League (D2 L2).
- 2013/14 was the first time that Crystal Palace managed to avoid relegation from a Premier League season.
- If Arsenal win this match, they will have recorded 100 Premier League victories at the Emirates Stadium.
- Mikel Arteta has scored two goals in three Premier League games against Crystal Palace.
- Olivier Giroud has scored six goals in his last six Premier League appearances at the Emirates Stadium.
- Arsene Wenger’s side have won their last five Premier League games in a row; they have not been on a longer run of consecutive victories since March 2012 (7).
- Tony Pulis’ side have lost just one of their last eight Premier League matches (W5 D2 L1).
- Arsenal have won seven and lost just one of the 10 previous Premier League encounters with Crystal Palace.
- The Gunners were the most accurate team in terms of shooting last season; hitting the target with 54 per cent of their attempts at goal.
Arsenal 3-0 Crystal Palace
Aaron Ramsey and Calum Chambers.
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