LONDON, Sporting Alert – Alexis Sanchez returns to the starting lineup for Arsenal for today’s English Premier League clash with Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
Sanchez, who started on the bench during last week’s 2-0 defeat to West Ham United at the Emirates Stadium, comes into the side as a replacement for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who was unfortunately left on the bench.
“Alexis Sanchez will have an impact,” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said. “He is a player who can make good decisions and has a great fighting spirit – away from home that is even more important.”
Wenger is expecting a responding performance from his side after last week’s defeat, but he is bracing to face a strong Palace side.
“Crystal Palace are one of the strong teams in the league I believe,” he said. “They have a good defence and have potential in attack.
“We expect them to be very combative, and the pitch here is always a very committed pitch.”
Wenger also recalled Hector Bellerin to his starting XI and he come in at right back in favour of Mathieu Debuchy.
Further up the park, Olivier Giroud continues to lead the attack with Theo Walcott staying on the bench.
There were several murmurs after last weekend calling for Walcott to get the nod today, but Wenger has decided to stick with the Frenchman.
The rest of the starting lineup for Arsenal includes Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny as the centre-backs, with Nacho Monreal, Francis Coquelin, Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil also retaining their respective places from last week.
For Crystal Palace, in the meantime, manager Alan Pardew makes two adjustments to the side that registered a 3-1 at Norwich last week.
Connor Wickham comes in to replace Glenn Murray up front and Yannick Bolasie comes in for midfielder Jordan Mutch.
Yohan Cabaye will take up his place in the starting team as well, with Wilfried Zaha, James McArthur and Jason Puncheon in Pardew’s setup.
On-loan Chelsea striker Patrick Bamford is on the bench and could play some part in the contest with Dwight Gayle not in the matchday squad.
Arsenal come into this game having won their last five battles against Crystal Palace and will start slight favourites.
Crystal Palace v Arsenal
Crystal Palace: Alex McCarthy, Ward, Dann, Delaney, Souare, Zaha, Cabaye, McArthur, Puncheon, Bolasie, Wickham. Subs: Mariappa, Bamford, Hennessey, Jedinak, Murray, Mutch, Lee
Arsenal: Cech, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Ramsey, Coquelin, Sanchez, Ozil, Cazorla, Giroud. Subs: Debuchy, Gibbs, Gabriel, Arteta, Ospina, Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain
Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire)