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16th Aug 2015

5 Talking points ahead of Crystal Palace v Arsenal

Simon Lloyd

The second Sunday of the season sees a London derby at Selhurst Park between Crystal Palace and Arsenal. After recording contrasting results in their opening fixtures, there are plenty of talking points as the game approaches.

Can Arsenal recover from lacklustre West Ham performance?

Ahead of the opening fixture, there was a genuine feeling amongst Arsenal supporters that the club has a realistic chance of winning a first league title since 2004. The tentative display that the home support witnessed against West Ham last weekend cast doubt over such optimism. In a difficult fixture away from home, it will be interesting to see how Wenger’s men approach the game.

Can Yohan Cabaye pull the Palace strings?

Having seen Norwich’s performance at Sunderland, the fact Palace recorded an opening day 3-1 victory at Carrow Road is even more impressive. Yohan Cabaye, a man who was frequently linked with a move to Arsenal in his Newcastle days, was central to that victory – scoring his first goal for the club and showing the composure and class that made him one of Alan Pardew’s favourites when on Tyneside.  In a central midfield without the likes of Jack Wilshere, Arsene Wenger will be well aware of the damage Cabaye can inflict if he’s afforded the time and space that he exploits so well.

during the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Crystal Palace at Carrow Road on August 8, 2015 in Norwich, England.

Can Alexis Sanchez have an impact from the start?

Only a substitute last weekend following his summer exploits at Copa America, many will look to Sanchez to raise Arsenal as they visit Palace. The same sharpness that we saw throughout last season might be a couple of games away, but the Chilean’s presence alone is enough to produce a moment of magic for the visitors and make Palace a little more reluctant to push bodies forward.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 20:  Alexis Sanchez of Arsenal in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Sunderland at Emirates Stadium on May 20, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Will a defeat to Palace really be a complete disaster for Arsenal?

Having only played one game in the Premier League this season, it seems amazingly premature for the usual Arsenal doom-mongers to be rearing their heads. Clearly, it wouldn’t be ideal for Arsenal to drop more points today – another defeat would be the first time the team has lost their opening two fixtures since the first ever Premier League season, 23 years ago . However, with the likes of Jack Wilshere unavailable and the aforementioned Alexis Sanchez perhaps not in the position to hit last season’s heights, you get the feeling that Arsenal’s very best may be a few weeks off. A second defeat would hardly make them relegation fodder.

Barclays Asia Trophy

Can Palace hurt Arsenal with pace?

With the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Alexis Sanchez and Theo Walcott, Arsenal aren’t exactly short of speed in their ranks – but today they face a team with genuine pace on the wings. Wilfired Zaha, another of last week’s goal-scorers, possesses the ability to break with the ball quickly and will be another player that  Arsenal will have to play close attention to. If the visitors over commit in an attacking sense, this might well play into Alan Pardew’s side’s hands.

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