The Blues have kept clean sheets in their last three Premier League matches but face an Arsene Wenger side boasting an array of on-form attacking options.
Jenkinson, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Gibbs
Diaby, Arteta, Cazorla
Walcott, Giroud, Podolski
Ivanovic, Terry, Cahill, Cole
Mikel, Lampard, Ramires
Hazard, Torres, Mata
Theo Walcott, after scoring a double against Coventry, is unlikely to see his midweek League Cup involvement take him out of Arsenal Wenger’s thoughts, especially with Gervinho misfiring spectacularly against Manchester City. Olivier Giroud, who scored his first Arsenal goal on Wednesday night may replace the Ivorian, with Walcott having to make do with a place on the wing.
Thomas Vermaelen (illness) returns and could force Per Mertesacker to drop to the bench, with the Belgian linking up with Laurent Koscielny to recreate the center back pairing that served the home side so well last term. Long-term absentees Jack Wilshere (ankle), Bacary Sagna (leg), Tomas Rosicky (Achilles) and Wojciech Szczesny (foot) remain out until next month.
Frank Lampard and Daniel Sturridge (hamstring) should recover in time for the visit to the Emirates though only the former is likely to feature from the off.
John Terry’s recently imposed four-match ban will not start until after the appeals process has been concluded so the Blues captain should remain in the starting lineup in defense, as Roberto Di Matteo finds himself with a full squad to select from.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Victory over Chelsea would hand Wenger his 350th Premier League win as Arsenal boss.
- Compared to last season, Arsenal is 10 places higher, has five more points and a goal difference which is +15 better.
- Vito Mannone (91 percent) has a better saves-to-shots ratio this season than Petr Cech (88 percent).
- Mikel Arteta (pictured, right), who will be in line to make his 250th start in English soccer, has averaged 111 touches per game this season, more than any other player in the Premier League.
- Chelsea has failed to win any of its last 22 Premier League games in which the recently departed Didier Drogba has not featured.
- The Blues have not conceded in 331 minutes - Danny Guthrie's goal for Reading in August being the last.
- John Terry is one goal away from 50 for Chelsea.
- Branislav Ivanovic is in line to make his 100th start for the Blues.