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Preview: Arsenal v Chelsea: Team News, Line-Ups & Prediction
Arsenal will be looking to set a marker down ahead of next season when we entertain Chelsea at the Emirates tomorrow afternoon.
After the Blues beat Manchester United 1-0 last weekend, they now hold a 10-point lead over us with just six games left to play so even if we win tomorrow, the title is almost certainly beyond us for another year.
However, we head into the game as Europe’s most in-form team and if Arsene Wenger can end his 12-match winless run against Jose Mourinho, then it will show the so-called ‘special one’ we will be genuine title contenders next season.
The reverse fixture at Stamford Bridge was one to forget as we lost 2-0 and failed to have a single shot on target, but the game will also be remembered for a touch-line bust-up between Arsene and Jose. It was hilarious.
This game is always heated but it’s got added spice this time around as Cesc Fabregas will make his first appearance at the Emirates as a Chelsea player. I think it’s safe to say he can expect a ‘mixed’ reception from the home fans.
Mertesacker is a major doubt after picking up an ankle injury during our FA Cup semi-final win over Reading last week, so Gabriel is expected to start at the back.
Ospina, Bellerin and Monreal are all set for recalls with Szczesny, Debuchy and Gibbs dropping out.
Oxlade-Chamberlain is still struggling to overcome a groin problem so he joins Mikel Arteta in missing the game, with the Spaniard still not match fit.
As for Chelsea, they will give a late fitness test to Diego Costa but Didier Drogba is fit to start.
Arsene has been playing Ramsey on the right wing in recent weeks and he’ll probably do it again tomorrow, but it doesn’t work for me as he drifts inside too often and exposes his full-back, so I’d prefer to see Welbeck start to give us width and pace.
This is the expected Chelsea XI:
Courtois, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta, Matic, Ramires, Fabregas, Willian, Hazard, Drogba.
Let’s be honest, our record against Mourinho is embarrassing (L7 D5 W0), but we’ve never gone into a game in such good form or as confident as we are right now. Chelsea have been grinding out lucky wins for weeks and I genuinely believe this is best chance we’ve had in many years to get one over them.
Mourinho will be happy with a boring 0-0, and he might get one, but I’m going to back the boys to snatch a narrow 1-0 win. Arsenal 1-0 Chelsea