Sunday's sole Premier League game should have constituted a homecoming for one of north London's favorite sons but Patrick Vieira will be nowhere to be seen at the Emirates Stadium after Crystal Palace abruptly sacked their head coach on Friday morning. The Eagles are winless in 2023, parting ways with their manager in light of a 1-0 loss to Brighton in midweek.
Arsenal, meanwhile, have won their last five Premier League games but return to action three days after a morale and energy sapping 120 minutes against Sporting CP in the Europa League, drawing 1-1 in normal time before losing in the resulting penalty shoot out. To make matters worse both William Saliba and Takehiro Tomiyasu limped out of the game, the latter departing the ground on crutches after an awkward slip. Here is how you can watch the match and what you need to know:
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- Date: Sunday, March 19 | Time: 10 a.m. ET
- Location: Emirates Stadium -- London
- TV: USA | Live stream: fuboTV (free trial)
- Watch in Canada: fubo Sports Network Canada
- Odds: Arsenal -450; Draw +480; Bournemouth +1400 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
Arsenal: The last time Mikel Arteta's side exited a cup competition (losing to Manchester City in the FA Cup) it began their worst run of form of the season so far, picking up one point from their next three Premier League games to open the door for City to burst back into the title race. This weekend they instead have an opportunity to push eight points clear in the first of what so many in north London are terming 11 finals.
"We have to move forward now," said captain Martin Odegaard after the defeat to Sporting. "We have to look to Sunday. It started already now in the changing room and we get ready. We just have to change the mindset again. I think everyone is disappointed, but we have to move forward and just be ready for Sunday.
"Every time we have lost this season we have learned something from it. Every time we have come back and changed the situation again. That is what we are going to do again and the next game comes quick, so it's a good opportunity to strike back. We have to show [our new mentality] now. I think it is pretty straightforward for us now, it's only the League. We just have to focus on every game. It's 11 finals for us. Just come back on Sunday, that's all that matters now."
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Crystal Palace: With Vieira departed, Under-21 head coach Paddy McCarthy stepped up to lead training on Friday and is expected to be in the dugout on Sunday, supported by what is likely to be a skeleton crew with three of the former manager's coaching staff having left with him. Though the former France international departed with warm words from chairman Steve Parish, patience ultimately snapped due to Palace's woeful run of form in front of goal, most notably a three game streak before Wednesday's loss to Brighton where they failed to register a single shot on target and averaged 0.35 expected goals per game.
With 21 goals from 27 games, the Eagles have the division's fourth worst offensive record, a disappointing return from a squad that includes Ebere Eze, Wilfried Zaha, Michael Olise and Odsonne Edouard, though injuries did rob Vieira of several of those players. His successor should be able to keep Palace up; they are only three points off the relegation zone but five teams sit between them and the drop zone and Sunday's game brings an end to a brutal run of fixtures.
Drained and bruised Arsenal could find this tough but they should just about have enough to get the three points they need. PICK: Arsenal 2, Crystal Palace 1