With the poor performance away at Newcastle still fresh in players and fans minds, the Blues have a chance to bounce back just a matter of days later. The long trip to the North East resulted in a poor 1-0 loss, conceding in what was almost the final touch of the game. However, the game against Arsenal serves as a real opportunity to beat a ‘top six’ team at home which is something Chelsea have failed to do so far this season. Frank Lampard will be looking for a quick turnaround and an upturn in fortunes as they aim to emulate the same victory they achieved a matter of weeks ago at the Emirates.
As mentioned, Chelsea’s defeat against Newcastle at the weekend was another setback and an example of the inconsistency we have seen in both performance and results. Although, the Blues had won three and drawn one in the four games before that. Performances of late have been a mixed bag and certainly something that they don’t want a repeat of against a London rival. In general, performances in big games this season have been good without the results really telling the full story.
Going toe to toe with Liverpool and Manchester City have proven that. Also, the wins against Ajax, Tottenham and Arsenal have proven the performances and the potential to replicate those performances is also there. However, none of these big wins have come at home. Lampard will want to use this game as a foundation to, hopefully, get a win against a rival at home to help the team kick on for the rest of the season.
With Arsenal, following Mikel Arteta’s appointment, they have only lost one game; winning two and drawing three. There has been an slight upturn in performances following Unai Emery’s departure and Freddie Ljungberg brief caretaker role. The Gunners’ still sit in 10th place, a whole nine points behind Chelsea in fourth place and they come into this game with a fairly average away record. Taking 12 points from a possible 33 away from the Emirates.
One major injury concern coming into this game was that of Reece James. The academy graduate limped off with 15 minutes left to play at St James’ Park but scans have shown that there is no major damage. Lampard claimed that he is contention to play which is good news for all Chelsea fans.
Long term absentees include Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Marko Van Ginkel whilst Christian Pulisic is still sidelined by a abductor injury until the middle of February. Marcos Alonso is also back in contention, as Lampard confirmed he will be in the squad.
Arsenal will be without their talisman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as he was suspended for three games following the horror tackle on Max Meyer at Crystal Palace two games ago. Callum Chambers, Saed Kolasinac, Reiss Nelson and Kieran Tierney are all ruled out of tomorrow’s game.
In a game between two sides struggling for form, there’s no promise of a vintage London derby. Chelsea are struggling for home form whilst Arsenal are struggling for away form but Chelsea can take hope in the fact they have beaten Arsenal in three of the last four games between the sides.
Arsenal missing their top goalscorer Aubaymeyang, who has fired in 14 goals and one assist will be key as backup striker Alexandre Lacazette has only managed five goals and two assists as Arsenal’s second highest scorer. They are still very much looking for that traction as their season continues to falter. Games against the ‘top six’ have been poor this season, with losses against Liverpool, Leicester, Manchester City and Chelsea. But the win against Manchester United recently will give them confidence of causing an upset.
With Arsenal missing more players and, arguably, their best player in Aubameyang, Chelsea come into this as favorites. Arsenal will set up a much different to Newcastle and will try to stamp their authority on the game with Arteta’s style of play. However, it is still early days into his managerial career and their defence still looks shaky and that will leave opportunities for Chelsea to be in advanced positions more often than they found themselves against Newcastle. This could be a kickstarter for Lampard’s men as they enter their toughest period of the season.