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Arsenal host a London derby on Tuesday night, as the Gunners welcome Chelsea to the Emirates in a bid to return to the top of the table. Mikel Arteta’s side will be hoping to put four poor results behind them and get an all important win against Frank Lampard’s struggling squad.
Manchester City snatched the top spot on Sunday following their win against Fulham, and the current champions are a point ahead of Arsenal as things stand. Tuesday’s hosts will have their eyes firmly on regaining the league lead.
Chelsea are having a season to forget, having registered just ten wins in 32 games this campaign, the Blues sit in 12th with hopes of Europe almost certainly gone as a year of suffering moves towards a close.
It’s not the positions that are familiar ahead of a London derby between the capital’s most successful clubs, both will be hoping to provide a show for their fans after a dreary patch of form in both the red and the blue corner. A win for the hosts would provide Arsenal with 6/6 points from Chelsea this season, following the statement 0-1 win at Stamford Bridge back in November.
Live coverage will be available to UK viewers on Sky Sports with kick off coming at 20:00.
Arsenal team news: Can the Gunners improve without William Saliba?
Arteta’s side are due a win, after maintaining form and spending 247 days at the top of the table, the previous four fixtures have taken Arsenal’s title hopes out of their control. The injury of prized centre back William Saliba has influenced the Gunners’ wobble, conceding 13 goals in six games in his absence.
Arsenal have conceded 13 goals in their last six games without injured William Saliba 🤕 pic.twitter.com/WaHVZ6q5eS
— B/R Football (@brfootball) April 26, 2023
The Spaniard confirmed Saliba’s absence for Tuesday’s derby in his pre-match press conference stating that the Frenchman “hasn’t improved this week at all.” It’s expected that Rob Holding will continue to fill the 22-year-old’s boots in what has been a frustrating time for the Englishman, who continues to search for form.
Saliba and Takehiro Tomiyasu are the only starters on the injury list, two blows more costly than Arsenal could’ve ever anticipated. In terms of tactical team news, it may be time for January signing Leandro Trossard to return to the starting eleven. The Belgian forward has been impressive in registering eight assists since signing, and Arsenal are yet to win since his withdrawal from the starting lineup.
The 28-year-old will be a player Chelsea will not wish to see up against them, as he found the net in Brighton’s 4-1 dismantling of the Blues back in October before his move to north London. Could he curse Arsenal’s rivals once more?
Chelsea team news: Kai Havertz boost lowers the visitors’ injury list to five
Frank Lampard leads a dejected team to the Emirates in the bid to win, or at least to score a goal. The Blues haven’t registered a victory since the start of March against Leicester City, they’ve also scored just three times since then in the league.
To put into perspective Chelsea’s struggles to score this season, Tuesday’s visitors have found the net just 30 times in the league, almost 50 less than Arsenal, and four less than Erling Haaland alone.
A boost for the visitors comes through the return of Kai Havertz following a minor knee injury, the German international is the Blues’ highest goalscorer this season, scoring nine times in all competitions so far.
CHELSEA | Marc Cucurella will be out for another "two weeks or so", while Kalidou Koulibaly may not return before the end of the season.
— Fantasy Football Scout (@FFScout) May 1, 2023
Lampard has revealed that Havertz’s pending return leaves five players on Chelsea’s injury list, including Reece James, Mason Mount, Marc Cucurella, Kalidou Koulibaly and Armando Broja, players that are not easily replaced in the starting eleven.
With defensive absences disturbing the back line, it’s expected that Lampard will continue with his questionable 3-5-2, seeing the experience of Thiago Silva commanding youngsters Trevoh Chalobah and Wesley Fofana at the back.
An overwhelming influx of players and inconsistency in the managerial role has left the Blues counting down for the season to be over, but up next come Arsenal. Despite Chelsea’s form this season, Arteta insisted the fixture would be a “very difficult game” for his side. The Blues’ record against the Gunners is one of hope for the visitors, who were victorious at the Emirates last season under Thomas Tuchel.
Words by Rosie Tudball
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