Saturday’s game could see Willian face his former club for the first time since his controversial summer switch from Blue to Red. Willian joins a growing list of players that have moved from Chelsea to Arsenal in recent years. The likes of Petr Cech and David Luiz have moved to The Gunners from Chelsea in recent years and have both been part of FA Cup winning squads. However, Willian has failed to appease the fans since joining the Arsenal. The 32-year-old Brazilian impressed on his debut vs Fulham, helping his team with 2 assists to a 3-0 victory on the opening day of the season.
The former Chelsea man’s performances have been nothing short of disappointing since the opening day of the season as he is yet to score his first goal for Arsenal.
Arsenal will be looking to carry momentum into the new year as they search for their first home win in the Premier League since Sheffield United visited Emirates Stadium in October. The Gunners have been on a poor run of form and could potentially be without their captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as the striker faces another game on the side lines with a Calf injury. Gabriel Martinelli had an injury scare in the Carabao Cup tie vs Man City when the 19-year-old Brazilian collided with City’s Goalkeeper Zach Steffen just before half time. Mikel Arteta provided an update on Martinelli in his post-match press conference when he confirmed the injury was not serious. “It was just a really bad kick on his shin and it was swelling up and he could not continue” (Arsenal.com).
Frank Lampard addressed the media ahead of the boxing day clash and spoke on The availability of Ben Chilwell and Reece James after they both suffered knocks in the past week. Lampard described their availability as “both doubtful”. Lampard also confirmed that Hakim Ziyech would not be fit for the game. Ziyech’s omission from the Chelsea side will be a huge loss for The Blues. The Likes of Kai Havertz and Mason Mount will be relied upon to fill in that creative midfield role.
Chelsea will be looking to inflict further misery on the Misfiring Gunners as Frank Lampard has insisted that he will not take “Out-of-form Arsenal Lightly”.
Predicted Line ups:
Arsenal XI: Leno, Maitland-Niles, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney, Saka, Ceballos, Elneny, Willian, Lacazette, Pepe.
Chelsea XI: Mendy, Azpilicueta, Silva, Zouma, Emerson, Kante, Mount, Havertz, Werner, Abraham, Pulisic.
Chelsea are the overwhelming favourites going into this game with two wins in their last 5 league games. Arsenal have no wins in their last 5 league games with 4 defeats and a draw. This game could be very open with both sides looking to pressure the opponents back line and see if they crack under pressure. Chelsea however will be hoping to achieve what the likes of Aston villa, Wolves and Burnley have achieved this season and, if Arsenal concede early on, they floodgates could open, and Arsenal’s players could drop their heads and lose hope.