After our heroics in Italy, we return back to Premier League matters, with yet another critical match for our top four hopes.
The fixture congestion has already started to bite yet there is no room for fatigue with a game just three days after going to Naples and putting in a professional and accomplished performance to guarantee our Europa League Semi-Final.
While both games are no less important to our season, this game being at The Emirates means we can at least look forward to our team taking it to the opposition and being full of confidence – our home form is second only to Man City this year.
Crystal Palace will be the visitors and now that they are not quite mathematically but probably safe from relegation – eight points between them and the drop zone with 12 to play for – the Eagles may well have a little of the bluster they have had recently taken out of their sails.
Well, we can at least hope for that. Long has it been that Palace have ruined many accumulators and hopes of glory, they are no strangers to upsetting the odds. With this being a home game though, and with us having three more away games to navigate, this game is a must-win.
So who will Emery go for, with our European trip still fresh in the mind and the legs?
Sokratis completes his suspension with omission from this game, but that means we may be forced to play Laurent Koscielny again in this one. The Frenchman turned in a virtuoso performance versus Napoli, but with his injury woes, no doubt Unai Emery would have been keen to rest him.
We may opt for the conventional four at the back being at home, so Mustafi may come into the centre, or Monreal, with Kolasinac at the left-back spot.
In midfield, Lucas Torreira and Granit Xhaka started the last game, so Matteo Guendouzi may come in, probably for Xhaka with the Swiss man having only recently returned through injury.
Up top, Aaron Ramsey pulled up with a twinged hamstring so will be unavailable. That means room for Alex Iwobi, although Emery is likely to play both strikers – Aubameyang and Lacazette – so there could be only two spots available behind Laca. That may see a return to the starting eleven for Mesut Ozil.
Player to Watch
The Serb is the king of the penalties this season – ten bagged in all from the spot – but Milovojevic is much more than just a penalty taker.
Eagles fans will attest to his battling, his passing and his effective press. That means a tough time for Guendouzi and co. While Zaha may steal the headlines and pose a direct threat, Milovojevic will be the man ticking them over.
How This Could Go
The Eagles are in decent form, and aside from losses to Tottenham, City and a tight loss to Brighton on 9 March, they have picked up 3 wins, and two of those have been away from home.
Roy Hodgson knows the strengths and weaknesses of his team, and will have them primed for counter-attacks. They will aim to stifle and as the pressure rises to score, they will use the potent pace of Zaha and Townsend to slice us open.
They also have the aerial threat of Christian Benteke. The big Belgian may be forgotten by most and his goal drought is still ongoing, Benteke has been getting more involved recently. The striker will cause us worry with his prowess in the box and his physicality and we all know that we often give opposition strikers reprieve when they’re suffering with a lack of goals!
With Laca and Auba though, we have more than enough to burst Palace’s bubble. Their home record is quite astonishing, and if we score early and continue to push on, Palace’s plans will be ripped up.
With this being a home game, we must go for it. It has worked against bigger and better sides than Palace, and we should have too much for our opponents to handle.
Predicted Lineup: Leno, Maitland-Niles, Mustafi, Koscielny, Kolasinac, Torreira, Guendouzi, Mkhitaryan, Ozil, Aubameyang, Lacazette
Predicted Scoreline – 3-1 to The Arsenal