26-year-old to be terrorised: Three things we expect from Arsenal in clash with Crystal Palace
COMMENT By Will Butcher
Arsenal go up against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Monday night in a huge clash that will be considered an absolute must-win in their pursuit of a top four finish.
Here, Football Insider analyses three things to expect from Arsene Wenger’s side against the Eagles.
Gabriel to find the going tough
Deputising for Laurent Koscielny, Gabriel will be placed under huge pressure by Belgium striker Christian Benteke away from home as Palace look to make it five wins from six games. The 26-year-old has failed to convince the footballing world that he has adapted to the physical rigours of Premier League football, after joining the Gunners in January 2015. With Palace likely to cross the ball into Benteke, who is known for his aerial prowess and strength, Gabriel will be severely tested by Allardyce’s side and could be targeted by the Eagles.
Walcott v Schlupp pace battle
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Both known for their electrifying pace, Wenger will be hoping Walcott can get the better of January signing Jeffrey Schlupp on Arsenal’s right. In what will prove a lightning-quick battle, Walcott will also be required to defend against Palace on the counter attack as Schlupp’s eye for goal and speed from the left side of defence could cause the Gunners problems. Walcott must keep Schlupp quiet and look to tire the former Leicester defender in order to get the better of him.
Martinez to face tougher task than West Ham win
Away from home, third-choice goalkeeper Emi Martinez is set to be placed under increased pressure in a match that is harder to call than Arsenal’s comfortable 3-0 win over West Ham. Martinez is set to make his second successive appearance and just the 13th of his Arsenal career, and manager Allardyce may encourage his players to test Martinez from long range as the Argentinian continues to deputise for Petr Cech and David Ospina. With the Eagles in form despite their loss to Southampton last time out, the likes of Benteke, Andros Townsend and Yohan Cabaye are all known for their long-range shooting ability and Martinez could be given a lot to deal with on Monday night.
In other Arsenal news, here is the expected side to face Palace.