(Reuters) – Roy Hodgson is well aware of Arsenal’s attacking prowess and knows his Crystal Palace team will have to fire on all cylinders to avoid a Premier League defeat on Thursday.
Palace are unbeaten in seven games and sit 16th in the league but back-to-back matches against Arsenal and Manchester City could threaten their resurgence under the former England boss.
“We are going to find it very difficult and will have to be at the absolute top of our game and hope that Arsenal are not at their best then we might have a chance,” Hodgson told the club’s website.
“I don’t look forward to playing the teams that are fully expected to beat us and they are such a good team with so many good players.
“We know that’s what we’ve got coming, that’s what we’ve got to try to find a way of trying to deal with. The only advantage we have is the fact that it is at home … they (the fans) will be expecting us to give our all against Arsenal.”
After beating Watford 2-1 in their last home game, Palace overcame Leicester City 3-0 away before being held by basement side Swansea City at the Liberty stadium last weekend.
“We need to build on the four points we have just picked up away from home,” Hodgson added.
“We have not been playing badly and if we can keep that going we may even get points from those games that people don’t expect us to.”
Palace midfielder Bakary Sako is hopeful he can continue to play as a striker despite regular frontman Christian Benteke being back from suspension.
Sako has four goals in all competitions this season, more than his tally in his first two years at the club.
“I was not used to playing as a striker but under Roy Hodgson I have learned a lot and have been delighted to have the chance to play there,” Sako said. “I am getting used to what is expected in that role.”
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru)