Arsene Wenger has an injury headache as he prepares his Arsenal side to host Chelsea at the Emirates.
The Gunners currently sit 6th in the Premier League following their 1-1 draw with West Brom on New Year’s Eve. They are seven points adrift of the Blues who occupy 3rd.
Unfortunately, Wenger has an injury headache to nurse with up five first-team players set to miss the derby.
Aaron Ramsey remains on the sidelines as he continues to nurse his hamstring. Olivier Giroud is also out with a similar problem. Meanwhile, Laurent Koscielny and Mesut Ozil will be assessed – Ozil missed the draw with West Brom with a knee injury, while Koscielny was asked to be substituted and worryingly limped off.
Finally, Nacho Monreal has been ruled out until mid-January.
As for Chelsea, Antonio Conte has no fresh injury concerns. Eden Hazard was rested for their 5-0 thrashing of Stoke, as was Cesc Fabregas – both are expected to return.
David Luiz is closing in on a return from his knee problem. The defender has been tipped for a move to the Emirates after falling out of favour at the Bridge.
PREDICTED ARSENAL XI
With Mesut Ozil likely to miss out, Alex Iwobi could start for the north Londoners. It will be touch and go with Laurent Koscielny’s fitness.
Jack Wilshere has been Arsenal’s best performer in recent weeks and the 25 year-old is expected to continue in the heart of the midfield.
Alexandre Lacazette will be desperate to complete the 90 minutes this time around. He’s been substituted 14 times from his 17 starts.
Arsenal XI: Cech; Bellerin, Mustafi, Chambers, Koscielny, Maitland-Niles; Wilshere, Xhaka; Iwobi; Sanchez, Lacazette.
It’s more imperative that Arsenal avoid defeat tonight. The two teams played out a 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge in September, though expect this contest to be far more open.
The Blues are in sublime form and will prove difficult to beat.
Gooners, what are you predictions ahead of the match? Let us know in the comments…