Two managers with a history of confrontation will clash at Selhurst Park today (Saturday) when Crystal Palace take on Arsenal.
Alan Pardew and Arsene Wenger had their fair share of altercations while Pardew was manager of Newcastle United, but the former Magpies boss has brushed off suggestions there is lingering bad blood between himself and the Frenchman.
“Well listen, here’s a man who’s been a Premier League manager more than he remembers or wants to remember,” Pardew said.
“He’s a winner and so am I, so when we clash – we’re going to clash at times – we both want to win, that’s it.
Sometimes top clubs clash and you have to give it a little bit here and there to find the winning formula.
“They will have their own pressure that they bring to Selhurst Park and we have to utilise that they’re under pressure as much as we can. There’s no difference between the two sides, we’re both under pressure and we need to use that pressure against them.”
Pardew may say there is no difference between the two sides, but Palace go into Saturday’s match eight places and 18 points behind their London opponents.
The Gunners have won four of their last five in league play and cruised into the FA Cup quarterfinals with a win over Middlesbrough last weekend. Alexis Sanchez sparkled in the victory over ‘Boro and has been a revelation for the north London side all season, and Wenger this week spoke about why the Chile international has been able to settle at the club so quickly.
“Alexis had a few options and he chose us because he felt that’s where he wanted to go,” Wenger said. “Sometimes a player moves somewhere and it’s not the choice that he deeply wanted. In his case, I think he really wanted to join us.
“Another step is that a team welcomes you with the values that you rate, and that in some parts of the team, you can feel at home when you need it sometimes. That means there are people inside the squad with a similar culture. For example we have plenty of Spanish-speaking people and I believe that helps to integrate people well.”
Sanchez will start again Saturday, but the Gunners are missing the injured midfield trio of Aaron Ramsey, Mikel Arteta and Abou Diaby, while defender Mathieu Debuchy is also out.
Palace may be closer to the relegation zone than the European places, but their form since Pardew has taken over has been excellent. The Eagles have picked up 11 points from their last six league games – just one fewer than fifth-placed Arsenal – and have tightened up a leaky backline, with just two goals conceded in their last three.
On-loan Arsenal striker Yaya Sanogo is ineligible to play, while Palace also have injury doubts over James McArthur and Mile Jedinak.
Arsenal stole three points with a last-minute winner when these teams met on opening day. Palace took the lead early, but Lauren Koscielny equalised just before the break and Ramsey grabbed the decisive match-winner in added time. The Gunners have won four straight league meetings with Palace by a combined score of 11-2.
Source: ScoreMobile FC