David Luiz set to miss the game
Ahead of Arsenal’s trip across London to face Crystal Palace, Gunners boss Mikel Arteta has revealed the state of his squad. David Luiz, who limped off the pitch against Newcastle United with a hamstring injury, is looking increasingly unlikely to play for Arsenal again. Arteta confirmed that the Brazilian will miss the trip to Selhurst Park, saying:
“I think everybody is fit apart from David”
Luiz’s contract is up at the end of the season, and it appears as if William Saliba will return to the club after a successful loan spell at French side Nice, which you can read about here.
LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 20: William Saliba of Arsenal during the PL2 match between Arsenal U23 and Everton U23 at Emirates Stadium on November 20, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
Aside from Luiz, Arteta suggests that only Swiss Midfielder Granit Xhaka is a doubt for tomorrow’s game, saying that:
“Let’s see how Granit is…, but for the rest I think they are okay.”
This will come as a relief to Arsenal fans who saw Hector Bellerin limp off against Chelsea with a worrying-looking injury after overstretching for a clearance in the dying embers of the game. However, the injury is clearly not serious enough to take him out of contention to face Palace, and will come as a boost as Arsenal try to shift the right-back on this summer.
Roy Hodgson adds emotion to the fixture:
Earlier today, Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson announced that he will be stepping down at the end of the season.
After nearly four years of managing his boyhood club, Roy Hodgson will be stepping down as our manager at the end of this season.
Thank you for everything, Roy ❤️💙
— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) May 18, 2021
This could give Palace extra incentive to up their game and give their manager the send-off that he deserves. Asked about his opinion on the 71-year-old veteran manager, Arteta was full of praise, saying that:
“He is an absolute legend. What he has done in football, for English football, what he transmits as a person, as a manager, the work he has done at different clubs, I think it is remarkable. To keep doing it for so long, with the way he has always conducted himself, I think it’s a great example for me as a young coach – he is someone I admire.”
Despite the praise for Hodgson, Arteta will know that this fixture is a must-win for his side to keep alive any slim chances of European qualification for next season. However, with Arsenal’s inconsistent form, and Palace’s added incentive, it may be a much trickier fixture than anticipated.