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Arsenal v CHELSEA: Preview

Date: Saturday 26th December 2020

Venue: Emirates Stadium

Kick-off: 17:30 GMT

This year’s Boxing Day game sees us at the Emirates to take on an out of sorts Arsenal.

I won’t be expecting any late Christmas gifts though, because it’s nailed on we will face a very different performance from them than the one’s they’ve served up for the last couple of months.

The Gunners have been well and truly firing blanks since beating Manchester United early November, losing five of their last seven games in the Premier League and far from digging deep, their experienced players have all but bailed out – not that we should be surprised by a couple of them. They can get results against ‘top’ six sides though and they can be hard to break down – both facts that could be a bother for us. We struggle against that sort of set up and we’ll be missing key players again today.

It was hard work for us against West Ham last time out and this London derby won’t be any easier, so our players shouldn’t kid themselves Arsenal’s form is anything to go by.

MANAGER’S VIEWS

Going into today’s game, Arsenal Manager Mikel Arteta, says “The next seven to eight days are going to be crucial to see where we’re going to be heading to in the Premier League. At the moment, to keep the team together and alive, to be a team rather than a group of players, takes a lot of energy. You have to get them to be positive to each other, to not start blaming any external factors or any individuals when things are not going well. The best thing to do when you are like that is to have the possibility to do things outside our site. Get them together, change the environment, but at the moment we can’t do that.

The players are really putting in a lot of energy and enthusiasm not to lose what we are building. But it takes a lot of energy because when you are losing games, every game is a lot of weight on your shoulders.  People are suffering, we are hurting and you have to get back, be the leader again and try to push the players. The players respond and are excited again for the game. That’s happening but the best medicine is to win against Chelsea.”

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard meanwhile, says “I don’t want to talk about what their battle is, they’re just a good team with a good manager. They’ve had some tough results recently but the general way of the Premier League this season for every team it’s been more inconsistent than it’s been in probably previous seasons for most teams. It’s not my concern exactly where they are at, my concern is the team at face value, in terms of quality, and they are a high-quality team.”

SQUAD NEWS

For Arsenal, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (calf) and Gabriel Martinelli (shin) will be monitored but Granit Xhaka returns after a three-match ban.

For Chelsea, Hakim Ziyech (hamstring) remains out, whilst Ben Chilwell and Reece James (knee) are doubtful.

TEAMS

ARSENAL (Possible line-up): Leno; Gabriel, Luiz, Tierney; Bellerin, Xhaka, Ceballos, Maitland-Niles; Pepe, Lacazette, Saka.

CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Mendy; Azpilicueta, Zouma, Silva, Emerson; Kovacic, Kante, Mount; Pulisic, Giroud, Werner

LAST SEASON

Arsenal 1-2 Chelsea (29th December 2019)

CURRENT FORM (PL)

ARSENAL: DLLLDL

CHELSEA: WDWLLW

OTHER STUFF

  • Arsenal lost the corresponding fixture last season 2-1.
  • Arsenal haven’t lost back-to-back home league games against Chelsea since November 2009.
  • Arsenal came from behind to beat us 2-1 in the FA Cup final in August.
  • Chelsea have lost just two of the past 17 Premier League meetings, both at the Emirates.
  • Two of Arsenal’s four league victories this season have come in London derbies.
  • Arsenal have won nine successive home games on Boxing Day, and are unbeaten in 12 (W10, D2).
  • Chelsea could lose three consecutive Premier League away games for the first time since February 2019.
  • Chelsea have scored eight goals from corners in the Premier League this season, more than than any other team.
  • Arsenal have only conceded from 2 set pieces – both corners.

PREDICTION

Sky Sports: Arsenal 1-0 Chelsea

90mins: Arsenal 0-2 Chelsea

Sportsmole: Arsenal 1-2 Chelsea

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