Arsenal’s draw away to West Ham last weekend all but ended their faint hopes of Premier League glory this season, but a win at home to Crystal Palace would keep the pressure on Tottenham, who they have never finished below in the Premier League era.
The Gunners know they must win all of their remaining games if they are to stand any chance of winning the title, as they currently sit 13 points off top spot and will be relying on both Spurs and Leicester’s campaigns entirely derailing.
Arsene Wenger’s side’s form since Christmas has not been that of potential champions, winning only six of their 15 fixtures. They are currently on a four-game unbeaten run though, but will be disappointed to have not won their last game after leading West Ham 2-0 at the Boleyn Ground at one stage.
The Gunners have been in a free scoring mood as of late, scoring nine goals in their last three Premier League fixtures, and Wenger will hope his attacking options keep fit for the remainder of the season.
They host a Palace side that are unbeaten in their last three after enduring a torrid 2016 in which they have only picked up just one win in the league.
The victory came last weekend against Norwich at Selhurst Park, and now the Eagles sit on 38 points, eight above Sunderland in the final relegation spot.
Alan Pardew’s men have found it hard at home this season, losing 10 of their 18 games, so they will be happy to face an away match.
For the hosts, Petr Cech is expected to replace David Ospina in goal, while Santi Cazorla and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have both stepped up their recovery and are expected back to training soon, but this game has probably come too early for the pair.
Jack Wilshere has also returned to playing ways after months out with injury but the midfielder won’t be risked for this one at the Emirates.
Meanwhile, Palace will monitor Dwight Gayle this week after he picked up a muscle injury in their midweek game against Everton, while Wilfried Zaha will face a late fitness test on a shoulder problem.
Giant defender Hangeland is also set to miss out after picking up a knock, while the south Londoners are still without James McArthur (knee), Kwesi Appiah (knee) and Marouane Chamakh (hip).
League Positions: Arsenal – 3rd (59 pts); Crystal Palace – 16th (37 pts)
Previous Meetings: Crystal Palace 1-2 Arsenal (August 16, 2015)
Form: Arsenal – LLDWWD; Crystal Palace – LDLLDW
Key Men: Arsenal – Danny Welbeck; Crystal Palace – Jason Puncheon
Shoot Says: Arsenal 2-0 Crystal Palace