Date: 28th December 2017 at 8:32am

Arsenal take on Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park in a bid to reduce the gap to their four rivals.

Arsene Wenger’s side have dropped to 6th in the Premier League having taken just one win from their previous five league games.

Arsenal do not have fond memories of their last visit to south London back in April. The Gunners were humiliated 3-0 by the relegation threatened team, then managed by Sam Allardyce.

Now it is Roy Hodgeson at the helm and the former England boss appears to have the Eagles on the right path.

A tricky 90 minutes awaits…

TEAM NEWS

Olivier Giroud is definitely out. The Frenchman was forced off in the League Cup win over West Ham last week and continues to nurse his hamstring strain.

Aaron Ramsey remains sidelined with the same problem, while Santi Cazorla is a long-term absentee.

As for the hosts; Christian Benteke is likely to be involved after serving his one-match ban. But the game comes to early for Joel Ward, who is out with a hamstring injury.

Dejected Arsenal dugout during their 3-0 defeat in April

Dejected Arsenal dugout during their 3-0 defeat in April

PREDICTED ARSENAL XI

Jack Wilshere is expected to continue in the heart of the midfield. The Englishman impressed in his first ‘big’ test against Liverpool and will now be called upon to see the Gunners dominate the ball and quiet the Palace crowd.

Despite scoring, fans aimed criticism at Granit Xhaka for a poor first-half display against Liverpool. The Swiss midfielder will continue, but will be under the watchful eye of supporters.

As will Arsenal’s defence, who were at sixes and sevens at times during the 3-3 draw. Ainsley Maitland-Niles is likely to step out for Sead Kolasinac this time around.

Arsenal XI: Cech; Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Kolasinac; Wilshere, Xhaka, Ozil; Sanchez, Welbeck, Lacazette.

MATCH PREDICTION

Arsenal need to close the gap to their rivals. but come up against an in form opposition.

It’s anybodies guess as to what Arsenal turn up – though a repeat of April’s contest is surely inconceivable?

Prediction: 2-2

Gooners, what are you predictions ahead of the match? Let us know in the comments…

 

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