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Pepe & Chambers come in as Arsenal make two changes to face Crystal Palace in must-win fixture

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26: Bukayo Saka of Arsenal celebrates after scoring his team's third goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Chelsea at Emirates Stadium on December 26, 2020 in London, England. The match will be played without fans, behind closed doors as a Covid-19 precaution. (Photo by Andrew Boyers - Pool/Getty Images)

Saka, Smith Rowe start

Arsenal are in a situation in which they must win their final two games of the Premier League season, to have any hope whatsoever of reaching the European qualification spots for next season.

Much will depend on the results secured by Spurs and West Ham who, should they win their respective games, will give the Gunners no hope of overtaking them on the final day.

Arsenal, unsurprisingly, have gone with a very strong line-up.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang leads the line, with Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe and Nicolas Pepe behind.

Mohamed Elneny keeps his place after a man of the match performance against Chelsea, whilst Calum Chambers starts at right-back with Hector Bellerin out injured.

Kieran Tierney starts, to the delight of Scottish supporters after his recent injury scare, with Gabriel and Rob Holding partnered in front of Bernd Leno, recently called up to Germany’s European Championships squad.

Hodgson’s last home game

It does seem fitting that there will be fans at Selhurst Park to witness the last game overseen by Roy Hodgson at the ground.

The former England, Liverpool, Fulham and West Brom manager will leave the club at the end of the season, after many successful seasons with the Eagles.

He has kept Palace in the Premier League, and even pushed them into an established mid-table position. Few could argue that he has not achieved what he was employed to do.

Whilst tonight’s game has little incentive competitively for Palace, putting on a show for their fans and honouring Hodgson will of course be a target in itself.

Wilfried Zaha, linked with Arsenal in the past, will want to put himself in the shop window, should a big summer move become available.

Meanwhile, Eberechi Eze will miss out, with the former QPR and Arsenal man facing a long spell on the sidelines with an Achilles injury.

Hodgson has selected Jeffrey Schlupp to replace Eze, with Zaha, Christian Benteke and and Andros Townsend in attack.

The game is set to kick off at 7pm this evening.

Crystal Palace ready to announce Roy Hodgson exit ahead of fan return

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This article was edited by Conor Laird.

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