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Preview: Arsenal v Crystal Palace, team news, line-up & prediction
Arsenal desperately need a win to close the gap on Tottenham when we take on Crystal Palace at the Emirates on Sunday afternoon.
Our slim chances of winning the Premier League title evaporated after we blew a two-goal lead to draw 3-3 at West Ham last weekend.
That result has left us 13 points adrift of Leicester City and while we do have a game in hand, even a 10-point gap is too much to overcome with just five games remaining.
The main focus now needs to be finishing second above Tottenham as I’m not sure our fans could handle blowing the title AND finishing below that lot this season.
A win tomorrow would close the gap on Spurs to just three points and really put the pressure on ahead of their game at Stoke on Monday night, so we can’t waste this opportunity.
It’s also worth noting that a top four finish is by no means secure as we’re now down to forth after City’s win at Chelsea and fifth placed Man Utd are just three points behind so we have to win tomorrow to regain third spot.
Palace come to the Emirates sitting 16th in the table but they’re eight points clear of the relegation zone so Alan Pardew’s men are almost safe for another season.
Wilshere will continue to work on his match fitness by playing for the under-21′s having come through 90 minutes for the youth side last week but this game obviously comes too soon for the midfielder.
Cazorla is back in full training after recovering from a knee injury but he’s not expected back in the first team just yet so remains unavailable along with Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Arsene is likely to bring Cech back in to the side after inexplicably leaving him on the bench last week while Mertesacker should also get a recall in order to deal with the threat of Adebayor in the air. We don’t want another Andy Carroll situation on our hands.
As for Palace, they’ll be without Dwight Gayle due to a leg muscle injury while Wilfried Zaha could also miss out with a shoulder problem.
Understandably we’re the heavy favourites for this game and I can’t see past anything other than a home win. Palace’s form has tailed off in recent weeks and we usually perform well when the pressure is off. If we can keep things together at the back, I can see a relatively comfortable 3-1 win.
Arsenal 3-1 Crystal Palace