Arsenal face Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday, after heaping pressure on themselves with defeat to West Ham United last time out.
Had Arsenal managed a victory at the London Stadium last weekend, they would’ve come into this match with the chance to catch up with Chelsea and the top four, at least on points.
As it is, Unai Emery’s side need a win just to stay in touch, whilst defeat would likely leave them nine points off the Champions League places (depending on Spurs’ result). What’s more, a game against Manchester City at the Etihad in two weeks time will cause even further trouble. It’s suddenly crucial that Arsenal win against Chelsea.
After a week of rest and with another six days before the following game against Manchester United, there’s no need to rotate. Emery needs to pick his strongest team and try and get a result.
Let’s have a look at our predicted lineup for the fixture:
1Goalkeeper and Centre-Backs
Unai Emery seems set on playing three at the back when Laurent Koscielny, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Shkodran Mustafi are all available. That’s how he started the match against West Ham, and that’s unlikely to change for the game against Chelsea.
Konstantinos Mavropanos is back and available after his injury, and the Greek defender played 70 minutes against Manchester City’s u23s on Monday. However, this probably isn’t the best game to throw him back into the first team’s starting eleven. The following league match against Cardiff would be a better option.
Meanwhile, Petr Cech announced his imminent retirement from football earlier this week. The goalkeeper’s contract comes to an end this summer, and he’s clearly decided it’ll be his last in professional football.
However, we doubt Emery is going to let sentimentality get the best of him by starting the former Chelsea man against his old club. Instead, Bernd Leno will keep his place.
Click ‘Next’ for Midfield, Wing-Backs, Forwards and the full Predicted Starting XI