Arsenal v Chelsea - Match Preview, Stats & Team News

To be played on Monday 23rd December 2013 at 20:00. Venue: Emirates Stadium, London.

Odds: Arsenal 7/5, Draw 12/5, Chelsea 28/13

Last season: 1-2

Preview & injury news

Both sides aren’t in the best of form now as Arsenal have faced two difficult league assignments have only picked up a point from those two games, Chelsea possibly could to top if results elsewhere go their way as there are only two points separating the two sides.

Both sides will be looking to bounce back from disappointments of late and call their most recent outings a 'blip' rather than a slide or crisis. Arsenal will be keen to put last week’s 6-3 defeat to Manchester City behind them and may need to win if they are to be top of the table on Christmas Day. Though Chelsea won on their last outing in the league against Crystal Palace it was bit of a struggle, and they suffered a blow in midweek after losing to Sunderland in the Capital One Cup after extra time. 

In terms of injuries, Laurent Koscielny may miss out for Arsenal after sustaining a knee injury against Manchester City at the weekend whilst Jack Wilshere is suspended after his middle fingered gesture to Manchester City fans - a ban which the midfielder is contesting. Lukas Podolski continues to struggle with a hamstring injury he has been 'close' to returning to the side for some time. Yaya Sanogo and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are still in the treatment room with back and knee injury respectively, and are due back in January.

For Chelsea, Michael Essien will miss the game through suspension after picking up a booking in the League Cup loss to Sunderland whilst the only two notable injuries are to left-back Ryan Bertrand, and Marco Van Ginkel who is out for the season.

Key stats

Aaron Ramsey is Arsenal's top scorer in the league this season with eight goals.

Eden Hazard is Chelsea's top scorer in the league this season with six goals.

Arsenal had 48% possession in their last league match, a 6-3 defeat away to Manchester City.

Chelsea had 70% possession in their last league match, a 2-1 home win against Crystal Palace

5 players to watch

Thomas Vermalen - With the potential absence of Laurent Koscielny, Vermalen really needs to step up and rediscover some of his old and much better form so Arsenal can have a solid defensive unit for such a huge game.

Juan Mata - Some Chelsea fans will have wondered where the Spaniard was in the League Cup game against Sunderland, and may have thought the outcome could have been different with his intervention. He was very good in the meeting with Arsenal in the League Cup earlier on this season, so it would be logical to think he will start this match.

Theo Walcott - There aren't many positives you can take from a defeat when you've conceded two goals but Walcott's performance last weekend against Manchester City was encouraging and the sign of a player in pretty good form. A certain starter against Chelsea?

John Obi Mikel - With Arsenal's energetic and high intensity midfield, whoever plays in the deeper midfield role for Chelsea is going to need to have a good game. And with Michael Essien suspended, Mikel is likely to fulfil that role. 

Aaron Ramsey - The star man in the Arsenal midfield this season will probably need to put in another one of his great performances against Chelsea. Given his form this season, Jose Mourinho may want him specially marshalled by the Blues midfielders.

Last time they met

Arsenal 0-2 Chelsea, Capital One Cup

A game where both Arsenal and Chelsea made several changes as they prioritised other competitions but strong sides were sent out nevertheless and it was the Blues who came out on top at the Emirates Stadium. Cesar Azpilicueta gave Chelsea the lead on the counter attack amidst some poor Arsenal defending in the 25th minute. Midway through the second half, Chelsea doubled their lead courtesy of a wonderful right-footed strike from Juan Mata from the edge of the area which swerved away from Lukasz Fabianski in the Arsenal goal.

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