How Crystal Palace’s XI under Paddy McCarthy could look based on his U21 lineups

Crystal Palace are set to take on Arsenal this Sunday with Paddy McCarthy holding the reins, after deciding to sack Patrick Vieira.

The Irishman – who made 151 appearances for the south Londoners – surely did not expect to be naming the starting XI ahead of the trip to the Emirates Stadium this time last week.

Nevertheless, McCarthy, who usually works as manager of the Under-21 side at Selhurst Park, has been entrusted to take charge this Sunday, so let’s have a look at the XI he could put out based on his lineups at U21 level.

How Crystal Palace XI could look under Paddy McCarthy

Well, the 39-year-old has used a number of formations at U21 level this season.

McCarthy deployed a 3-4-3 system in the 1-0 win over Everton on Sunday 5th March, but he has predominantly used a 4-2-3-1 shape throughout the 2022/23 campaign so far, as you can see on Transfermarkt.

In that respect, here’s how we think Crystal Palace will look under the Dublin-born coach against Arsenal.

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Unfortunately, Albert Sambi Lokonga is ineligible to face Arsenal as he is on loan from the Gunners.

Therefore, we think Luka Milivojevic will be brought into the starting XI alongside Cheick Doucoure, as Jeffrey Schlupp has been underwhelming in recent months, and is more suited to a 4-3-3 rather than acting as one of two holding midfielders in a 4-2-3-1.

McCarthy told Crystal Palace’s official website that he is looking for his side to be “quick and fast in the attacking third” against Arsenal, so we would expect him to go all out up top with the inclusions of Wilfried Zaha, Eberechi Eze, Michael Olise and Odsonne Edouard.

The quartet are the best attackers at Selhurst Park by far, and have the ability to cause Mikel Arteta a problem.

Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

At the back, we would like to see Chris Richards on the right – the American was harshly dropped by Vieira despite winning Crystal Palace’s Player of the Month award in January.

However, we can’t see McCarthy making that change at right-back, so we would presume that Nathaniel Clyne keeps his place on the opposite flank to Tyrick Mitchell, with Marc Guéhi and Joachim Andersen in the centre.

In between the sticks, 19-year-old Joe Whitworth is set to make just his second Premier League appearance following injuries to Vicente Guaita and Sam Johnstone, after impressing against Brighton on Wednesday.

In other news, ‘Magnificent’ Tottenham player now closer to return to action than Yves Bissouma – journalist

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