Mikel Arteta will be hoping Arsenal can prove their trophy-winning credentials by bouncing back from the “huge blow” of being dumped out of the UEFA Europa League on Thursday night.
The Gunners suffered a costly defeat to Sporting Lisbon in the round-of-16, seeing Takehiro Tomiyasu and William Saliba limp off, as well as being taken through an energy-sapping period of extra-time before losing on penalties.
Arsenal can now at least focus all their attention on aiming to land their first Premier League (PL) title in nearly two decades, and a 3-0 victory at Fulham last weekend left them five points clear at the top of the table.
With closest rivals Manchester City not in league action this weekend, they will now be looking to further open the gap by notching up a sixth successive top-flight win in a single season for the first time since autumn 2018, while also bidding to improve upon their stunning run of just one defeat in their last 16 home league outings (W13, D2).
Arsenal supporters will be confident of extending that run in a London derby against struggling visitors Crystal Palace, who arrive at the Emirates Stadium without a manager after sacking Patrick Vieira on Friday.
The Gunners legend was dismissed following a run of 11 league games without a victory (D5, L6), the longest winless run of any club in the top-flight this season.
The most recent of those outings was a 1-0 defeat against bitter rivals Brighton on Wednesday, when Palace failed to score for the fourth successive fixture (D1, L3).
That left the Eagles just three points clear of the relegation zone ahead of the round, and chairman Steve Parish felt he had to take decisive action if Palace are to maintain the PL status they have held since 2013, stating a change in manager would give them the “best chance” of staying up.
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