A London Derby to prepare for a London Derby.
5th placed Arsenal entertain 4th placed Chelsea in Chelsea’s first of two London Derby’s. Arsenal started the season of brilliantly having been unbeaten and flying high but a dismal December, and an awful January have left a sour taste in the fans mouth. Arsenal lost to West Ham last weekend, and United went level on points with them and a loss could see them drop to 6th. Their owner Kroenke used all the profits that Arsenal earned and transferred them into helping build a stadium for LA Rams, and Emery came out and said that they can only make loans in the January transfer window. Their defence has suffered several injuries although many have recovered and Ozil has been left out of selection even though he is fit. Arsenal and Chelsea both appointed new managers at the start of the season Sarri, and Emery both had brilliant starts and tailed off in recent weeks but Sarri has Hazard, and a better defence at his disposal and that has helped Chelsea stay above Arsenal and close to Tottenham.
Chelsea narrowly beat Newcastle last weekend with Pedro, and Willian scoring two brilliant goals to seal the three points. This week has been all about the expected arrival of Higuain and according to reports Chelsea are pushing for a deal to be completed in time for him to play against Arsenal, so fingers crossed for that. Chelsea won the reverse fixture 3-2 with Pedro, Morata, and Alonso scoring in the win. On that day Chelsea brilliantly used Arsenal’s offside trap against them and Arsenal haven’t really improved since. Arsenal used their wingers brilliantly in that game and there was several space behind Azpi, and Alonso that they took advantage of. Azpi has since improved but Alonso is still suspect and arguably has dipped in form. Arsenal have been through the high of beating Spurs 4-2 in a brilliant performance to losing in recent weeks and while Chelsea are in slightly better form this game will not be a cake walk. Higuain’s potential availability could be a massive boost.
Chelsea Team Preview
RLC remains the only player out injured. The usual back 5 should start although considering the reverse fixture we should use Emerson ahead of Alonso but Alonso will most likely start. Jorginho, Kante, and Kovacic should make up the midfield as usual. The attack is the puzzle, IF Higuain is available then he could feature of the bench and if he started the game then Hazard Higuain and Hudson Odoi would be the obvious attack. Giroud is available and so Hazard, Giroud and Hudson-Odoi could also start. The final option is a false 9 with Hudson-Odoi, Hazard, and Pedro starting. I think the final of the three will be the option Sarri goes with, Ampadu, Willian and the rest should be available from the bench.
Arsenal Team Preview
Miki, Welbeck, and Holding are out for Arsenal. Ozil might not play but Emery said he could feature. Aubameyang should start although if I were Emery I would start Lacazette alongside him.
Starting XI Prediction
A massive game for Chelsea, a win could open up a 9 point gap between us and Arsenal, COME ON YOU BLUES!!!.