Wenger impressed by Pulis impact
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger thought Tony Pulis had taken on an "impossible job" at Crystal Palace, but would not be surprised if he went on to keep the Eagles in the Barclays Premier League.
The Gunners - who brought in Sweden midfielder Kim Kallstrom on loan from Spartak Moscow during what was a low-key transfer deadline day at London Colney - are aiming to go back to the top of the table when they tackle Palace, as Manchester City are not in action until Monday night against Chelsea.
When Pulis took charge at Selhurst Park at the end of November, the south London club looked set for an uphill struggle to retain their top-flight status.
However, five league wins have propelled the Eagles out of the bottom three, and after beating Hull in midweek they are 14th, four points clear of trouble, while Pulis was also busy bringing in reinforcements as the transfer deadline ticked down.
And Wenger has been impressed by the impact of the former Stoke boss.
"He has done a marvellous job," said the Arsenal manager, whose team were held to a 2-2 draw at Southampton on Tuesday.
"I must honestly say when he took that job, I thought 'my friend, you take an impossible job there', but he has turned it around and deserves a lot of credit for that."
Wenger continued: "They have a stronger belief certainly, they have more defensive stability and their results and the way they play - I saw them playing against Tottenham - they were absolutely impressive in that game, so that is a good warning for us."
Despite pundits suggesting free-scoring City will now march on towards the title, Wenger insists Arsenal can still have their say.
"We are one point behind Man City, we have 15 games to make a difference with them," Wenger said.
"I believe we have our chances and what is even more important is we are fully committed to play our chances with full belief. I am convinced we can do it."
Arsenal must do without combative midfielder Mathieu Flamini on Sunday as he starts the first of a three-match suspension following his sending-off at Southampton.
Wales international Aaron Ramsey will be out for up to six weeks after suffering a setback in his recovery from a thigh injury, but Jack Wilshere is expected to be fit from an ankle problem to face Liverpool.
Crystal Palace travel to Arsenal with technical coach David Kemp hoping they can finally pick up a positive result against one of the Premier League elite.
The Eagles had a busy transfer deadline day with Wayne Hennessey, Scott Dann, Thomas Ince and Joe Ledley all moving to Selhurst Park - although only former Wolves goalkeeper Hennessey is eligible for the clash at Arsenal.
Sunday's meeting will be the first time Palace have ever played at the Emirates Stadium and Kemp is determined to add points to performances, after fine efforts on the road so far against the big boys have come with nothing to show for it.
"It is a fantastic place to go," he said.
"It is a great stadium and Arsenal are doing well this season. We have performed well in these big games so far, so let's take it a step further. It is a learning experience - the players will certainly take some confidence from those performances.
"You have to set yourself up to be difficult to play against, but at the same time we went to Man City, Tottenham and Chelsea and had chances and actually have played very well and should have got something out of all of those games.
"That has to be the disappointment to us, that we haven't got something out of the game, and that will be the target on Sunday; go to one of the bigger clubs, play well and actually get some kind of reward."
With Dann, Ledley and Ince not signed before the midday cut-off point on Friday, they were not registered in time for the game - while Jason Puncheon can feature after his loan move from Southampton was made permanent.
Defender Jonny Parr will be assessed again after suffering concussion in the FA Cup loss at Wigan.
Midfielders Jerome Thomas and Kagisho Dikgacoi (calf) are still recovering, while forward Glenn Murray (knee) remains out.