Arsenal vs Crystal Palace: Vieira-less Eagles pose little threat to league leaders
Vieira relieved of duties ahead of Emirates trip
There will be no reunion between Arsenal and Patrick Vieira when Crystal Palace head to the Emirates on Sunday. The former Gunners captain was relieved of his duties just two days before the game after overseeing a run of 12 straight games without a win – a run which covers the entirety of 2023 – and watching Palace sleepwalk into a relegation battle.
Arsenal look to bounce back after Europa League disappointment
At the other end of the table, Arsenal are cruising in top spot but will have seen their spirits dampened somewhat in midweek as they were eliminated from the Europa League at the hands of Sporting CP.
Arsenal team news
Mikel Arteta fears Takehiro Tomiyasu has suffered a serious injury which could keep the right-back out for a significant length of time, but the fitness of William Saliba, who also went off in Thursday’s defeat to Sporting CP, remains a mystery. Saliba may not be risked, allowing Rob Holding to return to the squad, while Eddie Nketiah and Mohamed Elneny remain out. Albert Sambi Lokonga cannot face his parent club but could see his midfield spot taken by Will Hughes or James McArthur, who are both close to returning from illness. In goal, young Joe Whitworth is likely to continue as both Vicente Guaita and Sam Johnstone are still injured.
Palace team news
Palace are a bit of an unknown quantity at the minute. With Vieira gone and no full-time manager in the dugout just yet, the Eagles might simply be hoping to make it through this one unscathed. A shot on target would be a dream for Palace and they may end up getting one if Saliba does not recover in time, but the visitors are so low on confidence and it’s hard to back them making a splash against the league leaders.
Arsenal expected to secure comfortable victory
On the other side of things, Arteta will demand a response from Arsenal after their European exit and they will expect a comfortable three points from this one.