Arsenal are likely to welcome back defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos for their Premier League away game against Chelsea on Tuesday night.
Arsenal will be looking to return to winning ways when they make the short trip to Stamford Bridge to take on local rivals Chelsea on Matchday 24 of the 2019-20 Premier League. Ahead of the derby, manager Mikel Arteta reflected on how his side has progressed since the last time they played the Blues in December.
Speaking in his press conference, Arteta said, “Well, a lot of things happened and it seems longer than a month to be fair with the amount of games, days that we trained and the amount of things that happened. Yes, a lot of things changed, a lot of positives that I am finding in terms of reactions and the things that they are taking onboard.”
“So yes, in terms of results, it could have been a little bit different. I think we’ve been very unlucky and there are other aspects as well which have influenced that but in general, yes.”
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As far as team selection is concerned Arsenal will once again be without the services of defenders Calum Chambers, Sead Kolasinac and Kieran Tierney along with academy product Reiss Nelson, while club captain and lead marksman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang remains unavailable due to suspension.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos missed the last game against Sheffield United due to illness, but is expected to be available for selection for Tuesday’s game. The Greek centre-half should walk right back into the starting XI, at the expense of Shkodran Mustafi. David Luiz will hold on to his spot as the second centre-back against his former club.
Hector Bellerin was fit enough to be named on the bench at the weekend and could be in contention to start against Chelsea. However, given that he has been on the sidelines for a while he could be scratchy, which might prompt Arteta to stick with Ainsley Maitland-Niles at right-back, while Bukayo Saka will be retained at left-back. Bernd Leno is a certainty to start in goal.
Granit Xhaka has been a revelation in the last few games for Arsenal and is a certain starter in the middle of the park for the derby. Lucas Torreira has been the ideal foil for the Switzerland international and should be retained ahead of Matteo Guendouzi, who is struggling for form and confidence at the moment.
Mesut Ozil is likely to be retained in the No. 10 role, but the German playmaker needs to step up after a couple of underwhelming displays, with Dani Ceballos waiting in the wings.
Nicolas Pepe has come into his own in recent fixtures and is a certain starter on the right flank, while last match’s goalscorer Gabriel Martinelli should start on the opposite side. Alexandre Lacazette ought to lead the line for Arsenal, as he looks to end his six-match streak without a goal in the Premier League.
Arsenal Predicted Lineup: Leno; Maitland-Niles, Sokratis, Luiz, Saka; Torreira, Xhaka; Pepe, Ozil, Martinelli; Lacazette