Mark Lawrenson has predicted in his BBC sport column that Arsenal will overcome the intimidating atmosphere of Selhurst Park and record a 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace.
The Gunners go in to the match coming off the back of a 2-0 FA Cup win over Middlesbrough and now attentions turn to an important encounter in the race for a top four spot.
Selhurst Park is a tricky place to go to as proven by Tottenham Hotspur’s recent defeat there, and Liverpool losing 3-1 earlier in the season, however Lawro is confident of Arsene Wenger’s men being able to claim the three points.
“Crystal Palace have had some good results since Alan Pardew took over at the start of the year but their recent home form under him is not great,” Lawro explained.
“The Eagles have not won any of their last three matches at Selhurst Park, including their defeat by Liverpool in the FA Cup last weekend.”
“This is a big game for Arsenal - with the race for the top four being so tight, they really need to win it.”
“Gunners boss Arsene Wenger said Alexis Sanchez was looking tired ahead of their FA Cup win over Middlesbrough but he was able to leave him out to give him a rest and he will be better for it on Saturday.”
Is this a must-win game for Arsenal?
The North Londoners currently lie in fifth spot in the Premier League table, one point behind Southampton in fourth who face fellow top four rivals Liverpool on Sunday.
With Manchester United at Swansea City and Spurs at home to West Ham United on Sunday, it’s a big opportunity for the Gunners to get a result and put themselves in a stronger position.
Arsene Wenger’s side have been in good form since the turn of the year and it’s likely that once they finally breach the top four they will stay there until the end of the season.
While it’s a bit premature to call such games ‘must-win encounters’ there is no doubt that this weekend provides the North Londoners with a great shot of establishing their position in the top four.