Arsenal face Chelsea at the Emirates at a bad time… not that there’s ever really a good time to face our London rivals.
The Gunners currently have Nacho Monreal (ankle), Olivier Giroud (hamstring), Sead Kolasinac (knee), Laurent Koscielny (ankle), Aaron Ramsey (hamstring) and Mesut Ozil (knee) all potentially out for the Premier League clash against Antonio Conte’s men.
Although Kolasinac is ‘30%’ likely to feature, our most influential players, Ramsey and Ozil, won’t be involved.
Ramsey isn’t due back until mid-January while Ozil hasn’t trained since the Crystal Palace game. Although Arsene Wenger has insisted that the playmaker will face a late test, if he’s not trained, I really don’t see the boss risking him.
Koscielny hasn’t trained since the West Brom game either.
Chelsea meanwhile only have Charly Musonda (groin) and David Luiz (knee) out. 21-year-old Musonda is yet to make a Premier League start this season so wouldn’t have featured anyway, and Luiz is just one centre-back.
The Blues have won four out of their last five games and drawn the other, so they’re in pretty strong form right now. Plus, they’re scoring for fun. Their last match ended 5-0 against Stoke. Therefore, if we play 22-year-old Calum Chambers at the back, which I think we will, we could be in for a thumping if we don’t keep our cool.
On paper, Arsenal’s Premier League form doesn’t look too bad right now. We’ve drawn three and won two… and that would have been three if it wasn’t for Mike Dean. However, the way we’re playing, particularly without Ramsey and now Ozil on the pitch, is hideous. I can see our makeshift midfield becoming easily overwhelmed by the likes of N’Golo Kante and Cesc Fabregas.
We managed to draw 0-0 at Stamford Bridge in September. If we can put in the same effort, we could come away with three points.
We’re at the Emirates so perhaps we’ll pull it out the bag. Perhaps.