Arsenal will travel to relegation-threatened Crystal Palace on Monday evening looking to keep up their Champions League ambitions after returning to winning ways during midweek.
Arsene Wenger’s side could be seven points adrift of the top four by the time they play if Manchester City beat Hull and will know another loss could prove fatal for their European hopes.
At the other end of the Premier League table, Crystal Palace are precariously placed three points above the relegation spots and could end the weekend in the bottom three based on other results.
Arsenal’s victory over struggling West Ham on Wednesday night came as a relief after going three matches without a win, and they will want to keep building on this momentum during the run-in.
Consecutive 3-1 losses to Liverpool and West Brom followed by a 2-2 stalemate with Manchester City saw them drop out of the top four and leaves them fighting to finish the season in the top four.
By contrast, Sam Allardyce’s side have been in excellent form of late, winning four consecutive Premier League games before their late loss to Southampton at St Mary’s on Wednesday evening.
This run included the prize scalp of leaders Chelsea at Stamford Bridge – only their second home defeat of the season – and has lifted them from second bottom to the relative safety of 16th.
For the hosts, captain Scott Dann won’t feature after picking up a ligament injury during the victory over Chelsea last weekend, whilst James Tomkins is also expected to be out for the Arsenal test.
This means Martin Kelly should retain his spot in the centre of the Palace defence after starting against Southampton during the week, with defensive options running low on the ground at Selhurst Park after January signing Patrick van Aarnholt is also side-lined after picking up a knock last week.
Petr Cech could be in line for a return between the sticks for Arsenal after missing the previous two matches, whilst either Per Mertesacker or Gabriel will replace the injured Laurent Koscielny.
Aaron Ramsey is expected to return to the starting eleven in place of Mohamed Elneny whilst Olivier Giroud could come in for Danny Welbeck after impressing during his late cameo against West Ham.
Verdict: Crystal Palace 1-1 Arsenal
With one team completely devoid of confidence since their season took a downward spiral from February and the other buoyed by a four-match winning streak, it’s an interesting clash on Monday.
Arsenal will know that only a win will suffice in their quest for Champions League football next season but Palace’s shock victory over Chelsea has shown they are a side in-form and ready to compete for their Premier League lives, and they will want the Gunners to be their next culprit.
Since Mamadou Sakho’s arrival, the Eagles have won four out of five matches and only conceded four goals in the process, and with the home advantage Arsenal won’t find it easy to break down Palace.
Both teams have so much at stake that every match is now, essentially, a cup final, and for that reason, it’s fully expected to be a tight and cagey affair with neither team wanting to leave losers.