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Arsenal vs Chelsea: 5 players to watch out for | Premier League 2020-21 

Arsenal play Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium on Boxing Day.
Arsenal play Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium on Boxing Day.
ANALYST
Modified 26 Dec 2020, 01:07 IST
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Plenty of things have changed since Arsenal beat Chelsea in the FA Cup last season. The Blues are currently fifth in the 2020-21 Premier League table, with two wins in five games, while the Gunners are rooted in 15th place and without a victory in seven matches.

The London Derby will be played behind closed doors, but Frank Lampard's side start off as the favourites. That is because, their poor form apart, Arsenal are going through tough times, with eyebrows being raised over their transfer signings and on-field discipline.

Faced with the unthinkable prospect of relegation, Mikel Arteta is expected to bring in new faces in the January transfer window. However, before that, Arsenal need to get a positive result against Chelsea on Boxing Day.

On that note, here's a look at five players from either team to watch out for in this game.


#5 Edouard Mendy (Chelsea)

Edouard Mendy has kept ten clean sheets for Chelsea.
Edouard Mendy has kept ten clean sheets for Chelsea.

Although Edouard Mendy has kept his tenth clean sheet for Chelsea in 29 fewer games when compared to Kepa Arrizabalaga, the Senegalese still has lots of room for improvement.

In recent games, the 28-year-old is starting to show some weaknesses. For instance, in the game against Everton, Mendy clattered with Dominic Calvert-Lewin and conceded a soft penalty, from which Gylfi Sigurdsson's scored from the spot. That goal turned out to be the match-winner, costing Chelsea all three points.

Speaking about Mendy's form, Gary Neville, former Manchester United defender, opined that:

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“The first six games he had five clean sheets, but in those six games he only had, I think, eight shots on his goal. What we’ve seen now in the last few games is mistakes starting to build, and he needs a mistake-free night.”

While Arsenal do not seem to possess much goalscoring threat at the moment, the likes of Bukayo Saka or Nicolas Pepe could cause trouble should Mendy not learn from his recent mistakes.


#4 Gabriel Martinelli (Arsenal)

Gabriel Martinelli left the field early in the Carabao Cup game against Manchester City.
Gabriel Martinelli left the field early in the Carabao Cup game against Manchester City.

In his first start in many months, Gabriel Martinelli had to be substituted in the second half of Arsenal's defeat to Manchester City in the Carabao Cup.

Many fans were worried that like Thomas Partey, Martinelli was rushed back too soon from his injury and could now miss many more games. Thankfully, Martinelli has revealed that he is feeling fine, and it now seems that the youngster could play in the derby against Chelsea.

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Months before Martinelli's long-term knee injury, the Brazilian scored a brilliant solo goal against the Blues. That goal was voted Arsenal's Goal of the Season in the 2019-20 campaign.

Given the current lack of form among the senior players, the Arsenal faithful are definitely hoping that Martinelli is fit to play against Chelsea and bring about a similar influence as he did previously.

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Published 26 Dec 2020, 01:07 IST
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