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Preview: Arsenal v Chelsea: key duo ruled out, Elneny to start + prediction

By on January 3, 2018

Ainsley.Maitland.Niles_arsenal

Arsenal desperately need to collect all three points when Chelsea arrive at the Emirates Stadium later this evening.

We are in danger of being cut off from the top four if we lose this game as we currently sit sixth in the Premier League table and six points adrift of fourth-placed Liverpool.

However, victory tonight would see us climb above Tottenham in to fifth, and put us just three points behind Liverpool and four off Chelsea so it would keep us right in the mix.

The 1-1 draw at West Brom on Sunday was hugely disappointing and as much as Mike Dean cost us two valuable points, the fact is we played badly and need to step things up dramatically if we’re to beat Chelsea.

Team News

Our injury problems have come as a terrible time as Arsene Wenger faces being without seven first team players this evening.

There are unconfirmed rumours circulating on social media that Ozil has been passed fit after missing the West Brom game with a knee injury. However, he hasn’t trained all week and I would be surprised if he did start.

Koscielny is also a major doubt after aggravating his Achilles injury at the Hawthorns while Kolasinac has been ruled out for two weeks with an ankle injury that forced him off in the first half.

Monreal is expected to be out for another fortnight with an ankle problem while Giroud, Ramsey and Cazorla are also still out so the boss has plenty of injury problems to deal with.

However, fortunately for Chelsea, they have virtually a full squad to choose from with only David Luiz missing – and he is out-of-favour anyway.

Preferred line-up

The boss has gone with a back three recently but I’d like to see us line-up with a back four if Koscielny is out. Chambers has done well in recent games so I’d go with him alongside Mustafi.

Maitland-Niles is set to deputise again at left-back with Kolasinac and Monreal out while I would go with three central midfielders to match-up against Chelsea otherwise we’ll lose the battle in the middle of the park. With Ramsey out I’d go with Elneny alongside Wilshere and Xhaka.

Assuming Ozil is out, I’d like to see Welbeck given a chance in attack. Iwobi seems to be in favour under Wenger but I have no idea why he keeps getting regular game-time as he’s been extremely poor lately.

We need a BIG performance from Sanchez if we’re to win tonight while I hope we see Lacazette back among the goals as he’s in the middle of a dry spell. This would be my eleven:

Likely Chelsea XI: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Christensen, Cahill, Moses, Fabregas, Kante, Bakayoko, Alonso, Hazard, Morata.

Prediction

This is obviously going to be a difficult game for a patched-up Arsenal team. I’d be confident if we had our full side out but it’s a big ask without so many first team regulars. The good news is we won this fixture 3-0 last season and we have an excellent record at the Emirates this campaign.

If Wenger gets his tactics right, we cut out any stupid mistakes at the back and Sanchez and Lacazette are on form in attack then I can see us edging it. That’s a lot of ‘if’s’ but losing doesn’t bare thinking about so I’m backing the boys to do the business. Arsenal 2-1 Chelsea

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One Comment

  1. TC

    January 3, 2018 at 4:25 pm

    no point in playing welbeck – he is just a bumbling physical specimen who has no chance of influencing a game – not worthy of even being on the bench.

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