Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea side host London rivals Arsenal at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday evening, with the top four race riding on the result.
Just days after securing their place in the FA Cup final, where they’ll play Liverpool, Chelsea have the chance to go 11 points clear of Mikel Arteta’s team with a game in hand.
A win would almost guarantee Chelsea are in next season’s Champions League, a competition they won last year but exited at the quarter-final stage this time around.
Arsenal, on the other hand, have been languishing outside the Champions League places for several years now and even missed out on European football all-together this season despite the introduction of the Europa Conference League.
However, they are still in the running for fourth place in the Premier League, but three defeats on the bounce have seen them slip from pole position down to sixth. It’s still in their own hands, but they’ve made it far harder for themselves.
FOOTBALL TRANSFERS’ MOST VALUABLE PLAYERS IN THE WORLD
While goals from Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Mason Mount secured a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace at Wembley for Chelsea at the weekend, Arsenal fell to a disappointing 1-0 defeat to struggling Southampton, who picked up their first league win since February against the Gunners.
Despite this, Chelsea have looked unconvincing at home this season, losing to the likes of Real Madrid, Brentford and Manchester City, while dropping points to Man Utd, Burnley, Everton, Brighton and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge.
However, the Blues will face an injury-hit Arsenal side who are missing several key players. Takehiro Tomiyasu is unlikely to make his comeback, while Thomas Partey, Kieran Tierney and Alexandre Lacazette will miss out.
As for Chelsea, Mateo Kovacic was substituted in the first-half against Crystal Palace and will be sidelined for several weeks according to Thomas Tuchel. Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ben Chilwell remain out, while Tuchel admits Romelu Lukaku and Jorginho have suffered from fatigue and fitness.
Timo Werner could be rested after playing against both Real Madrid and Crystal Palace.
One surprise Arteta could make is playing Bukayo Saka at left-back, although he’s unlikely to risk that against Chelsea.
Chelsea vs Arsenal: Predicted XI’s