Arsene gunning for first win over his nemesis
Arsene gunning for first win over his nemesis

Arsenal will be looking for a win today at the Emirates Stadium to slow down what seems Chelsea’s inevitable march towards the Premier League title.

The Gunners trail the Blues by 10 point, so a win today is more likely to help secure a top four place rather than signal a late title challenge.

Arsenal will need to improve upon a poor recent record against Chelsea.

Arsenal have won just two of their last 12 league clashes with the Blues.

Arsene Wenger will also be looking for his first win over his nemesis Jose Mourinho.

Mourinho has never lost Wenger in any competition (W7 D5 L0).

The Gunners will also have to cope with Cesc Fabregas on his first return to the Emirates Stadium since his departure to Barcelona.

Fabregas has a league-high 16 Premier League assists for Chelsea this season.

Team news

Arsenal

Per Mertesacker is doubtful because of an ankle injury.

Gabriel Paulista is ready to come in at centre-half. David Ospina is likely to return in goal.  Hector Bellerin and Nacho Monreal should also be restored at full back.

Mikel Arteta (ankle) and midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (groin) are still not match fit.

Provisional squad: Ospina, Bellerin, Gabriel, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Ramsey, Cazorla, Ozil, Sanchez, Giroud, Szczesny, Szczesny, Gibbs, Mertesacker, Wilshere, Ramsey, Walcott, Welbeck, Rosicky, Flamini, Debuchy.

Chelsea

Diego Costa has missed the last two matches with a hamstring injury, but could return. If not Didier Drogba will retain his place upfront.

Loic Remy (calf) is definitely out, so Dominic Solanke could come on to the substitutes’ bench if Costa fails to make it.

Provisional squad: Courtois, Cech, Ivanovic, Luis, Fabregas, Zouma, Ramires, Oscar, Hazard, Drogba, Mikel, Costa, Matic, Willian, Cuadrado, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta, Blackman, Loftus-Cheek, Solanke.

Key Men

Olivier Giroud has scored 10 goals in his last 12 matches in all competitions.

Today Giroud will be up against a Chelsea defence that have kept four clean sheets in their last six clashes with Arsenal, conceding just two goals in total.

The Gunners striker will also need to do much better than in the reverse fixture at Stamford Bridge, in October, when they failed to have a shot on target.

If he plays Didier Drogba will be looking to continue his excellent scoring record against Arsenal.

Drogba has scored eight times in 11 Premier League appearances against the Gunners in his career.

Prediction

Arsene Wenger must surely break his Mourhino hoodoo one day. It would be criminal not to have predicted it. So going for a 2-1 Gunners win today.

Key match stats (supplied by Opta)

Olivier Giroud has scored 10 goals in his last 12 matches in all competitions.

Arsene Wenger has lost just five competitive home games by a three-plus goal margin during his tenure as Arsenal manager; three of which have come against Chelsea.

Didier Drogba has scored eight times in 11 Premier League appearances against Arsenal in his career. Against no team has he scored more in the division (also scored eight vs WBA).

Jose Mourinho has never lost as an opposition coach against Arsene Wenger in any competition (W7 D5 L0).

Arsenal have won just two of their last 12 league clashes with Chelsea (D2 L8).

Chelsea have kept four clean sheets in their last six clashes with Arsenal, conceding just two goals in total.

In the reverse fixture, in October, Arsenal failed to have a shot on target for the first time in a Premier League match since September 2003 (Manchester United away).

Cesc Fabregas has a league-high 16 Premier League assists this season. Only Thierry Henry (20 in 2002-03), Frank Lampard (18 in 2004-05) and Fabregas himself (17 in 2007-08) have ever registered more in a single Premier League campaign.

Arsenal have won more points in 2015 than any other Premier League side (33).

Chelsea have scored first in all 20 of their games in all competitions in 2015.