Arsenal vs Crystal Palace: Arsenal are alive and kicking in this season’s race for the top four, but Crystal Palace will be hoping Unai Emery’s men will still have their mind on the Europa League and slip up on Sunday.
The Gunners advanced to the last four of the Europa League on Thursday night, and they now take on Valencia in the semi-final in the coming weeks.
However, they are currently on 66 points in the Premier League and need a victory over Roy Hodgson’s men to ensure they remain in the hunt to secure Champions League football for next season.
Aaron Ramsey will be unavailable for selection after suffering injury in Arsenal’s victory over Napoli in the Europa League on Thursday.
The Wales international jons Danny Welbeck, Rob Holding and Hector Bellerin in the medical room, while Sokratis Papastathopoulos will also be absent against Palace due to suspension.
Potential Arsenal starting XI: Cech; Monreal, Sokratis, Koscielny; Maitland-Niles, Torreira, Guendouzi, Kolasinac, Ozil; Lacazette, Aubameyang.
Potential Crystal Palace starting XI: Guita; Wan-Bissaka, Kelly, Dann, Van Aaholt; Townsend, Milivojevic, McArthur, Schlupp, Zaha; Benteke.
With Spurs dropping points against Manchester City on Saturday, the prospect of securing Champions League football just became an even more realistic possibility for Arsenal.
However, the Gunners will need to fend off challengers Palace on Sunday which will be no easy task given some of their performances this season.
The Eagles have won two of their last four Premier League games, while previous wins over Manchester City and Spurs this season prove they are capable of beating the bigger sides.
Arsenal also suffered a blow in their victory over Napoli in mid-week with Ramsey forced off with injury, which will no doubt be a huge loss to the side.
The Wales international has scored four goals in 28 appearances in the league this season along with assisting six others, and his manager insists he’ll be missed as he recovers from injury.
“In his last few performances he has been helping us a lot – and in some of the key moments of this season,” Emery said of Ramsey.
“His injury is bad news and I don’t know how long he will be out of the team, maybe two or three weeks.”
From a Palace perspective, they are arguably safe from relegation on 39 points with a host of teams between themselves and the drop zone.
However, one more win will confirm their safety and Hodgson will be hoping a victory over the Gunners can not only secure survival but also help to start building for the next campaign.