London, Sep 24: Two giants of English Premier League, Arsenal and Chelsea lock horns tonight (September 24) at the Emirates stadium in a crucial game week 6 encounter. [EPL 2016-17: Schedule of Game week 6]
Considered by many as the biggest London derby in the modern times considering the stature of both the teams, the fans have witnessed some mouthwatering clashes in the recent times.
After a shaky start to the season Arsene Wenger's side have improved brilliantly. They have won 4 consecutive matches on a trot to climb up the league table. They are not placed in the fourth position.
The Blues' performance on the other hand have deteriorated in the past few weeks. After winning first three matches, Antonio Conte's men have slipped a bit.
Two weeks back Chelsea managed to find a last minute equaliser to manage a draw against Swansea City and lost to title rivals Liverpool last week.
Arsene Wenger will make quite a few changes in the starting XI from midweek English Football League Cup game against Nottingham Forest. Most likely the manager will opt for the same XI who started against Hull City last week.
The Gunners will miss the services of Per Mertesacker, Aaron Ramsey and Danny Welbeck due to injuries. Striker Olivier Giroud too has a slight injury but will be included in the squad.
Provisional squad: Cech, Ospina, Debuchy, Bellerin, Holding, Gabriel, Koscielny, Mustafi, Gibbs, Monreal, Coquelin, Elneny, Xhaka, Cazorla, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, Sanchez, Walcott, Iwobi, Lucas, Akpom, Giroud.
Antonio Conte had hinted in his pre-match press conference yesterday (September 23) that he might field Cesc Fabregas against Arsenal. This would mean that Spaniard will get his debut first team appearance in the 2016/17 season.
Conte suggested that Fabregas has along history with Arsenal and he would love to start against his former side. Fabregas' promotion means demotion to Oscar.
Another major player missing from the derby match is John Terry. The Chelsea captain and veteran star has been ruled out of the game due to a knock he received against Swansea City two weeks back. David Luiz will once again fill the void.
Predicted starting XIs
Arsenal starting XI
Goalkeeper: Petr Cech
Defenders: Hector Bellerin, Laurent Koscielny, Shkodran Mustafi, Nacho Monreal
Midfielders: Francis Coquelin, Santi Cazorla; Theo Walcott, Mesut Ozil, Alex Iwobi
Striker: Alexis Sanchez
Chelsea starting XI (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Thibaut Courtois
Defenders: Branislav Ivanovic, Gary Cahill, David Luiz, Cesar Azpilicueta
Midfielders: N'Golo Kante; Willian, Cesc Fabregas, Nemanja Matic, Eden Hazard
Striker: Diego Costa
Arsenal 2-1 Chelsea