Why Crystal Palace is a must-win game for Arsenal, Mikel Arteta

• Top four rivals closing in

• Slump has to end

• Pressure mounting on Mikel Arteta

Crystal Palace v Arsenal FC - Premier League
Crystal Palace v Arsenal FC - Premier League / Julian Finney/GettyImages

Amid Arsenal's current poor run of form, here is why Saturday's clash against Crystal Palace is a must-win fixture for the club - and Arteta.

Arsenal have failed to win in all of their last four games, and have won just once in their last seven - the club's worst run of form since the end of 2019, where we notoriously won just one game in 13.

Our current run has seen us slip to fourth in the Premier League, level on points with Tottenham in fifth, though we will play our game in hand against Crystal Palace.

It goes without saying that this run needs to end, but failure to win on Saturday could spell disaster for our season, and plunge Mikel Arteta into uncertainty - here is why.

Top four is becoming anything but a certainty

Mikel Arteta, Leandro Trossard, Gabriel Magalhaes
Manchester City v Arsenal FC - Premier League / Visionhaus/GettyImages

With Tottenham now level on points with the Gunners, and the likes of Man Utd, Brighton, West Ham and even Chelsea all seeing a rise in form as of late, Arsenal's position in the top four is looking increasingly uncertain by the week.

While they still sit six points ahead of sixth place, which is currently occupied by West Ham, some fans have started to look over their shoulders as the competition look to capitalise on Arsenal's drop in form.

Failure to win against Crystal Palace will not see us fall down the table, but our tricky upcoming fixtures mean that it is essential that we take three points on Saturday.

After the Crystal Palace game, we face a tough trip away to a resurgent Nottingham Forest side, now led by Nuno Espirito Santo, followed by difficult games against Liverpool and then West Ham.

With the mental sucker punch that failure to win against the Eagles on Saturday would bring, doing so could quite conceivably see us then go on to drop points in all of the three following games.

Pressure on the manager?

Mikel Arteta
Fulham FC v Arsenal FC - Premier League / Alex Pantling/GettyImages

The pressure has undoubtedly been mounting on Arteta in recent weeks and, while the vast majority of fans are still well behind him, failure to beat Crystal Palace would do little to ease the increasing divide among the fanbase.

The team are fresh off the back of a warm weather training camp in Dubai, thanks to the winter break, so there is really no excuse for a poor performance on Saturday and, if we were to see that, it would only add to the pressure on Arteta at the moment.

A win, however, would see us move to just two points off of top spot and, although both Liverpool and Man City would have a game in hand over us, this would be a huge source of positivity for the squad and fanbase, and would go some way to alleviate the pressure on Arteta too.

Reasons for optimism rather than despair

Kai Havertz, Leandro Trossard, Declan Rice, Eddie Nketiah
Arsenal FC v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier League / Richard Heathcote/GettyImages

While the aforementioned reasons make needing a win against Crystal Palace feel imperative to our season, there is plenty of reason to be positive ahead of the game that could well be a springboard for our season.

The winter break came at an almost perfect time for us and the week away in Dubai would have had a great impact on the squad, with reports claiming that morale in the camp was very high.

On top of this, of all the fixtures to look to rebound in, Crystal Palace at home, with all due respect to any Eagles fans, is probably about as good as you could hope for.

Win, and we have the chance to go on a good run, with our current poor form then being forgotten, but it remains true that failure to win is simply not an option if we have any aspirations of success for the remainder of the league season.