Arsenal host Chelsea at the Emirates this afternoon, with both fanbases set to learn plenty about their side’s prospects for the 2021/22 campaign.
The Gunners began their Premier League campaign with a defeat away to newly-promoted Brentford, while Chelsea comfortably defeated Crystal Palace in a 3-0 victory.
Chelsea supporters will undoubtedly be the more optimistic heading into today’s game, but Arsenal got the better of the Blues in this fixture back in December, which provided the spark for their end of season revival.
Thomas Tuchel is expected to give Romelu Lukaku his first start since returning to Chelsea, but he may not be able to field a fully strength XI, with injury preventing him from doing so.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek (COVID-19, unavailable), Christian Pulisic (COVID-19, unavailable), N’Golo Kante (Foot injury, late fitness test), Hakim Ziyech (Shoulder injury, late fitness test).
That in mind, we’d expect Chelsea’s starting XI to look something like this.
Arsenal have problems of their own, with up to five first-team players set to be ruled out of today’s contest, including star striker duo Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette.
The pair were unavailable for selection for the game against Brentford and it’s looking unlikely that either will be able to be involved as Arsenal take to the field against Chelsea today.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (COVID-19, unlikely to play), Alexandre Lacazette (COVID-19, ruled out), Thomas Partey (Ankle injury, ruled out), Edward Nketiah (Ankle injury, ruled out), Gabriel (Knee injury, ruled out).
Mikel Arteta is likely to field an XI which looks something like this…
Chelsea would be our tip to get the three points from this one, but you just never know with Arsenal, particularly under Arteta. They’re such an enigma that it’s often difficult to predict the outcome of their games.
One thing’s for sure – it’s going to be box office.