Jose Mourinho has decided to go without a striker as Chelsea travels across London to visit Arsenal at the Emirates, live on NBCSN or live online at NBC Sports Live Extra.
With Diego Costa and Loic Remy both injured and only 37-year-old Didier Drogba at his disposal, the Chelsea manager has instead selected a six-man midfield with Oscar, Willian, Eden Hazard, and Cesc Fabregas all featuring in the attack. Fabregas is likely to play the highest on his return to the Emirates, with Oscar and Hazard likely to appear there as well.
Costa’s hamstring is still not ready to go and Remy has a calf injury, but Mourinho has still decided to bench the aging Drogba who was ineffective Manchester United last week and Mourinho says is “almost” 100% fit. Mourinho also chose not to select young Dominic Solanke, instead leaving the 17-year-old out of the squad despite the U-18 England international’s absence from his U-21 match against Everton on Thursday.
Arsenal remain without Mikel Arteta and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as Arsene Wenger looks to push for some version of a title race despite Chelsea’s nine point lead. Per Mertesacker is fit to start despite limping out of the FA Cup semifinal last weekend.
The Gunners haven’t scored a goal in each of their last four matches against Chelsea in all competitions, and with three Chelsea defenders appearing on the PFA Team of the Year, that will be a difficult challenge yet again.
Arsenal: Ospina, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal; Coquelin; Sanchez, Ramsey, Cazorla, Ozil; Giroud.
Bench: Szczesny, Debuchy, Gibbs, Flamini, Wilshere, Walcott, Welbeck.
Chelsea: Courtois, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta, Matic, Fabregas, Ramires, Oscar, Willian, Hazard.
Bench: Cech, Filipe Luis, Zouma, Mikel, Loftus-Cheek, Cuadrado, Drogba.