Arsenal v Crystal Palace Preview: Gunners looking to strengthen  grip on top four

Arsenal v Crystal Palace Preview: Gunners looking to strengthen  grip on top four

Arsenal will hope to continue their solid home form when a survival chasing Crystal Palace head north of the river.

conor-o’hara
Conor O’Hara

Arsenal have not lost a Premier League fixture at the Emirates since the opening weekend of the season and will have to further rely on their solid home form if they are to continue to fight for a Champions League spot.

Unai Emery's men currently sit in a routine fourth position, yet could edge past Spurs into third place with victory over Palace this weekend, which would also edge them three points clear of Chelsea in fifth, whilst also flaunting a superior goal difference.

Despite being understandable underdogs for this fixture, Roy Hodgson's men away form has been absolutely crucial to their survival cause, and have picked up 23 points from 17 away fixtures. Notable away performance include summoning Man City to their only home defeat of the season with a 3-2 win at The Etihad, whilst also putting three past Liverpool at Anfield, yet narrowly losing 4-3.

The South London outfit currently sit in 13th place in the league, eight points clear of Cardiff in 18th, and could all but secure Premier Football for yet another season if they can surprise Arsenal on Sunday.

What happened last time the two sides met?

Palace earned a rare point against the Gunners when both sides had to come from behind in a 2-2 drawback in October at Selhurst Park. 

The Eagles had to wait three months before they netted their first goal at Selhurst Park this season, before skipper, Luka Milivojevic once again netted from the spot to put the hosts in front just before the interval.

Their lead didn't last very long, however, as Granit Xhaka equalised after 51 minutes with a stunning curling effort, before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang put the away side ahead for the first time in the game just five minutes later; even though the goal possibly shouldn't have stood after the ball appeared to have clearly struck the hand of Alexander Lacazette in the build-up, yet was not seen by the officials. 

The North London side looked well on their way to three points on the road, yet another costly misjudgement from Arsenal as Xhaka went from hero to zero when he brought Wilfried Zaha down in the box with less than ten minutes left.

As expected, Milivojevic remained as calm as ever and continued his fine penalty record in the Premier League when he fired the penalty in and earned Palace a point.

Team News

Crystal Palace

Palace have been struck with a couple of serious injuries in recent weeks as both starting centre-backs, James Tomkins and Mamadou Sakho will both most likely miss this Easter Sunday clash.

Jeff Schlupp was also forced off the field of play during Palace's most recent defeat to Man City, and will also be unavailable.

Arsenal 

The hosts aren't without injury problems of their own, starting with Aaron Ramsey who may well have played his last game in an Arsenal shirt after he was forced off during their win over Napoli during the week.

Sokratis is also suspended after picking up his tenth yellow of the campaign, whilst Rob Holding, Danny Welbeck and Hector Bellerin all remain sidelined. 

Predicted Line-ups

Arsenal - Leno; Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal; Maitland-Niles, Torreira, Xhaka, Kolasinac; Ozil; Lacazette, Aubameyang

Crystal Palace - Guaita; Wan-Bissaka, Kelly, Dann, Van Aanholt; Townsend, Kouyate, Milivojevic, McArthur; Zaha, Batshuayi

VAVEL Logo