As Arsene Wenger celebrates his 20th anniversary as Arsenal manager, he’ll be hoping to mark the occasion with a long-overdue three points against London rivals Chelsea.
The two sides meet at the Emirates Stadium separated only by goal difference, having both picked up ten points each so far this season.
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) September 23, 2016
Arsenal come into the game in good form, having won their last three games. Chelsea, on the other hand, have picked up just four points in that time and they suffered their first defeat of the season last Friday, at home to Liverpool.
The Gunners haven’t beaten the Blues since October 2011, in what was a thrilling 5-3 win at Stamford Bridge.
Wenger will be hoping to put an end to that run, but he will have to do it without Aaron Ramsey, as he recovers from a hamstring injury that could see him miss the next three games.
Olivier Giroud will undergo a fitness test to see if he could be available for Saturday, while summer signing Lucas Perez’s two goals in midweek, in the EFL Cup game against Nottingham Forest, could see him lead the line.
Chelsea will be hoping that Diego Costa, who scored the winner the last time these two sides met in January, can add to the five league goals he’s scored so far this season.
The Spanish striker appears to be revitalized under Antonio Conte, just when it seemed as though he was pushing for a move away from the club earlier this summer.
The Italian trainer won’t be able to call upon captain John Terry, however, as he is still recovering from an ankle injury sustained at Swansea two weekends ago.
Cesc Fabregas could be brought back into the starting eleven to face his former club, following his impressive performance in midweek at Leicester City, where he scored two well-taken goals.
Conte: ‘For Cesc this is a special game for him, he’s playing very well for Chelsea and he’s very focused and concentrated.’ #CFC
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) September 23, 2016
Victory for Arsenal will not only be a fitting end to Wenger’s anniversary week, but it will go a long way to proving that the Gunners have assembled a squad capable of challenging for honours this season.
Arsenal possible starting XI (4-2-3-1): Cech; Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal; Coquelin, Cazorla; Walcott, Ozil, Sanchez; Perez
Chelsea possible starting XI (4-2-3-1): Cech; Azpilicueta, Luiz, Cahill, Ivanovic; Kante, Matic; Willian, Fabregas, Hazard; Diego Costa