Crystal Palace V Arsenal at Selhurst Park : Match Preview

25 October 2013 04:01
Crystal Palace V Arsenal - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Millen: It's time to impress

Caretaker manager Keith Millen has urged the Crystal Palace players to make an impression when they face Arsenal on Saturday.

Millen has taken the reigns at Selhurst Park on a temporary basis after Ian Holloway parted company with Palace by mutual consent earlier in the week.

After just one win from their opening eight Barclays Premier League games, the Eagles sit 19th in the table and host league leaders Arsenal in the day's early kick-off.

Former Bristol City boss Millen is relishing the prospect of facing Arsene Wenger's side and has challenged the squad to lay down a marker for the new manager - whoever that may be.

"It really is a challenge," he said.

"It is the fixture we looked at when it came out at the start of the season. It is the reason we worked so hard last year to get promoted.

"That Wembley day seems a long way off now, how quickly things can change. But I just want the lads to enjoy the occasion, they are not doing it for me as I have told them I'm not looking for the job.

"A new manager will be coming in and it is down to them to start impressing the new manager, whoever that may be, and I think that starts on Saturday."

Following a 4-1 home defeat to Fulham on Monday night, Palace will not be expected to cause an upset against Arsenal but Millen insists the Eagles will do their homework as they look to produce a shock result.

"I think it is a great game," he said.

"No-one expects us to get anything from the game. Monday was a different scenario, that was a must-win game for us and obviously we didn't do that.

"Arsenal have had a tough week, they had their European game and have a cup game during the week after they have played us.

"We have got to make Selhurst a tough place to come for Arsenal - try not to show too many of their positives.

"I will make sure the players are prepared and organised and they will be going out to play against the team who are top of the league.

"We have got to start somewhere and there are plenty of points to play for."

Millen echoed Holloway's sentiments about the squad having to gel together over the coming weeks but it remains to be seen if he will entrust the new signings or revert back to the bulk of the players who guided Palace to play-off success last season.

Only captain Paddy McCarthy, who has returned to training after a prolonged spell on the sidelines with a groin injury, and Glenn Murray (knee) remain sidelined.

Arsenal manager Wenger is not overly concerned by Jack Wilshere's troublesome ankle but will keep a close eye on the fitness of the England midfielder.

Wilshere will be assessed ahead of the trip to Palace after being substituted during the second half of the midweek Champions League defeat to Borussia Dortmund.

The 21-year-old had caused some concern when he pulled up after jarring his ankle when running through on goal in the first half.

Wenger, though, believes with careful management, Wilshere can maintain his fitness following a frustrating spell on the sidelines which scuppered his hopes of playing at both Euro 2012 and the London Olympics.

"No it is not a major problem, but as I told you before the season started I will have to monitor him until he is completely through that period with any doubts and that is what I tried to do," the Arsenal manager said.

Midfielder Mathieu Flamini will be available having missed the Dortmund game as a precaution after suffering a mild concussion in the 4-1 win over Norwich.

Wenger revealed club-recording signing Mesut Ozil had played on Tuesday night despite suffering from a virus, which went some way to explain a subdued performance from the German playmaker.

"He was sick before the game and he was not at his best on the night," Wenger added.

"He said he was all right, but in the two days before he had a virus and you could see that physically he was not at his best."

Wenger, though, was not looking for excuses.

"It is simple. Dortmund was organised to stop us from playing our game and one of their game plans was to stop Ozil from getting into the game and they did that way," he said.

"We want to respond quickly. We have faced that already in our season.

"I am confident in that capacity of my team to respond very quickly in a very strong way. That is the target on Saturday."

Source: PA

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