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- Team news: Wenger’s update on Ramsey, Welbeck, Giroud & Cazorla
- Preview: Arsenal v Boro, team news, line-up & prediction
- [Photos] Arsenal duo step-up injury comebacks in training today
- [Photos] Arsenal boost as injury doubt trains ahead of Boro game
- Arsene Wenger sets comeback date for forgotten Arsenal man
- Arsenal boss confirms fresh injury doubt for Middlesbrough game
- Team News: Arsene Wenger offers update on Ramsey & Giroud
- Arsenal boss confirms defender could leave in January
- 4-2-3-1 v Boro: Iwobi & Cazorla out? My Arsenal starting XI
PREVIEW: Chelsea v Arsenal: Injury News, Preferred Team + Prediction
Our hopes of lifting the Premier League are on the line tomorrow as we take on leaders Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
We’re currently four points adrift with a game in hand, so even defeat wouldn’t rule us out entirely, but if we can come away with at least a point we’re right in the mix for the title this season.
Chelsea opened the door to the chasing pack by losing 1-0 to Aston Villa last week while we took full advantage by beating Spurs 1-0 at White Hart Lane. Liverpool could be the big winners this weekend as they take on Cardiff knowing at least one of their rivals will drop points.
The pre-match talk has been all about Arsene Wenger reaching his 1,000th match in charge of Arsenal and what better way to celebrate than for the Frenchman to finally get one over Jose Mourinho and end his unbeaten league record at the Bridge.
Our task has been made a whole lot more difficult due to the number of first team players missing. Arsene Wenger didn’t give any mention of Aaron Ramsey’s fitness in his press conference earlier but he ruled the Frenchman out of this game last week so I don’t expect we’ll see him make a miraculous recovery.
So the Welshman will stay on the sidelines along with Mesut Ozil, Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott, leaving us with few options to change things in attack.
Tomas Rosicky is also a doubt with an ankle injury and he’ll face a late fitness test, but I’m sure the club will do all they can to get him fit as he’s going to be vitally important tomorrow.
As for Chelsea, Ashley Cole misses the chance to play against his former side as he’s still out with a knee injury, while Ramires and Willian are both suspended.
As I explained in my ‘preferred XI post’, I’d like to see Mathieu Flamini start ahead of Mikel Arteta in midfield. Arteta’s lack of pace is a real worry, especially in the big games away from home, so I’d go with Flamini along with Rosicky in midfield if the Czech international is fit.
I know The Ox has been excellent in the centre recently, but I think it’s important he plays further up the pitch so his pace will give their defence something to worry about and prevent them pushing too high up the field, which would restrict the space we have to play our passing game in midfield.
I’d also keep Podolski in the side for his goal threat, as we’re lacking goals from midfield with Walcott, Ozil and Ramsey out.
This is the side I’d put out. However, in reality I think Arsene Wenger may go with Arteta and Flamini in the middle, Cazorla on the left, Rosicky behind Giroud and The Ox on the right. That won’t be too bad but I do worry about the Arteta-Flamini combination sometimes.
My heart’s telling me we can win this one but my head’s saying the best we can hope for is a draw. Mourinho’s home record in the Premier League is formidable, having never lost a game, while Arsene has NEVER beaten the Portuguese coach in all his years as Arsenal boss. A draw would be a good result and I’m backing the boys to come away with a point.
Chelsea 1-1 Arsenal COYG!!!!
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