Arsenal v Chelsea: Predicted XI, Team News | Premier League 2018-19
Arsenal and Chelsea are set to go toe-to-toe on 19 January at the Emirates as both sides aim to strengthen their bid for a top-four finish. At the moment, the Gunners are on the fifth place, six points behind their fierce rivals.
Recent upsets and a dip in form of a few of the first team stars have raised questions over Emery's tactics, which were widely hailed five weeks ago when his side was on an unbeaten run. Knowing that Chelsea could go nine clear of them and with Manchester United looming, it appears as a must-win game for the North Londoners.
Recent odds are, however, not on their side. The Gunners have won just one out of their last 14 games against Chelsea. However, home comforts provide them with a major boost as they are unbeaten in their last 12 London derbies at home.
Meanwhile, Chelsea will have their task cut out as well, as they look to register their 4th consecutive Premier League away victory within the same season for the first time since December 2016.
With a lot of mathematical battles and tactics supposed to play out, we can expect a cracker of a contest at the Emirates.
Here's the team news and predicted XI.
Mesut Ozil could return to the matchday squad and probably start, after having entirely missed out his side's last game against West Ham. Hector Bellerin could start as well.
Emery has no fresh injury concerns, with Rob Holding, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Danny Welbeck the only casualties at the moment.
The Blues' boss has urged his side to apply themselves in the defensive phase and concentrate for 95 minutes. He said:
"We can be dangerous against these opponents, but we have to stay on the match. We have to defend with a very high level of application and attention for 95 minutes."
As far as the visitors are concerned, only Ruben Loftus-Cheek remains out of contention due to a back issue. It will, again, be interesting to see if Sarri opts to play with Hazard as a 'false nine', with Morata and former Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud available to lead the line.
Arsenal (3-4-3): Leno; Mustafi, Sokratis, Koscielny; Bellerin, Torreira, Xhaka, Kolasinac; Aubameyang, Lacazette, Iwobi
Chelsea (4-3-3): Kepa; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, David Luiz, Alonso; Kante, Jorginho, Kovacic; Pedro, Hazard, Willian