Arsenal face Chelsea in today’s early kick-off knowing that only a win will be enough to ensure that we stay ahead of both Newcastle and Spurs (who will both have 2 games in hand).
A draw against Chelsea could see us keep hold of 3rd place on goal-difference depending on how Newcastle and Spurs do in their 2 extra fixtures.
A loss, however, would give not only give those two clubs the chance to overtake us, but would also bring Chelsea right back into the mix.
It is also important to remember that if Chelsea were to win the Champions League then that has a significant effect on who qualifies for the Champions League next season. 1-0 is a very slender lead to take to the Nou Camp, but I think that Barcelona are very beatable over two legs. It is highly unlikely that Chelsea will win the Champions League outright, but as long as they remain in the competition then it is always a possibility. 4 place in the Premier League also means that you have to go through the added pressure of a qualifying round.
Following Monday nights disastrous performance against Wigan, lets just hope that our players put in a big-game performance against the Blues.
- Mikel Arteta has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a sprained ankle.
- Laurent Koscielny is back in the team following a 2-match suspension for his 10th yellow card of the season.
- Abou Diaby is back in the squad after injury, but Francis Coquelin looks to be short.
- Yossi Benayoun is ineligible due to the terms of our loan agreement with Chelsea.
- Didier Drogba has been ruled out with a knee injury picked up in Wednesday’s Champions League game against Barcelona.
- Some of Chelsea’s key players will need to be rested if Di Matteo wants to really take the game to Barcelona at the Nou Camp on Tuesday.
Predicted Starting XI
There is no doubt in my mind that Aaron Ramsey will replace the injured Arteta. Abou Diaby has only played 30 minutes for the reserves since his comeback from injury and is not fit enough to start.
Laurent Koscielny will almost reclaim the place occupied by Djourou for the last 2 games and Kieran Gibbs is more solid defensively than Andre Santos.
The only major decision will be whether to start with The Ox or Gervinho down the left flank. I think that Gervinho will be preferred simply because Wenger doesn’t seem to like to play Oxlade and Walcott together; maybe he thinks that they are too similar?
Arsenal 3-2 Chelsea Expect a very tight and exciting game with lots of goals. It could go either way; everything depends on whether or not Chelsea rotate and if Arsenal actually turn up.