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Arsenal vs Chelsea: Will Injuries Influence The Outcome Of This London Derby?

Conte’s team travel to the Emirates and look to put some distance between them, Manchester United and Liverpool who are close behind. It is the perfect time to push hard as United seem to be spiraling downwards – they haven’t won any of their last 4 games.  

Facing the Gunners is a good years’ start for Chelsea who can get Wenger’s side out of the way for the rest of the season. There are 7 points between the London sides and an extra 3 would most likely hurt Arsenal’s hopes of getting any silverware by the end of this PL season.  

There’s no reason for the Blues to stumble on Wednesday as all signs point in their favor. While it may not be the most wanted advantage to have, Conte’s side does have the upper hand in terms of squad availability.  

To be honest, the competition is so fierce and so complex that getting your team to be a healthy group by the middle of the season proves skill and serious football knowledge so kudos to the Italian manager. 

Chelsea will have the following gaps to fill: 

  • David Luiz – Knee injury – the Brazilian has been one of Chelsea’s most impressive players this season. Unfortunately, he seems to be a bit weak in the knees – literally speaking. Even though he is expected to return this month, he will most likely not have 100% confidence to be the main man for Conte’s defense.  

This is his 5th knee injury in 5 years. Hopefully, he will recover properly and take his time. He is the kind of player that can win you important games. We will not see him at the Emirates as his return date is set for around the 6th of January.  

  • Charly Musonda Jr. – Groin strain – while the youngster has barely made the bench this season, he is still a part of the first team. He is expected to return to normal training by the end of the week. 

Wenger will need to work 3 times harder as his injury count is up to 6 right now as follows: 

  • Mesut Özil – knee problem – Wenger gave Ozil a rest in the last game of 2017 but even so the German international is unlikely to play against Chelsea. This is the 3 time this season when the attacking midfielder gets a knee problem – he is expected to return this week but represents a major doubt for Wednesday’s game.  
  • Aaron Ramsey – Hamstring Injury – out for almost a month now, he is expected to return in over a week or so. There’s little chance to see him play against Chelsea. 
  • Nacho Monreal – Ankle injury – picked up right before Christmas. He is expected to return around the same time as Ramsey. He will also be off the squad list this Wednesday. 
  • Sead Kolasinac – Knee Injury – picked it up against WBA on the 31st. He was replaced by Ainsley Maitland-Niles who most likely will take Kolasinac’s place in the line-up against Chelsea. 
  • Olivier Giroud – Hamstring injury – whould have been a major danger for Chelsea as he showed good form in the beginning of the season. His injury will prevent him from returning earlier than the middle of January. 
  • Santi Cazorla – Plantaris Injury (It is a muscle injury related to the Achilles tendon) – The Spaniard has no return date set and is very likely to miss the whole season despite picking up this injury in October 2016 over which you have to have sympathy for the Spaniard 

Looking at the two lists, Conte will have less on his hands. Again, hats off to him as he managed to take good care of his players and implement a system that keeps them winning while rotating them to keep them fresh and healthy. Hopefully, Chelsea will continue their positive streak and keep their eyes on the title despite the huge gap between them and Manchester City.  

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