Arsenal host Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium on Boxing Day in the English Premier League. Mikel Arteta is fighting for his job after a nightmare run of results whilst Chelsea are looking to get fully back on track after some recent slip-ups. Who will come out on top between the London rivals with the inexperienced coaches?
Arsenal are in something of a crisis. Mikel Arteta’s team is in 15th place and just four points clear of the relegation places. With a single win in their last 10 Premier League matches, both the attack (six blanks in the last 10) and the defence (one clean sheet in seven) are in a bad way.
In their last four league matches, they’ve lost to Tottenham with Thomas Partey walking off injured in the lead up a goal, lost to Burnley with ten men, drawn with Southampton with ten men and lost 2-1 at Everton. Arsenal equalised at Goodison Park but lost after Yerry Mina’s corner from a corner.
Arsenal hosted Man City in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday and lost 4-1 with only a couple of first choice players used from the start.
Arsenal Team News
Arteta have Gabriel back from suspension and will have to decide which of David Luiz or Rob Holding makes way. Granit Xhaka returns having served his three match ban but Thomas Partey is still a little way off playing again.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has a calf injury but has a small chance of a returning whilst Gabriel Martinelli started his first match since March against Man City in the Carabao Cup but went off with an ankle injury.
Arsenal need something from this game. Whilst a win would change the entire mood of the club, Arteta would surely bite your hand off for a draw and something to build on. A defeat would put the coach in grave danger of losing his job and further drag Arsenal into a relegation battle.
It is unlikely that the Spanish coach will play an open, attacking game. A more abrasive setup with a back five to defend or three deeper central midfielders is the most likely setup.
The Blues had been on a superb run with eight wins in 10 matches in all competitions and a strong defensive period of eight clean sheets in 12 games. A disappointing run has followed though.
After drawing 1-1 at home with Krasnodar, Chelsea lost 1-0 away to Everton and 2-1 away to Wolves in very poor performances. They responded well to get a 3-0 home win against West Ham in their last match but it was not a convincing display and required two late Tammy Abraham goals to secure the result.
Chelsea Team News
There are three major injury problems for Chelsea to deal with. Reece James has been struggling with a knee injury at right back and Ben Chilwell twisted his ankle against West Ham. Both fullbacks are expected to miss out. Cesar Azpilicueta and Emerson Palmieri are likely to deputise.
On the right wing, Hakim Ziyech is back training after a hamstring injury and could make the bench. Frank Lampard will have to choose between in-form Olivier Giroud and the more mobile Tammy Abraham, who scored a brace against West Ham.
Chelsea need a win to close the gap to the top of the table. Considering Arsenal’s poor form and the recent losses for Lampard’s team, a draw would be seen as a relatively disappointing result. Even as the away side, Chelsea are not expected to settle for a point and bring on extra defensive players if the scores are level in the second half. They are likely to chase a win until the end.
Arsenal have lost 7 of their last 10 PL matches
Arsenal have kept 1 clean sheet in their last 7 PL matches
Arsenal have failed to score in 6 of their last 10 PL matches
Chelsea have won 1 of their last 4 matches
Chelsea have lost their last 2 away PL matches
Chelsea have kept 9 clean sheets in their last 15 matches
Chelsea are favourites for this match and may have enough to win. However, don’t discount an Arsenal response in this derby so a draw is a decent shout too.