Arsenal were enjoying a fine run until recently, the losses of Kieran Tierney and Thomas Partey to injury saw cracks appear in the team as they fell to defeats at the hands of Brighton and Southampton. Meanwhile, Chelsea were suffering a mixed bag of results losing 4-1 at home to Brentford before bouncing back with a 6-0 win at Southampton and reaching the FA Cup final this past weekend with a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace at Wembley. The last meeting between these two teams were during the Gunner’s miserable start to the season which saw the Blues put three past them. A defeat here for Arsenal could all but end their top four hopes, as well as this being the first time they have lost four league games in a row since 1995, however victory could restore not only some hope but also some much needed morale to the team as well as leave Chelsea looking over their shoulder for finishing in the top four.
Two missing this game are Kieran Tierney and Thomas Partey, both are most likely missing the remainder of this season a massive blow for the teams though they do have people to step into the roles, it is just a question of who. Nuno Tavares has struggled with his form in recent weeks being substituted early on in games. Sambi Lokonga is also someone who could step into fill the shoes of Partey, however more likely that Martin Odegaard steps back and Emile Smith-Rowe plays the central attacking role for the team, both players are capable of both roles though. Alexandre Lacazette is also doubtful, we may see Eddie Nketiah start up top. With Takehiro Tomiyasu only just returning to training recently, it is unlikely he will start the fixture, however he may make a brief cameo appearance from the bench to begin getting his fitness levels up once again.
For Chelsea, they will be without the services of midfielder Mateo Kovacic, as well as Ben Chilwell and Callum Hudson-Odoi being likely to miss out, despite the reluctance displayed by Thomas Tuchel to give up on striker Romelu Lukaku, who has yet to show the quality of the figure paid for him, Timo Werner's performance at the weekend may warrant starting him once again, while Mason Mount not only looks to make his 100th Chelsea appearance but to make it a fourth goalscoring appearance in a row in the league. With the absence of Kovacic, it is expected that N'Golo Kante will be restored back into the team to play his usual role many nickname engine room.
Ones to watch.
Emile Smith-Rowe is the teams top scorer so far this season and looks to become just the second player 21 or under to reach double figures for a season since Nicholas Anelka, a player he has said he seeks to emulate for the Gunners, he plays with a lot of passion for the team, being one of the qualities that improves his game so much, as well as showing incisive passing, one other quality he possesses is a strong link with his teammate Bukayo Saka, the two are common link ups, one normally involved when the other scores.
For Chelsea, they have a lot of dangerous elements in their team, goals can come from anywhere and usually involving Reece James, the young right back has scored five goals and assisted six this season so far, and with the absences on the left hand side of the pitch for the visitors it could be the area we see focused on during the game, James is already a dangerous aspect for the hosts, but add in the absences on the left, he will be a player who requires extra attention in tonights fixture.