Chelsea-Arsenal Preview

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·3 min read
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Frank Lampard would not be drawn into discussing a potential Arsenal relegation battle, describing Chelsea's next opponents simply as "a high-quality team".

Arsenal, 13-time English champions, are winless in seven in the Premier League and sit just four points clear of the bottom three in 15th place.

Their problems are continuing to pile up, with the Gunners exiting the EFL Cup following a 4-1 home loss to Manchester City and Mikel Arteta's former mentor Pep Guardiola on Tuesday.

The fixtures are not getting any kinder for Arsenal, whose 12-match unbeaten Boxing Day stretch will be tested by Chelsea at Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

"I don't want to talk about what their battle is," Lampard told a news conference. "They're just a good team with a good manager. They've had some tough results recently, but the general wave of the Premier League this season for every team has been a bit more inconsistent than it has probably been in previous seasons.

"My concern isn't where they're at. My concern is at face value, their quality; they're a high-quality team."

Arsenal face Brighton and Hove Albion and West Brom after going up against the Blues, and though Arteta acknowledged it will be a decisive period for his team, he believes the squad has the fight to turn things around.

"It's a hard one to take considering how the game went. This level of opponent, when you give the goals away it makes the game impossible," Arteta told Sky Sports. "We have to turn it around round – there is no question with the fixtures we have it's going to decide our season.

"On the basis of what we have shown tonight against difficult opponents, I have fighters in my team. Yes, I have fighters."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Arsenal – Gabriel Martinelli

Martinelli was one bright spark from Arsenal's heavy defeat to City, though the young Brazilian did go off with a shin injury. Arteta did not think it was too serious, and will hope to have the forward ready and available on Boxing Day.

Chelsea – Timo Werner

Signed for a reported £47.5 million from RB Leipzig ahead of the 2020-21 season, Werner has scored just four goals in 14 Premier League games, failing to net in each of his past seven starts in all competitions. However, Lampard is convinced the forward will turn things around. Boxing Day would be a good time to start.

KEY OPTA FACTS

• Arsenal lost this exact fixture 1-2 last season, despite being 1-0 ahead until the 83rd minute. They have not lost back-to-back home league games against Chelsea since November 2009.

• The side scoring first won none of the three meetings in all competitions between Arsenal and Chelsea last season (D1 L2), with Arsenal coming from behind to win the FA Cup final in the most recent encounter.

• Chelsea lost 0-2 against Southampton on Boxing Day last season, ending a run of 14 games without defeat on 26th December (W9 D5). The Blues have not lost consecutive Boxing Day matches since 1994-95.

• Arsenal are winless in their last seven Premier League games (D2 L5) – only once in the competition's history have they had a longer run without a win, going eight games between November 1992-January 1993.

• Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored on both of his Boxing Day appearances in the Premier League – he could become the first Arsenal player to score on three consecutive Boxing Day games since Thierry Henry between 2002-2004.