The Premier League returns this weekend after a thrilling opening set of fixtures, and we've got a tantalizing London derby on tap as Arsenal host Crystal Palace at the Emirates on Saturday night.

There's been a fair bit of transfer wheeling and dealing at both clubs over the summer, so I'm keen to see how the new-look squads lineup and which of the fresh faces can make an instant impact.

You can always expect fireworks when these two cross the capital to face each other. Arsenal will look to take the game to Palace with their usual slick passing football, but the Eagles are masters of stifling opponents and hitting them on the break.

Match Details

The match is scheduled to take place on August 21, 2023 at 8 pm BST at the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal Boss Mikel Arteta Has Been Busy

Arteta has splashed some serious cash to re-shape his Gunners squad this summer. There have been a few notable exits too though. They would be kicking themselves about the fact that they were so close yet so far from closing out on the premier league title.

The big-money arrival is Declan Rice from West Ham to finally give Arsenal some steel in midfield. He cost a whopping £100 million but is arguably the Premier League's best defensive midfielder and can be transformative.

Arteta also snapped up talented young attacker Kai Havertz from Chelsea for £75 million. He'll pull the strings in the number 10 role and get Arsenal's lethal frontline firing.

Young Dutch center-back Jurrien Timber also comes in from Ajax to freshen up the defense, while goalkeeper David Raya joined on loan from Brentford as backup.

But Arsenal have waved goodbye to some key men too. Experienced midfield general Granit Xhaka departed for Leverkusen, backup keeper Matt Turner headed to Forest, and fringe defenders Pablo Mari and Auston Trusty also left.

Even with the changes, Arteta still has stacks of quality to call on from last term like Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli and Jesus. So I'd expect them to kick on again this season.

Palace Boss Vieira Has His Team Drilled

As usual, Crystal Palace have gone about their business quietly this summer under Patrick Vieira. The Eagles gaffer has tweaked his squad here and there without major surprises.

But losing talisman Wilfried Zaha after 10 years of service is a big blow. The Ivorian left for a new challenge in Turkey having made over 450 appearances. Replacing his influence won't be easy.

Vieira has brought in promising Brazilian teenager Matheus França to inject creativity and dribbling ability in the final third. Big things are expected of the 19-year-old arriving from Flamengo.

French midfielder Jefferson Lerma also signed on a free from Bournemouth to add some graft in the middle of the park. And Jack Butland provides an experienced backup in goal after joining permanently from Man United.

Elsewhere, Vieira will be looking for his solid backline duo Guehi and Andersen to pick up where they left off last campaign.

Further forward, the likes of Eze, Olise and Ayew have the craft to trouble Arsenal if given license to attack. But I'd expect Vieira to play it more conservatively and hit on the counter.

Palace is drilled and tough to break down under Vieira. I'm anticipating another disciplined, battling display to frustrate the Gunners. Should be a cracking derby.

Key Battles at Emirates Stadium

  • Thomas Partey vs Jefferson Lerma

This midfield tussle stands out as one to keep an eye on. Partey is so important for Arsenal with his athleticism, drive and combativeness in the engine room. But Lerma is a real terrier who lives for the physical battle. If the Colombian can nullify Partey's influence, it denies Arsenal's creative players their platform to attack. Both men are capable of the odd rocket too, so expect fireworks.

  • William Saliba vs Jean-Philippe Mateta

Saliba was a revelation at the back for Arsenal last season, bringing the steel they'd lacked before. His battle with Palace's French striker Mateta could be telling. Mateta has the pace and strength to threaten in behind and showed real improvement last campaign. But Saliba's elegant, no-nonsense defending means it's difficult to bully him. If Arsenal's young center-back can marshal Mateta effectively, Palace will struggle for a focal point in attack.

  • Kai Havertz vs Cheikhou Kouyaté

This is an intriguing clash between craft and combat. Havertz is slippery and intelligent in finding space between the lines to unpick defenses with his guile and vision. But he'll have the uncompromising Kouyaté snapping at his heels here. The Senegal veteran excels at breaking up play and won't give Havertz an inch. If Kouyaté can stop Arsenal's new playmaker from dictating games, it'll disrupt their attacking rhythm. Havertz will need to stand tall.

Predicted Lineups


Ramsdale, White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko, Rice, Partey, Saka, Havertz, Martinelli, Jesus

Sam Johnstone, Jordan Lotomba, Marc Guehi, Joachim Andersen, Tyrick Mitchell, Conor Gallagher, Eberechi Eze, James McCarthy, Wilfried Zaha, Michael Olise, Odsonne Edouard