Chelsea head to the Emirates on Saturday to face Arsenal as both teams fight for a place in the top four.
The Gunners are the third highest scoring side after Manchester City and Liverpool but have been suffering in defence having conceded 15 goals more than Sarri’s side this season.
Arsenal, currently fifth behind the Blues will be looking to get a win and close in on Chelsea with the gap possibly being reduced to 3 points.
On the other hand, with an away win for Chelsea, the gap between the two teams would increase to 9 points. Manchester United, currently 6th with the same points of fifth-placed Arsenal, take on Brighton at 3pm.
Arsenal Team News
Unai Emery should deploy a 3-4-2-1 formation with the backline being composed of Mustafi, Sokratis and Koscielny. Rob Holding is out with a long-term injury.
On the right and left flank, Bellerin and Kolasinac are expected to start with the Spaniard returning to first team action after being left out from the squad that lost to West Ham last weekend.
The two centre midfield positions should be filled up by the Swiss Xhaka and Torreira who like Bellerin will return to the starting line-up. French midfielder Matteo Guendouzi could be given playing time in due course. Armenian attacking midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan remains injured but is expected to make his return in February.
Mezut Ozil is back in the squad and could feature for Emery’s side although he should not be included in the starting lineup.
In attack, Emery is expected to start with Iwobi and Aubameyang just behind sole striker Alexandre Lacazette.
Chelsea Team News
Chelsea’s initial formation should be the usual one, that is Sarri’s 4-3-3 with Kepa in goal and Azpilicueta and Alonso starting at right back and left back position.
In the heart of defence, Rudiger and David Luiz are expected to start at centre-back positions. The young Dane Andreas Christensen is out injured and will not feature for the match.
In midfield, Kante and Jorginho are now regular starters but for the third available position, it should be a battle between Barkley and Kovacic with the latter favourite to start.
Morata and Hudson-Odoi are maybe two of the most talked about players in the transfer news sites and are both doubtful of a place in the starting lineup. Morata is on the verge of a move to Spanish side Atletico Madrid while the young English winger, who interests Bayern Munich, should start from the bench as well.
Pedro and Willian are expected to start at right and left wing positions respectively while Hazard should be adapted in a false nine role and fill in the centre-forward position.
- Arsenal have won just one of their last 14 league games against Chelsea (D5 L8), with that win coming at the Emirates in September 2016 (3-0).
- Only Liverpool (13) have kept more Premier League clean sheets this season than Chelsea (10), while only Fulham (2) have kept fewer than Arsenal (3).
- Arsenal are unbeaten in their last 12 Premier League London derbies at home (W9 D3), winning the last five in a row. Their last such defeat was in January 2016 vs Chelsea.
- Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud could become the second player to score for both clubs in Premier League meetings between Arsenal and Chelsea, after Cesc Fabregas.
Next up: Arsenal
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) January 14, 2019
- Arsenal Wins – 76
- Draws – 57
- Chelsea Wins – 63
There could be plenty of goals in this one given Arsenal’s usual way of playing, but this is a big game and Emery is well aware of it so they’ll be tasked with producing a much more solid performance, which they should do, but it looks like they’ll be just short.
Chelsea have not been great but they’ve been good enough to sit six points above the Gunners in the table, they’ve also mainly struggled to break defensive teams down and this Arsenal side have produced fewer clean sheets than anyone bar Fulham in the Premier League. Therefore a high scoring result could be expected.