Kouyate ready for Arsenal clash

Kouyate ready for Arsenal clash
Cheikhou Kouyate (L) of Crystal Palace in action against Harry Kane (R) of Tottenham

by Graeme Jackson

Monday Oct 18, 2021. 16:00

Senegalese star Cheikhou Kouyate has explained his ‘big game’ routine ahead of Crystal Palace’s visit to Arsenal later today, Monday 18 October.


Kouyate, who has been on Palace’s books since 2018 and recently helped Senegal secure qualification for the next round of 2022 World Cup Qualifiers, says he gets into the right head space from the moment he wakes up on matchday.


“For me, my game starts with everything before,” Kouyate told Palace’s official website.


“When I wake up, my game has started. Thinking, hoping you’re going to have a good game. Hoping we’re going to win the game. That’s the thing.


“It’s the same way for every match. I come in, I do my kit, I do my prayers. I ask God for the win, and pray that nobody will get an injury – myself or any other player also. I always do the same.”


And this routine does not vary, regardless of the quality of opposition Palace will face: “I think nobody knows what is better for us [than we do] if we have a big game,” Kouyate added.


“All games are big, because you want to win every game. Sometimes you are at home, sometimes away but you need to win the game for the fans.


“You need to be ready for any game. All games you’re going to play, home or away, is a big game for us. You need to be ready for everything.”


The 31-year-old also explained that he is yet to give much thought to leaving Palace midway through the 2021-22 season to represent the Teranga Lions in the Africa Cup of Nations, scheduled for January and February of next year.


“It is very different,” he admits. “We take it step by step, we don’t know what’s going to happen now.


“We wait for the mid-season and maybe we’ll go, but we are working hard now. There is a very good spirit between all the players here. It’s a good atmosphere between the players – I love it.”


Kouyate will be amongst several African stars – including the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Wilfried Zaha – set to feature in the Arsenal v Crystal Palace Premier League clash tonight.







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