Arsenal host Chelsea on Saturday’s Boxing Day Premier League clash.
It could go one of two ways. Either all the merry spirit we enjoyed over the course of Christmas could evaporate the very next day, or Santa could hand Arsenal a late gift and extend our happiness for another few days.
And if Arsenal do claim the spoils in their London derby, it’ll likely be as a result of magical outside sources, not of internal doing.
Slumping to a 4-1 defeat against Manchester City in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals, while yet again there were multiple facets of the performance that were still lacking, it’s hard to ignore that three of the key players tasked with guarding the goal – Shkodran Mustafi, Sead Kolasinac and Alex Runarsson – were hopelessly poor.
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If there was a trio of other players in their positions it certainly wouldn’t constitute victory, but the margin of defeat could have at least been less stark.
No excuse, however. It can’t be claimed that Arsenal deserved to win, but there were ever so faint signs of what could be further down the line with an impressive Gabriel Martinelli showing and an equally composed cameo from Emile Smith Rowe.
Chelsea will not be easy opponents at the Emirates, as ever. Frank Lampard’s side have added solidity to their wealth of attacking talent and are a far cry from the leaky outfit we saw for the majority of last season.
If Arsenal can harness the elements that were good against City – iron out the errors and build on the decent spells in the game – then they may have a chance. Fans are begging for the youngsters to get their chance. Will Mikel Arteta finally turn a corner?
Here is your preview of Saturday’s Premier League showdown.