Crystal Palace-Arsenal Preview
Though Arsenal continue to shine during Europa League play, they need to bounce back from a rather unthinkable loss within the confines of the Premier League.
The Gunners get the opportunity to do so when they welcome Crystal Palace to the Emirates on Sunday.
When looking at the international picture, Nicolas Pepe's late equalising and go-ahead goals to give Arsenal a stirring 3-2 home win this week over Vitoria de Guimaraes was vital and much-needed in their pursuit of a Europa League title. Back on the home front,
Arsenal (4-3-2) might want to re-channel their focus after falling 1-0 at promoted side Sheffield United on Monday.
Their latest Europa triumph, however, might be the spark needed for a domestic bounce back.
"We want to keep pushing and evolving as a team," defender Hector Bellerin told Arsenal's official website. "Sometimes winning when you think you're about to lose can do more for your confidence than just winning by four or give goals. I think it's going to be very important and positive for the whole team."
It also helps that the Gunners, who enter this matchday fifth in the Premier League table, will be home, where they are 7-2-0 over all competitions since losing - coincidentally - to Crystal Palace on April 21.
"For us, winning at home is always really important," Bellerin added. "We want the Emirates to be our fortress, and it's always been like that. Palace is another game at home."
But an opponent Arsenal must take seriously, especially after last season. Christian Benteke had a goal with an assist whilst Wilfried Zaha and James McArthur also scored for the Palace in that triumph at the Emirates. These Eagles (4-2-3) have won at Manchester United and West Ham United this season, but look to rebound from a 2-0 home defeat to Manchester City last weekend.
"It's our second game in a week in which we will probably have to accept that possession will be hard to get," manager Roy Hodgson told Crystal Palace's official website. "And, there will be long periods of the game where we are going to have to run and contain the opponents without seeing much of the ball. We need to be very mindful that when we do get the ball back, we've got to use it very wisely."
Zaha, who reportedly was targeted by Arsenal during the offseason, has not scored in eight Premier League games this season.
Meanwhile, Arsenal star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has a team-leading seven goals in Premier League play, but none in his last two contests. He had a goal in each of the league matches versus Palace in 2018-19.
Updated October 25, 2019