After a dour and pathetic draw against West Brom last time around thanks to a new year gift from our very own, young and sparkling jem of a referee Mike Lovely Dean, we are left facing the prospect of missing out on top four and finishing behind the whole bunch of Klopp, Conte, Pep and Poch for the second time in a row.
The Gunners are currently six points off the pace in fifth, and after dropping points at home to Manchester United and Liverpool in December, desperately need a win against any of their top six rivals soon in order to bolster some confidence among the ranks and to pump up the fans who seem to have lost faith in the team and in system.
After suffering repeatedly in matches against Stoke, West Brom, Man City, Southampton due to poor officiating it seems our horrid luck with match officials has seemingly reached a crescendo after the last game against West Brom.
I mean how cursed can a fan base be when in a season where we somehow by gods miracle and the Europa League the team seemed to be doing fine with injuries and losing points due to the absence of key men, we just had to be struck by the curse of FA and its army of referees of the 1950s. If injuries wont kill your season the premier league match officials and their king Mike Lovely Dean will for sure.
However the gunners now face the defending champions Chelsea and in a fixture where the king of the FA had already left his mark by sending off Gabriel and NOT sending off Diego Lovely Costa for his outrageous antics against Koscielny.
Chelsea come into the game having recovered from their early-season blip, winning ten out of their last 13 games, with only one defeat in that run. The Blues remain two points behind second-placed Manchester United, having played one game less.
The Gunners face Chelsea three times in January after drawing the Blues in the Carabao Cup semi-final and will be keen to start of their series of encounters on a positive note.
Team News :
Nacho Monreal, Aaron Ramsey and Oliver Giroud remain key absentees from the previous weeks and are joined on the sidelines by Saed Kolasinac who has been declared out for two weeks after a challenge by Gareth Barry last time.
In his press conference boss has provided a 30% chance to Laurent Koscielny and little chance to Ozil to be fit for the class which seems far fetched now given that they had only 2 days of recovery time for the clash.
In lieu of a number of first team absentees from the squad, a number of players from the academy we seen training ahead of the clash with Chelsea. Players like Ress Nelson, Da Silva, Mcguane, Niketiah, The Jeff, Willock all trained with the team and in my opinion that has to do with them making an appearance against Chelsea in the cup rather than tomorrow. A process to get them familiarized with their tactics against Chelsea and how to counter their play.
Predicted Line Up vs Chelsea :
With injuries having ravaged us in defence it seems Wenger will have to revert back to a four man defense in order to dwell with his mounting injuries and the absence of key personal for key areas like Kolasinac at Wing back or Koscielny in Centre back.
With absence to both and Per’s dwindling pace against morata or Hazard it will be ideal if we rely on Mustafi and Chambers to do the needful instead of once again hoping for cup final type heroics from the next academy manager.
In midfield I personally feel that Wenger will trust Ozil to start and get on with his recent match winning form for us instead of trying to force creativity out of Alex Iwobi once again. I do not have evidence to back this but rather a gut feeling that the ill and non present in training will appear in Arsenal colours against Chelsea.
Here is the Predicted Line Up for us against Chelsea :