January 2, 2018

Arsenal v. Chelsea Preview  (Sky Sports)

Alexis Sanchez and Eden HazardArsenal host Chelsea in the Premier League on Wednesday as they attempt to regain momentum following Sunday's 1-1 draw at West Brom.

Arsene Wenger and his players were left incensed by referee Mike Dean's decision to award a late penalty for a Calum Chambers handball, as Jay Rodriguez converted to rescue West Brom a point.

The incident saw Wenger charged by the FA over his conduct towards match officials, while the draw left Arsenal trailing behind in the race for the top four.

Chelsea currently sit third, seven points above Arsenal, and know victory at the Emirates Stadium will see them leapfrog Manchester United into second.

The Blues have dropped just two points over the festive period so far, having won four of their last five league games, most recently sticking five past struggling Stoke.

Team news

Arsenal duo Mesut Ozil and Laurent Koscielny have an outside chance of returning from injury to face Chelsea on Wednesday.

Koscielny's likelihood of playing is rated at 30 per cent by Wenger while Ozil is close to recovering from a knee problem and will be assessed.

Sead Kolasinac, however, will be out for two weeks after taking a knock to his ankle against West Brom on Sunday. Aaron Ramsey, Olivier Giroud (both hamstring) and Nacho Monreal (ankle) all remain sidelined.

Chelsea have no fresh injury problems for the trip to Arsenal, though defender David Luiz (knee) and forward Charly Musonda (groin) remain out.

Both have returned to training and could feature in Saturday's FA Cup trip to Norwich.

Opta Stats

Arsenal won this exact fixture 3-0 last season, after a five-game winless run against them in the Premier League at the Emirates (D3 L2).

In all competitions, no team has won more away games at the Emirates Stadium than Chelsea (5, level with Man Utd).

The last time Arsenal didn't lose either Premier League meeting with Chelsea in a season was in 2011-12 (W1 D1), while the last time they kept a clean sheet in both league meetings was 1998-99.

Arsenal have failed to score in seven of their last nine games against Chelsea in the Premier League, netting just four goals in total in this run.

There have been six red cards in the last seven meetings between these sides in all competitions, with Chelsea having a player sent off in each of the last three.

Merson's prediction

This is a good game. I have seen Arsenal a lot this season and they do give you chances. Going forward Chelsea are better than some of the teams Arsenal have played recently and I think they will pick them off as the game goes on.

There doesn't seem a lot of good harmony at Arsenal at the moment. That celebration the other day was worrying. When you are winning it's OK but you don't win that many games when it's like that. Not everybody likes everybody in a football team, that's fact, but when you get on the pitch whatever happens off the pitch you give your all together, that is what wins you trophies, not petulance like 'I don't like him so I won't celebrate with him'. That doesn't win you anything.

PAUL PREDICTS: 1-3 (18/1 with Sky Bet)

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