A must win game especially with the spuds just losing the hardest of their remaining five fixtures. It’s given us the chance to go two points ahead if we can win and give them some cause for concern, while also giving us extra hope of seeing out these tricky aways we face on Wednesday and Sunday. After such a fine performance against Napoli, the lads should be feeling full of confidence – let’s forget the Watford match!
Big Sok is serving the second game of his 2 match ban for being Greek. So, let’s put our hands together for squad player Shkodran. Three or four at the back? Three plus wingbacks would seem the best chance of providing the width necessary to get round the bus.
Granit is being assessed but maybe might not be risked if Matteo and the Terrier are both ready to go. So the midfield is sorted, with Guendouzi playing more in a deep Ramsey role with licence to roam forward a little, allowing the Terrier to excel at what he’s best at. (Update: it would appear from Jeorge Bird on twitter that both Granit and the Terrier were in full training yesterday 🙂 )
Rambo is definitely out for an unspecified period. Home against Palace is, perhaps, the perfect scenario for Mesut, so he’ll probably start. Back at home we need the variety that the left and right side wing forwards Iwobi and Mkhitaryan bring, so maybe that’s the way to go. However, with Mesut to definitely start, means him playing central midfielder which is unlikely (assuming a centre forward is chosen to play).
Perhaps Auba or Laca will be given some pine time – Auba would be the popular choice. If he is, he’ll be itching to come on for a cameo 30 minutes and score a couple.
Our home record against Palace is pretty good but nothing can be taken for granted at this stage of the season. Townsend always plays better against us and Zaha, Benteke, Wickham and Batshitcrazy are all useful on their day.
Roy Wagnerson usually likes his teams to play some football so Palace may not be the most adept at parking the bus which might produce a game of decent football at the Emirates today.
Ant and me will be suitably enthusiastic about the match by the time our train gets into St Pancras (bang on time, hopefully) soon after 12.30pm.
Heaven knows how we’ll entertain ourselves at Finsbury Park in the intervening period before setting off for the ground!
p.s. Let’s hope Everton are up for the game against the red mancs