North London takes a collective breath over the Christmas break, anxiously waiting for the news on Gabriel Martinelli’s injury.
The Brazilian was caught by goalkeeper Zack Steffen, suffering a cut to his shin that swelled up to the point of forcing him off the pitch. Assessments throughout the week will determine the severity of the injury, but the hope is that the purely impact-related knock will ease up in time for Saturday.
Similar concerns remain with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, whose calf problem will be looked at in the days building up before a final decision is made. It’s mostly guesswork at this point.
Granit Xhaka returns from a three-match suspension to be in line for a start, while Thomas Partey continues to undergo rehabilitation on a thigh injury that is yet to receive a return date. However, it’s unlikely to be this calendar year.
As for Chelsea, they head into the weekend’s fixture missing both of their first-choice full-backs.
Reece James sat out on the win over West Ham with a knee injury, but while he has avoided needing surgery for the issue, Saturday will come too soon for him. As for left-back, Ben Chilwell was forced off against the Hammers after ten minutes with an ankle problem, one Lampard has stressed makes him highly doubtful to face Arsenal.
The other doubt for the Blues is Hakim Ziyech, who wasn’t deemed fit enough to make the bench last time out but has returned to training following a hamstring pull.