The Armchair Gooner

An Arsenal blog bringing you news, opinion and humour on a daily basis. Well, I'll try at the very least…

Crystal Palace, Premiership (h): Team News, Thoughts And Predicted Starting XI

Mikel points the way.

Afternoon, folks.

Having offered you two whole posts of Dyllan Munro’s inimitable madness today, I feel compelled to at least try to put something of my own into the swirling mess of cyberspace. Buoyed by the return of Premiership football, I’ve dispensed my floundering and felt scintillating enthusiasm wash over me. The past few months have been a farrago of irksome tasks and bureaucracy, coupled with no small measure of indolence on my part. Although moving to a new home – I move this Monday – will leave me bereft on an Internet connection for the first week, I shall endeavour to post when I can.

So, onto the football.

We go into the coming season with high hopes. Justifiably so. It seems almost an eternity since good will and excitement was as prevalent amongst the supporters of Arsenal. Alexis Sanchez is a genuinely fantastic signing, Chambers, Ospina and Debuchy look solid, professional additions to the defence and there’s still plenty of time for one or two more additions. The squad looks very healthy indeed.

Most importantly, the frequently mentioned trophy drought is now well and truly behind us – a compelling performance against Manchester City last week added the Charity Shield to last May’s FA Cup triumph. Confidence is palpable throughout.

Yet Football can be a fickle mistress. A draw or worse against manager-less Crystal Palace today could lead to the voices of discontent resurfacing which have been conspicuous by their absence through the summer – aside from the odd perpetually miserable individual here and there or those using witless vitriol to make a name for themselves.. We’ve a tricky Champions league qualifier with Besiktas on the horizon, so getting off to a good start is imperative.

The team news doesn’t hold many surprises. Our trio of World Cup winners all miss out through lack of fitness, Walcott and Gnabry are sidelined with troublesome knees. The one slight concern is Laurent Koscielny. The Frenchman should come through tests and start, but his absence certainly shows up our need for another central defender as the only remaining option would be the unbridled terror of Nacho Monreal alongside Chambers.

My guess is:

They are minus the cap-wearing sh*thouse antics of Tony Pulis today, but I don’t expect Palace to be a walk over. Stretching the game and allowing space won’t be to their benefit, so expect them to get 10 behind the ball and aim to capitalise on set-pieces in our half. ┬áMany people are predicting a thumping, but I think a combination of first day nerves and frustration will see us looking at a 1-0 victory.

At this stage, performance is secondary to results. The team will gel and grow as the weeks pass. We shouldn’t expect that to happen instantaneously. That’s what I think, boys ‘n’ girls, what about you? Use the comments below to give me your predictions on the outcome and the first Arsenal scorer of the 2014/2015 season.

I shall try to pop back tomorrow and post a review of the game. Until that point, and as always; thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.

Category: Arsenal
  • Veer says:

    I think a decent season would be a top 2 finish, a domestic cup, and the last 8 or better in Europe.

    August 16, 2014 at 4:28 pm
  • Ray from Norfolk, Virginia says:

    Raul,
    I would go for repeat FA cup winners, top 3 finish in the Prem, and last 4 in the CL or better.
    I do not care whatsoever about the “other” cup, whatever its name happens to currently be.
    PS: Waiting for your upcoming post with impatience, including your personal events update.

    August 25, 2014 at 7:24 am

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