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Chelsea meet Arsenal in London derby clash at the Emirates


Arsenal’s Spanish head coach Unai Emery gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between West Ham United and Arsenal at The London Stadium, in east London on January 12, 2019. (Photo by Ian KINGTON / AFP)

In light of a turgid 0-1 defeat to West Ham last weekend, Unai Emery has faced a serious backlash for the first time in his Arsenal career.

Where Arsene Wenger could still draw on an enormous reserve of goodwill during his twilight years at the club – even as the criticism from his hardline detractors became ever more vicious and personal – Emery has no such luxury and faces a considerable section of the fan-base who are demanding a quick fix to a host of long-term problems.

Add to that the apparent turmoil behind the scenes, with recruitment expert, Sven Mislintat reportedly on the verge of leaving the club after an internal power struggle, and it feels like Emery is contending with a low point in his Arsenal tenure thus far. And there’ll be no let-up today, when Emery faces the visit of Chelsea to the Emirates.


Defeat will inevitably heighten discontent among fans while a win would go a long way towards alleviating Arsenal’s mini-crisis.

Mesut Ozil, or no Mesut Ozil? That seems to be the biggest question facing Emery in terms of his team selection.

Having gone without Ozil against West Ham and suffered a loss characterised by a complete dearth of creativity in midfield, many Arsenal fans are keen for their No 10 to return.

Then again, as has been the case for much of the season, Emery may feel differently.

Arsenal have no new injury problems, with Rob Holding and Danny Welbeck both still sidelined for the long-term and Henrikh Mkhitaryan out with a fractured foot but expected to return to full training next week.

Meanwhile, Maurizio Sarri may well leave Alvaro Morata and Gary Cahill out of his matchday squad with both expected to leave Chelsea imminently.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek remains out with back problem but, other than that, Sarri should be able to select a very strong team.

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