Arsenal vs Chelsea: 3 tweaks Arsenal need to make | Premier League 2018-19
The race for the fourth spot is heating up, with three teams in the fray to claim Champions League qualification. At the moment, Chelsea enjoy a six-point lead over Manchester United and Arsenal, but with the West London outfit clashing swords with their North London counterparts on Saturday, all could change.
After an encouraging initial salvo, the Gunners lost their way during the festive period, with the horror show at Anfield sandwiched between equally toothless displays at Brighton and West Ham.
Their only league victories since the resounding success against Tottenham have been at home to Fulham, Burnley, and Huddersfield.
Thus, the Gunners now find themselves at a crossroad, with further losses carrying the potential to derail their bid for a top four spot.
Over the past couple of months, Arsenal has endured several injuries, and though things are looking up on that front, Emery still hasn’t been able to strike the right balance in terms of personnel.
With Chelsea scheduled to visit on Saturday evening, the Spaniard needs to get his team selection right in order to avenge the 3-2 defeat at Stamford Bridge.
Thus, in this article we take a look at three changes he needs to make, laying the foundation for a solid Arsenal performance.
#3 Bring in Hector Bellerin for Maitland-Niles
Since the middle of December, Arsenal has been hit hard by injuries. While the loss of Rob Holding significantly weakened their rear-guard, the injury to Bellerin rid the Gunners of attacking impetus.
In Emery’s first season, the right-back has taken his game up a notch, and has improved defensively. Though his replacement, Maitland-Niles, hasn’t been too bad, he has failed to create the same impact as Bellerin.
Moreover, Emery likes his full backs to overlap, providing width, and Bellerin does exactly that with his runs down the right providing an extremely useful attacking outlet.
While the Spaniard’s final ball still has room for improvement, his ability to go up and down the flanks has sorely been missed in recent weeks. Thus, it comes as no coincidence that the Gunners have won only three league games since Bellerin hobbled off at half-time on the South coast.
One of Chelsea’s weakest links is Marcus Alonso, with the full-back not so sound defensively. Thus, it would make perfect sense to bring Bellerin into the fold, and let him attack his compatriot.
The game of football is usually decided by extremely fine margins, and Bellerin vs Alonso could just be that.