Arsenal face a tough test of their top-four credentials when they welcome London rivals Chelsea to the Emirates Stadium on Saturday evening.
The Gunners currently trail the fourth place Blues by six points following last weekend’s 1-0 defeat at West Ham and Chelsea’s 2-1 home victory over Newcastle. In truth, the north London side has been inconsistent of late, winning just once in four top-flight outings.
This run has been the first big test of his Unai Emery’s managerial career at the club. This game will be a test that he will want his team to pass.
One factor majorly in the home sides favour is their recent home form in the league at the Emirates Stadium. They are unbeaten in ten league games at the Emirates Stadium, following eight wins and two draws. The Gunners have also recorded wins in their last four league matches on home soil, which will give them confidence heading this potentially tough game.
Chelsea head into this match on the back of five victories in their last seven matches in the Premier League, including that aforementioned 2-1 home win over Newcastle last time out.
The Blues have put themselves in a relatively strong position in the Premier League table, by picking up three wins from four outings in the English top-flight.
Another big positive for the visitors is their recent away record in the English top-flight, as Maurizio Sarri’s men have recorded three straight wins on their travels. In fact, the Blues have won seven of their last ten away games in the Premier League.
Their recent away matches in the league have been high scoring, as six of their last seven games have produced over 2.5 goals.
Arsenal’s injury list has cleared up of late. However, Danny Welbeck, Rob Holding and Henrikh Mkhitaryan are still expected to miss out due to injury. Uruguayan midfielder Lucas Torreira may return to the starting line-up in place of either Grant Xhaka or Matteo Guendouzi.
Chelsea are without Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Andreas Christensen though injury for this fixture, while midfielder Danny Drinkwater is a fitness doubt. Spanish striker Alvaro Morata looks unlikely to feature, as he is reportedly close to joining Atletico Madrid.
Chelsea are the favourites to win this clash at odds of 11/8, while Arsenal are odds of 21/10 and the draw is odds of 13/5.
This game is a tough one for both sides. However, it is a game the Gunners cannot really afford to lose if they are to finish in the top-four this season.
Can Arsenal record a crucial win over Chelsea?