With three fixtures between the two sides in January, Arsenal will be seeing—and hopefully not feeling—blue. The first Arsenal v Chelsea fixture comes on Thursday from The Emirates Stadium. The remaining two League Cup semi-final legs follow on the 10th and 24th respectively. As nice as a League Cup would be, a result to stay in close contact with a top four spot is crucial.
Arsenal v Chelsea: Gunners Look to Turn Corner
A slew of Arsenal players will be sidelined for today’s clash:
Aaron Ramsey (hamstring); Olivier Giroud (hamstring); Sead Kolasinac (ankle); Laurent Koscielny (hip), Nacho Monreal (ankle)
Mesut Özil appears to have been cleared to play, but reports suggest he will start on the bench.
How Arsenal Will Line-Up
Arsenal have made the following provisional players available:
Cech, Ospina, Mertesacker, Holding, Mustafi, Koscielny, Chambers, Debuchy, Bellerin, Nelson, Maitland-Niles, Coquelin, Wilshere, Xhaka, Elneny, Ozil, Iwobi, Sanchez, Welbeck, Walcott, Lacazette
With so many injuries, it seems very possible that Wenger will revert to a back four. With Monreal and Kolasinac both out, responsibilities will be bestowed upon the young Maitland-Niles. In that case, expect a back four that includes:
Bellerin – Mertesacker – Mustafi – Maitland-Niles
Whether Wenger will feel confident enough in Chambers to have him start, perhaps for his club captain, is unlikely but possible. Mertesacker’s experience might just give him the edge.
If a back three is in order:
Chambers – Mertesacker – Mustafi
Expect to see Wilshere, Xhaka, Lacazette, Alexis earning a start. If Özil is ready, of course he’s a shoe-in as well. If not, the young and somewhat out-of-form Alex Iwobi is a potential replacement. Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck both offer better options. Arsenal need goals, and there is a lot more to offer from the more seasoned Gunners. Wenger sees Iwobi as a more creative option, but creativity isn’t the issue here—scoring is.
club – points (games played)
Manchester City – 62 (22)
Manchester United – 47 (22)
Chelsea – 45 (21)
Liverpool – 44 (22)
Tottenham – 40 (21)
Arsenal – 38 (21)
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