Arsenal host Crystal Palace to the Emirates Stadium this weekend as the Gunners seal the points gap on the Premier League’s top two, Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspurs and also to make sure it’s Champions League spot for the next season.
Arsene’s side are currently six points down to their North London rivals Tottenham and 13 points behind with a game in hand to the Foxes with just six matches left to play in the Barclays Premier League.
Palace eased the pressure with two back to back clean sheets with a brilliant defensive display. A 1-0 victory against Norwich City adding another to a 0-0 draw with the Toffees last week and they will head to the Emirates their healthy advantage over other below placed clubs but they can still snatch the glory by gunning down the Gunners.
Expected Line-Up for Arsenal:
In early team news, Arsenal are without Alex Oxlade-Chamberlin, Santi Cazorla, and Tomas Rosicky, who are out of the squad due to injuries, but Mathieu Flamini is still a minor doubt as he had a knock and will face a late fitness test.
Petr Cech is expected to start after a disappointing show from David Ospina, who was handed a chance against West Ham, which ended as a 3 all draw.
Hector Bellerin expected to start because of his ability to track back with good pace, which is strictly needed to stop fast counters from the likes of Zaha and Bolasie.
The exact same pair which disappointed and got exposed in the aerial balls will again start, they need to be careful this evening.
Monreal with his great intelligence of balancing the attacking and defensive rate is expected to start, despite being the reason behind two of the last three goals Arsenal conceded against West Ham United, due to his poor marking.
Coquelin and Elneny will play in the defensive midfield, as usual, this time, Elneny might go forward to support the attack and go back to defend to so it will be a tricky tactical evening for Elneny.
Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez, and Alex Iwobi will start playing in the Arsenal attacking midfield. Ozil will be operating centrally which provides mobility and creativeness to be Gunners midfield while Iwobi and Sanchez will play out wide with all their skills, dribbling ability and flair. It will be a nightmare for any premier league defender to face this attacking midfield.
Though it will be tough for Wenger to select only one out of Welbeck and Giroud as Palace have a strong defense and Arsenal will need a player who has strength up front, to beat Palace’s physical style of play. But Giroud’s current 11 goalless league games may make Arsene play Welbeck.
As for Palace, their manager Alan Pardew is without Brede Hangeland, James McArthur, and Marouane Chamakh while Dwight Gayle is rated at 50/50 to feature.
With that in mind here is how we expect the two sides to line up on Sunday: