The teams have been announced for our clash with Chelsea, and it’s as you’d expect for the most part. Arsene Wenger had a few decisions to make thanks to a number of players returning from injury, but he hasn’t taken too many risks with the lineup.
Petr Cech faces his former club in goal, with the veteran shot-stopper knowing his old teammates well. It’s a standard back four of Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker, Hector Bellerin, and Nacho Monreal, with Wenger clear on what he believes to be the best back line.
Mathieu Flamini continues in the defensive midfield role, with Francis Coquelin still unavailable and Mohamed Elneny restricted to the bench – still yet to make his debut.
The good news is that Mesut Özil returns for the game after missing our goalless draw against Stoke City, and we’ll need him at his best against the Blues. Alexis Sanchez unfortunately isn’t fit enough to start though, and as predicted takes his place on the bench after a lengthy absence.
That means Theo Walcott keeps his spot out wide, with Joel Campbell on the opposite flank. Olivier Giroud is of course up front, with options there somewhat limited.
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) January 24, 2016
The Chelsea lineup is as follows:
Chelsea team today: Courtois; Ivanovic, Zouma, Terry (c), Azpilicueta; Mikel, Matic; Willian, Fabregas, Oscar; Diego Costa. #CFC
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— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) January 24, 2016
Diego Costa is unfortunately fit to lead the line for the Blues after a bit of a scare, while Eden Hazard makes the bench. The rest of the team is largely as you’d expect, although there were never likely to be any real surprises.
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Despite Chelsea’s woes this season, we still need to take them extremely seriously. They have plenty of quality players in their ranks, even if you couldn’t tell by this campaign’s displays. We should get the win at home, but we will have to be at our best and not take Guus Hiddink’s side for granted.