Arsenal will need three points at home to Crystal Palace on Sunday to keep in touch with the top four.
Our shock 1-0 defeat at Sheffield United last Monday has left us four points behind Leicester City and Chelsea, who hold the final two Champions League spots heading into the weekend.
Roy Hodgson’s side actually start the weekend directly below us having picked up three points against the likes of Manchester United, West Ham and Norwich City this season. However, there cannot be any excuses for us dropping points against the Eagles this weekend.
Unai Emery has virtually a fully-fit squad to pick from this weekend, with Reiss Nelson our only confirmed absentee. The teenager isn’t expected to be back for a few weeks with a knee ligament injury.
Alexandre Lacazette made his first start in seven weeks during our dramatic 3-2 win over Vitoria SC in the Europa League but won’t be expected to start two games in such a short period of time. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be recalled to start up front having been rested on Thursday.
Bernd Leno, Sokratis, David Luiz, Granit Xhaka, Matteo Guendouzi and Nicolas Pepe were all rested in that game in order to be fresh for domestic action on Sunday.
Crystal Palace are set to welcome back goalkeeper Vicente Guaita from a groin injury and Martin Kelly is expected to return to the squad. Defender Mamadou Sakho and forward Connor Wickham remain on the sidelines.
No doubt that we’ll see Calum Chambers and Sead Kolasinac back in defence as Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney aren’t quite ready for two games in four days after their long injury lay-offs. Chambers potentially faces his toughest defensive test of the season up against Wilfried Zaha.
You can expect Granit Xhaka to start too despite his woeful performances this season. The Swiss international is the boss’ captain after all. Matteo Guendouzi will start alongside him, and I think Dani Ceballos will make up the central midfield trio.
Nicolas Pepe’s heroics midweek should guarantee him a starting place on Sunday, with youngster Bukayo probably making up the front three down the left, with Aubameyang in the middle.
Although we lost our last Premier League outing and have actually lost two of our last five against Crystal Palace, I am confident we’ll bounce back with a victory this weekend. As long as we don’t gift Luka Milivojevic an opportunity from the penalty spot.
Pressure is growing on Unai Emery to get results immediately so he’s going to play what he considers his strongest side for this one. Leicester City will have already played on Friday night and potentially have opened up a seven point lead over us, giving us more incentive to win this one.
We’ve not been the best at the back recently but I think we have enough in attack to see of the likes of Martin Kelly and Gary Cahill.
Arsenal 2-1 Crystal Palace