Arsenal slipped to second place behind Manchester City after a midweek draw with Southampton, ending their extended stay atop the Premier League table. The Gunners will hope a home clash with Crystal Palace will help them get back on the title track.
Even though Arsene Wenger's group has continued to play well through a very busy stretch of the schedule, City have been virtually unstoppable as of late. Arsenal must continue to play well and believe the Sky Blues will eventually cool off.
Palace are coming off two straight 1-0 victories in league play. With the bottom of the table so congested, every point is going to matter during those final weeks. Luckily for the Eagles, they have given themselves a little breathing room for the time being.
Let's check out all of the important viewing information for the Premier League fixture, followed by a breakdown of the top storyline and a match prediction.
Where: Emirates Stadium, London, England
When: Sunday, Feb. 2 at 11 a.m. ET/4 p.m. GMT
Watch: NBC Sports Network and Sky Sports 1
Live Stream: NBC Sports Live Extra
Match Forecast (via Bloomberg Sports)
Arsenal: 66.7 percent
Crystal Palace: 12.3 percent
Draw: 21 percent
Top Storyline: Can Arsenal move back atop the table following matchday 24?
Arsenal are just one point out of first place with plenty of matches left to play, but the reaction after City took over the lead made it seem like the Gunners were falling out of the race. They just have to make sure the new leaders don't start adding to their edge.
Kevin Palmer of ESPN passed along comments from Wenger, who said the tendency is always to overreact to any single match. The longtime boss said his side is ready for a fight to the finish and will take it one game at a time:
I'm confident the squad is ready for a fight. It is for us the ability to focus on the next game, and our ability to recruit all our resources for the next game will make our month interesting. Let's start with that on Sunday against Palace.
The biggest key for Arsenal is finding a way to maintain their intensity over 90 minutes. With creative midfielders such as Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla leading the attack, it's no surprise the Gunners enjoy moments of absolute brilliance.
Yet there are times when they lack the necessary energy to work hard to win the ball and push forward. The final 30 minutes of the draw with Southampton was an example. It's the type of thing that can cost them valuable points and possibly the title.
The attack will be tested by a Palace side that's been improving defensively. The effort is led by center back Damien Delaney. He was particularly strong in the club's midweek win over Hull, which earned him a spot on WhoScored's Best XI:
Arsenal must control possession and put a lot of pressure on the Eagles' in-form back line. It's something they were able to do during the first meeting back in October, which resulted in a 2-0 win. The Gunners would be happy with a similar result this time around.
If Arsenal are going to capture the Premier League title, they can't afford to drop any points in this type of match. Although Crystal Palace are playing better football as of late, they can't match the Gunners' overall skill, especially moving forward.
It's probably going to take some time for Arsenal to break through the Palace back line. In the end, however, they should be able to create enough chances to make sure they earn all three points, which could be enough to get them back atop the table when the matchday ends.
Arsenal 2, Crystal Palace 0