Arsenal bid to make it twelve wins on the bounce with a short trip to Selhurst Park, to a Crystal Palace team who have been performing well, but are in desperate need of points.
The Eagles are in a bit of a tailspin down the table and have lost the last three, and won only two games from nine. Roy Hodgson knows the problem - a severe lack of goals - and they are hugely reliant on the mercurial Wilfried Zaha in order to get anything out of a game.
The Ivory Coast wideman plays a part in a huge 80% of the Eagles goals thus far, and with Christian Benteke still injured and Connor Wickham still not entirely fit after missing well over a year through injury, the Eagles are leaning on the intervention of a player who will surely be on one of the big club’s radars in January.
Either way, Zaha will be lining up against our team, and if he does have an impact, it will surely be in the first half.
Our team seem to need the verbal rocket from Emery in the dressing room at half time, and our first forty-five minutes in the last few games especially, have been dreary affairs where we seem to invite pressure and go dangerously close to conceding a hatful of goals.
Then the second half begins and we look an entirely different team, ripping our opponents apart at will. Zaha will be looking forward to the first version of our team, and if that happens, we will need every bit of our ability to keep him quiet.
Palace do have more dangers though. Patrick Van Aanholt is capable of a rocket, Townsend can go on a slaloming run that can change a game, and Kouyate is capable of a thumping header from a set play.
So, who’s available to play?
Sokratis returned to the squad for our win over Sporting in midweek, but was left out of the side. With Mustafi and Holding both playing that game, maybe the Greek defender could come in and provide some fresh legs.
We had Granit Xhaka play left-back on Thursday, with both Sead Kolasinac and Nacho Monreal both missing out. Both players should be available for this game, so expect Xhaka to take his usual place in the centre of the park , alongside Lucas Torreira.
Up top, Aubameyang played on Thursday too, but Emery seems to want to take advantage of the partnership that is evident between Auba and Lacazette, so both could line up. Mesut Ozil will most likely return too, and with Iwobi fresh for selection after coming on as a late sub versus Sporting, expect Ramsey to again take his place on the bench.
How Will The Game Go?
This game is no foregone conclusion. The partizan home crowd and the desperate need for points will be a huge catalyst for Palace, and while they may not produce the best football in this game, they will have a huge desire to win. That will mean a premium on space, so we need to stay patient.
If we continue to play our expansive game, we could get the goals we need in the second half, but I see us coming back from a goal down, with Palace going at us from the first whistle.
Alternatively, we could face a Palace side low on confidence and we earn a comfortable victory, but we never do things the easy way do we?
Lacazette had a quiet-ish game against Leicester last week, but I back him to get the goals to win this. When space is tight, that is when Laca’s qualities come to the fore. He is excellent at eking out a yard to fire off a shot, and his finishing is usually exemplary.. The Frenchman will be the difference in this game, I think.
A twelfth win on the trot would see us reassert our credentials before the Liverpool game next weekend.
Keep it tight, and stay patient, and we should grab the points.