To say that Arsenal are having an underwhelming season, would be an understatement. Arsene Wenger is undergoing a tough test but the Frenchman isn’t new to similar challenges and hence the Gunners would be well prepared to face Chelsea tonight.
Arsenal are six points adrift of fourth-placed Liverpool with a game in hand and hence any further slip-ups would dampen their top-four finish hopes even more. On the other hand, Chelsea were unstoppable in the festive period so this already serves up to be a hotly challenged clash.
The Gunners are missing some key names and hence it can hit them hard on the field. Just as Mesut Ozil began to gain some consistency, a knee wobble sees his selection in the playing XI jeopardised. Laurent Koscielny along with Ozil will undergo late fitness tests that will determine their availability for this match but Wenger is not optimistic about their chances of featuring. Kolasinac is out for two weeks while Santi Cazorla is a long-term absentee and will miss the match along with Aaron Ramsey, Giroud and Nacho Monreal.
Petr Cech will have the tough task of handling Chelsea’s firepower up front. He will have to be alert while dealing with crosses and needs to arrange the backline well too.
Calum Chambers has impressed in his recent outings and is a defensively solid option. Shkodran Mustafi and Per Mertesacker will be partnering him in a three-man defence. Mertesacker will have to use his aerial ability inside the box and lead his relatively inexperienced defensive partner.
It is important for Granit Xhaka to maintain his composure and calmness while tackling in the game. Unless he comes up with another malicious act, Xhaka’s passing and ability to start off attacks through the centre would remain crucial for Arsenal’s chances this evening.
Jack Wilshere will have to be at his creative best to hurt Chelsea. Wilshere’s dribbling and passing have been gradually improving ever since his return from injury. He will be a vital cog in Wenger’s gameplan for the night.
Hector Bellerin would look to keep the rampaging Marcos Alonso quiet and this will be a terrific contest to watch out for.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles is set to come into the team in Kolasinac’s absence.
Alexandre Lacazette will lead the forward line and would want to put an end to his goal-scoring drought too.
Ozil is unlikely to start and we will see Alex Iwobi take his place. Meanwhile, Alexis Sanchez will look to carry on his recent goal scoring streak.