Arsenal-Crystal Palace Preview
By SANTOSH VENKATARAMAN
STATS Senior Writer
(AP) -- Ian Holloway won't be around for Saturday's lunch-time kick-off when Crystal Palace welcome Premier League leaders Arsenal to Selhurst Park in this London derby.
The charismatic Holloway stepped down as manager of Crystal Palace on Wednesday. He guided Palace back into the top flight in May after an eight-year absence but the team has lost seven of its eight matches this season and are second from bottom with the lone victory over winless Sunderland.
"This man has done the honourable thing, maybe, and fallen on his sword," Palace co-chairman Steve Parish said.
Holloway made 16 signings over the summer in a bid to strengthen the squad. The Eagles have shipped 17 goals for the league's second-worst defence, and Keith Millen will serve as caretaker manager Saturday.
"I didn't value enough the spirit of the group that helped us get to the Premier League," said Holloway, in his usual honest manner. "I've lost the spirit of that group. I owe it to the lads to admit that."
Monday's 4-1 defeat at Fulham caused Holloway to hold talks with Parish for an hour after the match. The manager reportedly offered his resignation that night.
"This club needs an impetus of energy," said Holloway, who failed to keep Blackpool in the Premier League two seasons ago. "But I just feel tired, to be honest. I'm worn out."
Arsenal are insisting fatigue won't be a factor for them after Tuesday's 2-1 home defeat to Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League.
Olivier Giroud's 41st-minute goal drew the Gunners level in a first half in which the visitors were on the front foot before the Londoners improved after the break only to fall on Robert Lewandowski's goal.
"We lost but have won almost every game," Giroud told Arsenal's official website. "Just Villa and West Brom so it's not the time to be really worried, but we want to come back on Saturday and win the game."
Arsenal's 12-match overall unbeaten streak ended (10 wins, two draws), but Arsene Wenger's side still are unbeaten in their last seven in the Premier League.
"I believe our movement going forward wasn't quick enough," Wenger said. "It can happen if you play many games. We weren't at our best tonight."
Mathieu Flamini is expected to be available after missing the Dortmund match with a concussion. He left after 37 minutes in last Saturday's 4-1 victory over Norwich City.
Arsenal are the only team to score in every game in the league this season and have 18 goals compared to six for Palace.
Eagles forward Marouane Chamakh will face his former team for the first time. Chamakh hit eight goals in 40 league matches for the Gunners between 2010-11.
Millen, a former Bristol City manager, faces a tough task to shore up a defence that has conceded more goals from set-pieces than any other Premier League side with nine.
"It's the fixture that we all looked at when they came out at the start of the season, it's the reason we worked so hard last year to get promoted and that Wembley day seems a long way off now, doesn't it?" Millen said.
Tony Pulis, Neil Warnock and Roberto Di Matteo have been linked with the vacancy at Palace.
Updated October 24, 2013