Arsenal simply have to win when they host what could be the worst Chelsea team of the Premier League era on Tuesday night.
If it wasn’t for the points they accumulated under Thomas Tuchel at the start of the season, the Blues could well be in the relegation dogfight right now and they head into this one without a win in eight games.
Their confidence is on the floor, but Arsenal aren’t exactly entering this bout with the liveliest of spirits. Defeat at the Etihad last Wednesday was soul-crushing, and they’ve since slipped to second in the table following Man City’s win over Fulham on Sunday afternoon.
Tuesday’s hosts desperately need three points in their final London derby of the season.
Predicted Arsenal XI vs Chelsea
Here’s the starting XI Mikel Arteta is likely to pick for Chelsea’s visit on Tuesday.
Goalkeeper & Defenders
Aaron Ramsdale (GK) – The Golden Glove is slipping out of Ramsdale’s grasp after his run without a clean sheet unsurprisingly extended against City. The Englishman kept the score down at the Etihad.
Ben White (RB) – The right-back seemed to be in an odd mood last time out, with some of his antics, particularly post-match, a little strange. Nevertheless, he’ll be in the team on Tuesday.
Rob Holding (CB) – I think Arteta should re-jig his defence and try something different in a bid to rediscover some momentum. However, I’m predicting him to stick with Holding against a Chelsea attack that’s scored just 30 goals in 32 Premier League games – the joint-fourth worst record in the division.
Gabriel (CB) – The Brazilian’s form has taken a dive after impressing at Anfield. However, I don’t think Jakub Kiwior will be replacing him in the XI.
Oleksandr Zinchenko (LB) – Teams are beginning to make a concerted effort to slow down Arteta’s unicorn full-back and it’s hard to remember the last time Zinchenko was majorly influential. I’d like to see a change in tack, personally, but there’s not a chance the boss ditches the Ukrainian.
Jorginho (DM) – Thomas Partey is said to be carrying a knock which could convince Arteta to drop the Ghanaian in favour of Jorginho, who has barely featured since the March international break.
Granit Xhaka (CM) – Arteta could be a little braver here and perhaps deploy Emile Smith Rowe or even Leandro Trossard in midfield, but he’ll likely stick with his tried and trusted Swiss international.
Martin Odegaard (CM) – We need to see the skipper dazzle again.
Bukayo Saka (RW) – Has Saka hit a wall? It’s been a pretty quiet month for Saka after such an incredible season, and you do wonder whether fatigue is starting to take its toll. He’ll remain in the team, nonetheless.
Gabriel Jesus (ST) – Some want Trossard to replace Jesus in the XI, and I totally understand why given the Belgian’s influence since joining the club. The Brazilian, meanwhile, has endured back-to-back unproductive outings. Arteta will probably stick with the Brazilian, who was so good at Stamford Bridge in the reverse fixture.
Gabriel Martinelli (LW) – Martinelli was tamed at the Etihad last time out, but he’ll fancy his chances of quickly rediscovering his productive run of form on Tuesday night.