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Arsenal vs Crystal Palace: Zaha and Eze threaten different test to improve Gunners


The Eagles duo can trouble any side on this day and Mikel Arteta is hoping they will be out of their game on Thursday.

About three weeks ago, when Arsenal appeared to be in dire straits after a string of unjustifiable performances and results, fans may have been dreading facing Crystal Palace, the team they host at the ‘Emirates Stadium Thursday.

The supposed fear was not related to the form of Palace at the time, but rather to the internal problems of North London; Mikel Arteta’s side had been winless in the Premier League for almost two months, were poor in almost every area and appeared to have lost the fledgling structure that embodied their early growth under the young Spain manager.

Observers are focused on that seven-game winless streak, but tend to forget the streak of results even before their 1-0 win against Manchester United on November 1 isn’t inspiring. A four-game win until they ended a 14-year absence of league-winning streaks at Old Trafford meant the form book read two wins in 12 ahead of Chelsea’s visit on Boxing Day.

The success over the West Londoners, along with the maximum points against Brighton & Hove Albion and West Bromwich Albion took Arsenal to 11th place, albeit nine points behind fourth in the table.

While there is a tendency to be excited about the North London team’s results, it should be noted that the turnaround came against a Blues team which are in a very difficult time, a team of Brighton who have won only twice all season and The Albion with just one win since regaining promotion. This last pair is also in the bottom four of the table.

One thing Arteta’s men have going for them right now is momentum, but facing Palace threatens to put an end to the UAE feel-good factor on Thursday.

Roy Hodgson’s side may not be enough to maintain a decent to good level of performance and results enough to see them finish in the top half of the PL, but they mostly seem to be up to the challenge against top opposition. level.

Their 3-1 win on Matchday 1 against Manchester United was deserved, they weathered Tottenham Hotspur in a 1-1 stalemate in mid-December and were just minutes away from the win over Leicester City in their final game of 2020.

Admittedly, there have been disappointing results against Chelsea away (4-0) and that 7-0 annihilation by Liverpool on December 19, matches that highlighted the ease with which the Eagles have come in some meetings this quarter.

When they are there, however, Hodgson’s team pose problems for the opposition with their staunch defense and threat in transition.

Wilfried Zaha Gary Cahill Crystal Palace 2020-21

The latter is undoubtedly helped by the talismanic Wilfried Zaha, now skillfully assisted by the talented Eberechi Eze since his arrival from Queens Park Rangers this summer. Even though Zaha’s danger is widely known, her clutch performance for lifting a largely average Palace side shines pretty consistently.

The kind of danger the aforementioned stars possess has come to the fore in the Eagles’ stalemate against Leicester at Selhurst Park and their victory over Sheffield United to start 2021. Against the Foxes, having received possession in their own half of Luka Milivojevic, the Ivory Coast star led forward in possession, sidelined Luke Thomas and Nampalys Mendy before releasing Andros Townsend in space far down the right flank.

Zaha, wanting more, then broke his neck to rush into the box before outsmarting Youri Tielemans with his hosts side-footing move in a 1-0 lead on time. This move was hit not only by the involvement of just three players, but also by the palace side’s desire to provide options for Townsend.

Nine players were behind the ball when Milivojevic moved on to the dynamic Ivorian, but an additional pair – Jeffrey Schlupp and Jairo Riedewald – bolstered the home side’s presence in the Leicester area, while the captain was positioned near the edge of the surface.

In seconds, the Eagles had gone from the edge of their box with only Zaha and Christian Benteke in front of the ball, to having no less than six players in the Foxes’ third.

Crystal Palace celebrates Wilfried Zaha's penalty goal against Brighton, Premier League 2020-21

Hodgson is receiving criticism for his general approach, but you feel the 73-year-old will point to this strike against the team with the best record outside the league as validation of his modus operandi, for better or for worse. .

As for Eze, the Maverick’s solo strike against Sheffield United has been the Anglo-Nigerian’s finest moment so far in top football.

Barely 10 minutes after replacing injured Schlupp before the break, the 22-year-old received possession from James McArthur, trusted his abilities and advanced with the ball towards the Blades’ goal.

He smoothly crossed a few markers afterwards, making a nice effort beyond helpless Aaron Ramsdale, for what is certainly a goal-of-the-month contender and possibly the season.

That kind of threat will come in handy when Hodgson takes his troops to face an Arsenal side who have kept blank sheets in three of their last four goals in their supposed rebirth.

In fact, their only concession in the last four games was a late effort by Tammy Abraham in the 3-1 victory that caused this current turnaround.

Regardless, the Gunners have somehow found the Eagles hard to beat in the past two campaigns, failing to get the upper hand over their London rivals in all four meetings since Arsene Wenger retired from a run. which they will seek to complete on Thursday. .

While his side are prone to being flaky this season, Hodgson is hoping to secure the versions of Zaha and Eze, who not only recognize the opportunities but also take decisive action as they look to extend their unbeaten run against the three-time resurgent champions. PL.