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Preview: Arsenal v Chelsea, team news, line-up & prediction
Arsenal have a great opportunity to make a real statement in the title race when we take on champions Chelsea at the Emirates on Sunday afternoon.
Usually I’d be dreading this game as we’ve hugely under-performed against Chelsea in recent times – although some poor officiating hasn’t helped.
But they aren’t the same team as they were last year, that’s for sure. The Mourinho ‘magic’ evaporated and so has their confidence, so this is an excellent chance for us to end our poor recent run against the Blues.
It’s been over eight hours since we last scored a league goal against them. If we don’t end that record tomorrow, then we never will, as they’ve shipped five goals in their last two games and have already conceded 34 this season.
Consecutive draws at Liverpool and Stoke have stunted our progress and we’ve now slipped off top spot after Leicester won this afternoon but we can reclaim first place with a win tomorrow and beating the defending champions would give the squad a real boost heading in to the business end of the campaign.
Mesut Ozil is set to return after the German international missed the trip to the Britannia last week with a minor foot injury.
Alexis Sanchez is also set to return to the squad after overcoming a hamstring injury that’s kept him on the sidelines since November.
Francis Coquelin is back in training but is going to need more time to build up his match fitness before he can come back in to the squad.
Danny Welbeck is also due to resume training next week but is still unavailable along with Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere. Tomas Rosicky continued his comeback with a run-out for the U21’s yesterday but won’t be involved on Sunday.
As for Chelsea, it comes as no surprise to hear that Eden Hazard and Diego Costa have been passed fit to start but Falcao is still out with a thigh problem.
As I said in my post yesterday, I think we need to bring Gabriel back in alongside Koscielny and drop Mertesacker. Gabriel is more capable of roughing it with Costa than the lanky German and he deserves another chance to go up against his Brazilian compatriot after the injustice at Stamford Bridge earlier in the season.
Some have suggested that Sanchez should only be on the bench but if he’s passed fit, he has to start for me.
It may be harsh, but I’d pick Walcott ahead of Campbell. The Costa Rican has been in great form but Theo is more of a threat and he loves playing against Chelsea.
This would be my team:
It’s never easy to predict these types of games but I have a good feeling about tomorrow. Chelsea don’t carry that fear anymore and as long as the players don’t bottle it, and the official doesn’t give Chelsea any more ‘gifts’, then I think we’ll ease to a 3-1 win.
Arsenal 3-1 Chelsea