There were some encouraging signs for Mikel Arteta despite his Arsenal side labouring to a 1-1 draw against Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium on Boxing Day. Chelsea, on the other hand, succumbed to a shock 0-2 defeat at home to a spirited Southampton side. Both sides will look to kick on from their Boxing Day results in the London derby on Sunday, December 29 at 7:30 PM IST.
Mikel Arteta praised his Arsenal side for their mentality during the 1-1 draw against Bournemouth. The Gunners fought back from a one-goal deficit to share the points with Bournemouth courtesy of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's leveller. However, it wasn't the most convincing display from the Gunners.
Chelsea's loss at home to Southampton had little to no silver lining for the Blues. A 1-3 loss at Everton was followed by a 0-1 loss at home to Bournemouth. Followed by that, Frank Lampard's side were condemned to a second consecutive defeat at home in the Premier League this season when Ralph Hasenhuttl's side pulled themselves out of the relegation zone with a 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge. The faint silver lining from the loss to Southampton was that Callum Hudson-Odoi made his first start for Chelsea since October. Chelsea are currently fourth on the Premier League table. However, fifth-placed Wolves are just two points behind Frank Lampard's side. Arsenal, on the other hand, will look to climb back into the top half of the Premier League table this weekend.
Both Arsenal and Chelsea have faced issues with their defence this season. Both sides have shipped a combined 55 goals this season - just three more than Manchester City's goal tally so far. With Tammy Abraham pitted against David Luiz and Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Chelsea's top scorer will be the favourite to come out on top. However, the midfield appears to be where the battle will be won for either side. Mesut Ozil is one of the few midfielders with an eye for a pass in the Arsenal squad. The German's playmaking abilities will be put to the test against French World Cup winner N'Golo Kante, who has failed to reach the heights of his defensive solidity this season. Arsenal's Granit Xhaka and Lucas Torreira haven't done too well either. However, with Ceballos out injured, Mikel Arteta will have little choice but to go with the midfield from the game against Bournemouth.
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—1998:— Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 26, 2019
Chelsea 0-1 Manchester United
Chelsea 0-1 Aston Villa
Chelsea 0-1 Bournemouth
Chelsea 0-2 Southampton
Not a feat Frank Lampard wanted to repeat. 😬 pic.twitter.com/phUqAel1qo
Rob Holding and Dani Ceballos will be the most likely absentees from the Arsenal squad, while Sead Kolasinac and Kieran Tierney will also miss out. Frank Lampard could choose to start Mason Mount and Mateo Kovacic in midfield. Marcos Alonso could also feature for the Blues at the Emirates after the Spaniard missed the game against Southampton with an injury.