Arsenal take on Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace in the Premier League at the Emirates tomorrow night. Mikel Arteta will be looking to extend his side’s brilliant winning run, but it will not be easy.
The Eagles are a hard team to break down. They are extremely organised and are not afraid to sit back and absorb pressure. Palace will likely do that tomorrow as well and Arteta should bring in all the creativity he can into the team.
Arsenal faced a similar side in West Brom not too long ago. We dominated that game and we are expected to do the same tomorrow. Since that will likely be the case, Arteta has to leave Mohamed Elneny on the bench.
The Egyptian has surprised many people this season. Nobody expected him to stay at the club, let alone be a regular under Arteta. Elneny has been brilliant this term and the Arsenal boss even labelled his performance earlier in the season as ‘phenomenal’. (BT Sport)
However, tomorrow isn’t the right game for him. Elneny, signed by Arsene Wenger in 2016, is more suited to a game where our defenders need a lot of protection.
Arsenal need to be alert defensively against the likes of Wilfried Zaha and Eberechi Eze, but creativity in attack is a lot more important tomorrow. As a result, Arteta should start Dani Ceballos alongside Granit Xhaka against the Eagles.
Ceballos can unlock Palace’s defence
The Spaniard is more attack-minded than all of our central midfielders. He is technically brilliant and his vision is among the best in the squad at the moment.
Emile Smith Rowe will have to work hard to get balls through to our forwards. The youngster has already shown that he has the quality to do that, but a helping hand just behind him is never a bad idea.
Ceballos has the quality to pick a pass from deep. He is also capable of driving into the final third and having a huge impact there. The Spaniard, despite not having a goal to his name yet this term, can smash one in from the edge of the box.
That will be an asset against a team like Palace who put nine men behind the ball more often than not.