Most people agree that, for Arsenal at least, it is win or bust today. Beat Chelsea and there is still a chance that Arsenal could catch and challenge the current Premier League leaders for the title. Lose or even draw and that hope would be little more than blind optimism.
Unfortunately for Arsene Wenger his selection options in central midfield have suddenly disappeared at the worst possible time, so with Cazorla, Xhaka, Ramsey and Elneny all unavailable, so the Frenchman has had to put his faith in Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and you would think that his performance and effectiveness in the middle will be a key factor in the outcome of this hugely important Londo0n derby.
The manager’s other big decision, although this one was brought on by having lots of options rather than none, was how to line up in attack. Alexis Sanchez gets the nod so both Welbeck and Giroud will start on the bench and Theo Walcott and Iwobi will play on either side of the Chilean striker.
Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal
Iwobi, Walcott, Ozil
Subs: Ospina, Gabriel, Maitland-Niles, Reine-Adelaide, Welbeck, Giroud.
Chelsea’s line-up is pretty much as you would expect with Pedro preferred to Willian. Can Arsenal repeat our dominant performance over Conte’s team in September or at least get the result that we need to keep the title race alive?