Arsenal vs Crystal Palace

Emirates Stadium forms the backdrop for an all-London Premier League match-up between Arsenal and Crystal Palace.

Despite spending the second consecutive Christmas at the top of the Premier League table, Arsenal finished the last calendar year in fourth, five points adrift of pacesetters Liverpool. A morale-damaging 2-0 loss to the ‘Reds’ in FA Cup action at the start of 2024 compounded the misery of back-to-back defeats in the top-flight London derbies at the hands of Fulham and West Ham at the tail-end of 2023. Liverpool’s triumph at the Emirates condemned the ‘Gunners’ to their worst seven-game sequence under Mikel Arteta (W1, D2, L4), intensifying pressure on the Spaniard to deliver in Arsenal’s first Premier League game of the new calendar year. Palace’s cross-capital trip could be what the doctor ordered, with Arsenal emerging victorious in their last three H2Hs, including a narrow 1-0 win in the reverse fixture.

In the meantime, Crystal Palace suffered a false start to 2024, bowing out of the FA Cup third round at the hands of Everton. After a goalless draw in the initial leg at home, Roy Hodgson’s side slumped to a 1-0 loss at Goodison Park. Consecutive scoring blanks cast significant doubt on Palace’s effort to overcome a dreadful run of just one win in their last nine Premier League outings (D3, L5). Stuck only five points clear of the relegation zone, the ‘Eagles’ head into proceedings off the back of four successive away league games without victory (D2, L2). To make things worse, they’ve conceded precisely two goals on three occasions during that stretch.

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