Arsenal’s winning run leaves Unai Emery with several selection headaches ahead of Crystal Palace trip

Arsenal may have won their last eleven matches in all competitions, but that doesn’t mean Unai Emery is a man completely free of problems.

 With his side playing such successful attacking football, and with so many of his players enjoying real purple patches of form, the difficultly is how he can cram eleven names into a solitary team-sheet. Against Sporting in the Europa League he had the opportunity to shuffle his pack. Now he must decide which players impressed him sufficiently to retain their places against Crystal Palace.

 His biggest decision is who to play in goal. Established number one Petr Cech is finally fully fit after tweaking his hamstring against Watford. But Bernd Leno has excelled since stepping up to the plate: since that successful second-half cameo, he has conceded just twice in the last four games.

 “For Sunday Cech will be okay, so we must decide whether to play him in the starting XI or not,” admitted Emery. 


Premier League – Week 10 goals





1/14 Mohamed Salah vs Cardiff (1-0)

2/14 Sadio Mane vs Cardiff (2-0) vs Cardiff

3/14 Callum Paterson (2-1) vs Liverpool

4/14 Xherdan Shaqiri vs Cardiff (3-1)

5/14 Sadio Mane vs Cardiff (4-1)

6/14 Roberto Pereyra vs Huddersfield (1-0)

7/14 Gerard Deulofeu vs Huddersfield (2-0)

8/14 Isaac Success vs Huddersfield (3-0)

9/14 Callum Wilson vs Fulham (1-0)

10/14 Callum Wilson (2-0)

11/14 David Brooks (3-0)

12/14 Glenn Murray vs Wolves (1-0)

13/14 Fabian Balbuena vs Leicester (1-0)

14/14 Wilfred Ndidi vs Leicester (1-1)

1/14 Mohamed Salah vs Cardiff (1-0)

2/14 Sadio Mane vs Cardiff (2-0) vs Cardiff

3/14 Callum Paterson (2-1) vs Liverpool

4/14 Xherdan Shaqiri vs Cardiff (3-1)

5/14 Sadio Mane vs Cardiff (4-1)

6/14 Roberto Pereyra vs Huddersfield (1-0)

7/14 Gerard Deulofeu vs Huddersfield (2-0)

8/14 Isaac Success vs Huddersfield (3-0)

9/14 Callum Wilson vs Fulham (1-0)

10/14 Callum Wilson (2-0)

11/14 David Brooks (3-0)

12/14 Glenn Murray vs Wolves (1-0)

13/14 Fabian Balbuena vs Leicester (1-0)

14/14 Wilfred Ndidi vs Leicester (1-1)

  

“We have very big confidence in all of the goalkeepers and I am happy with the way they work with our coaches. So it is a big decision but it is also a positive one, because they have both been producing good performances. At the moment we have very happy with Leno, but before Cech had his injury he was also giving very good performances.”

 Bringing Cech back into his team would be the loyal course of action. Sticking with Leno a statement of intent. It’s an exceptionally difficult decision for Emery, who knows how important it is to keep his entire squad enthused, confident that their next opportunity will never be too far away.

 “It’s important that the players are committed and well behaved in every single training session and match, whether they have been named in the starting XI or on the bench,” he added ahead of the trip to Palace on Sunday. “It is not good for me to have to decide between a lot of players who have been producing good performances, but it is good for the team.”

 Arsenal will certainly need some standout performances when the match kicks-off at Selhurst Park. Their last two matches in Croydon have been anything but routine affairs: two seasons ago goals from Andros Townsend, Yohan Cabaye and Luka Milivojevic sealed a famous 3-0 win for Palace and effectively ended Arsenal’s long run of top-four finishes under Arsene Wenger. And least season they almost allowed a 3-1 lead to slip when James Tomkins’ late header prompted panic.

This time there’s the additional pressure of maintaining that most unexpected of winning runs. Beat Palace, and they need only to see off Blackpool at The Emirates to match the finest run of Wenger’s 22 years in the big chair. Beat Liverpool next weekend, and they’ll match the finest run in the club’s entire 132-year history.

 Not that Emery will admit to feeling surprised at just how well it has all gone, of course. Or that he is feeling any additional pressure. But come half one on Sunday afternoon, you can bet there will be a few more butterflies than usual, both in the dugout and out on the pitch. 

 “I am not surprised because I believe in this team,” Emery added. “But I know it isn’t easy to win each match. We need continue thinking only about the next match. Crystal Palace away has always been difficult. But we are going to prepare for the best performance for us.

 “We will prepare to give our very best performance on Sunday. To give our supporters our best moments against Crystal Palace. The difficulty for us is not playing some matches in a few days. The difficulty for is Crystal Palace because they are a very good team.”

Follow the Independent Sport on Instagram here, for all of the best images, videos and stories from around the sporting world.

Source: Read Full Article