Next Monday, December 23, 2013 (12:00 PM Pacific), Chelsea will travel to the Emirates Stadium to face Arsenal in what will surely be the most important match of round 17 of the English Premier League. With just two points separating both teams in the table, Chelsea and Arsenal have a crucial test to their current form after a row of less impressive performances and results from both teams.
During the league’s last round, Arsenal was stunned at the Etihad Stadium by an all-powerful Manchester City and Chelsea grabbed a narrow at-home win against Crystal Palace. However, the Blues were far from being impressive in the middle of the week after a sour defeat on extra-time at the hands of Sunderland in a Capital One Cup match.
Arsenal only managed to grab one single point from their last two Premier League matches and they are desperately looking for a win against their city neighbours in order to reboost the players’ confidence that was slumped last weekend after that heavy defeat against Manchester City.
Arsene Wenger will have to deal with several absences in his team. Laurent Koscielny is still dealing with a knee injury and he will probably miss next Monday’s match. If there are still doubts regarding the Frenchman presence at the match, there are absolutely no doubts about Jack Wilshere. The English midfielder is suspended due to his middle finger gesture last weekend towards Manchester City’s supporters and he is definitely out of this important match. Sanogo and Oxlade Chamberlain will also miss the match since they are dealing with long-term injuries and they will probably only be back into action next January.
Arsenal is showing some vulnerabilities in their defensive line and Wenger will need to have that fixed, since the team’s attacking productivity is no longer compensating for the lack of inspiration from the defenders.
As for Chelsea, José Mourinho has fewer issues on the absences’ department to be concerned with. Essien will miss the match due to suspension and in terms of injuries, the Portuguese manager will not be able to count on Ryan Bertrand and on the talented Dutch midfielder Marco Van Ginkel, who will miss the rest of the season due to a severe knee injury.
Mourinho, however, still needs to dedicate some time thinking about his team’s recent performances. Two close at-home wins against Steaua Bucuresti and Crystal Palace and an extra-time Cup defeat against the Black Cats (that are at the tail of the English Premier League) have raised some doubts about Chelsea’s form and some pundits are claiming that Mourinho is losing his leadership and managerial skills.
Arsenal vs Chelsea Prediction
Both teams want to erase their latest results from their supporters’ minds; however, playing at home, Arsenal has a slight advantage to win this match against an unpredictable Chelsea, which has shown several “Jekyll and Hyde” moments so far this season. This being said, the most likely outcome is a 2-1 victory for Arsenal.
Arsenal vs Chelsea Television
The Arsenal vs Chelsea match will be televised on NBC Sports Network, Monday at 12:00 PM Pacific.
Arsenal 0-0 Chelsea Highlights