It’s London derby time for Arsenal!
The Gunners reigned supreme over their fellow capital dwellers last season, and they’ve extended their unbeaten run over London clubs to 15 games at the start of 2023/24.
Their history with Chelsea perhaps isn’t entrenched in hostility, but there’s certainly no love lost between the pair, who have played out some iconic duels over the years. This was a contest once dominated by the Blues thanks to a certain Didier Drogba, but Arsenal have turned the tide as of late and are searching for their fourth straight win over the west Londoners on Saturday.
Mikel Arteta oversaw one of Arsenal’s most dominant performances of the campaign at Stamford Bridge last season, and the boss will be hoping that his side exude similar serenity and control in the upcoming duel.
Predicted Arsenal lineup vs Chelsea
The visitors do have a couple of injury concerns heading into the contest after the international break. Here’s how they could line up against Chelsea this weekend.
Goalkeepers & Defenders
David Raya (GK) – The Spaniard’s status as Arsenal’s new number one will see him start his fifth consecutive Premier League outing on Saturday.
Ben White (RB) – White is soon expected to celebrate a contract extension in north London and is a shoo-in for this one.
William Saliba (CB) – A toe injury is said to have been nagging Saliba for weeks, which makes his recent run of form all the more impressive. Friday’s training will determine whether he starts on Saturday.
Gabriel (CB) – While doubts surround Saliba’s status, there are no such questions regarding the ever-available Gabriel.
Oleksandr Zinchenko (LB) – Zinchenko produced a sound defensive display against Man City two weeks ago, and he’ll need to be similarly stout with a red-hot Raheem Sterling being his potential matchup.
Thomas Partey (DM) – Partey returned to action against City and made it through the break unscathed (I think). Against an aggressive Chelsea midfield, Partey’s physicality will be necessary, as will his temperament in possession.
Declan Rice (CM) – It’ll be interesting to see how Rice and Partey co-exist with Zinchenko in the side. Will Rice take up a more advanced role?
Martin Odegaard (CM) – While an argument could be made for Odegaard being dropped, Arteta will retain his skipper in the starting XI for this derby.
Bukayo Saka (RW) – Arteta said Saka is pushing hard to be fit for Saturday, and I think the winger will start. He is Iron Man, after all.
Gabriel Jesus (ST) – Jesus voiced his frustration at being utilised down the right, but he’ll return to a central position on Saturday if Saka’s fit.
Gabriel Martinelli (LW) – The hero two weeks ago. Martinelli is fresh and ready to make up for lost time having missed several weeks of the season already.