Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta. Image Credit: Reuters

Dubai: Arsenal face Crystal Palace at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday knowing they can move eight points clear at the top of the Premier League table with a victory. The Gunners will be confident of securing a win what with the Eagles entering the London derby managerless having sacked coach Patrick Vieira on Friday after a 12-game winless run.

Arsenal were knocked out of the Europa League by Sporting Lisbon and some fans were relieved about their exit as it will now allow the team to focus on keeping Manchester City at bay during the business end of the season.

Arsenal maintained their five-point lead over the champions with an easy 3-0 win over Fulham last weekend, but a win against Palace will significantly extend that.

Palace are 12th place in the table but are only three points clear of the relegation zone. The club is searching for a replacement for Vieira, and Under-21s coach Paddy McCarthy will prepare the team for their game.

Injury concerns

Palace have avoided defeat in their last four Premier League away games at Arsenal, but the Gunners won 2-0 at Selhurst Park in August.

Mikel Arteta lost both Takehiro Tomiyasu and William Saliba to injuries in the first half of their Europa League match on Thursday and so Rob Holding may start.

Albert Sambi Lokonga, on loan from Arsenal, cannot play against his parent club but Will Hughes and James McArthur may return from illness. Sam Johnstone is still recovering from a calf problem, and Vicente Guaita is dealing with a hamstring strain. Academy graduate Joe Whitworth may make back-to-back Premier League starts in goal, while Nathan Ferguson is building up his match fitness.

Arsenal are expected to win and increase their lead at the top of the table.