MX23RW : Monday, January 11 07:07:56| >> :60:133:133:
Dec 26, 2020 at 5.30pm UK at Emirates Stadium
Lacazette (34' pen.), Xhaka (44'), Saka (56')
Mari (16'), Tierney (83')
FT(HT: 2-0)
Abraham (85')
Silva (73')

Combined XI: Arsenal vs. Chelsea

Ahead of Saturday's Premier League clash between Arsenal and Chelsea, Sports Mole picks a combined XI from both squads.

Chelsea will be looking to pile more misery on Arsenal when Frank Lampard's side travel to the Emirates Stadium on Saturday evening to take on the struggling Gunners.

The Blues will enter the contest off the back of a 3-0 win over West Ham United on Monday night, which has left them in fifth position in the Premier League table, having picked up 25 points from 14 matches.

Arsenal, though, lost 2-1 at Everton in the league on Saturday before suffering a 4-1 home defeat to Manchester City in the quarter-finals of the EFL Cup on Tuesday night.

The Gunners have lost five of their last seven league matches - failing to win in the process - and are currently down in 15th spot in the table, just four points outside of the relegation zone.

There are likely to be more questions on Mikel Arteta's future if the hosts suffer another defeat here, and Chelsea will be determined to put another three points on the board at the expense of their capital rivals.

Some of the Premier League's biggest talents will be on display in this game and with that in mind, Sports Mole picks a combined XI from both squads, using only players available for the contest.

Combined XI: ARS vs. CHE

Selecting the goalkeeper in this particular XI was not a difficult decision; Bernd Leno has certainly been one of Arsenal's better players this season, but Edouard Mendy's form since arriving at Chelsea has been excellent. The 28-year-old has kept six clean sheets in his 10 Premier League appearances this term and has firmly steadied the Blues after a difficult period involving Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Reece James and Ben Chilwell are Chelsea's two first-choice full-backs, but the pair are both major injury doubts for this match, meaning that they have to be left out. As a result, Cesar Azpilicueta, who should get the nod at right-back for Chelsea in this game, is included, while there is a spot at left-back for impressive teenager Bukayo Saka, who has been excellent for Arsenal this season while operating as a left-back, left-wing back and left-sided attacker.

Kieran Tierney has also been one of Arsenal's better players this term, and the Scotland international gets the nod in the middle of the defence alongside Chelsea's Thiago Silva, who has been brilliant since his arrival from Paris Saint-Germain. Like Mendy, Silva has brought a sense of calmness to Chelsea, and the 36-year-old came up with his second Premier League goal of the campaign against Newcastle on Monday.

Further forward, it is an all-Chelsea midfield three, with N'Golo Kante an easy pick in this XI. Mason Mount has also made the side, with the 21-year-old getting the nod over the likes of Kai Havertz, Granit Xhaka, Mohamed Elneny and Dani Ceballos. Mount has one goal and four assists in the Premier League this term and is needed in this particular team due to his energy and ability to break forward from a deep position.

There is every chance that Jorginho could start over Mateo Kovacic on Saturday, but the latter gets the nod in this side due to his defensive qualities. Thomas Partey would have been a certainty had he been available, but the Arsenal midfielder will again be absent due to a thigh problem.

There are also huge question marks surrounding the fitness of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, meaning that the Arsenal captain had to be left out. As a result, it is an all-Chelsea front three, with Timo Werner and Christian Pulisic featuring in the wide areas. Werner has only managed four Premier League goals this term but has scored eight times and registered six assists in 21 appearances overall since making his debut for the London club.

Pulisic, meanwhile, has had his fitness problems this season, but the 22-year-old was impressive against West Ham and should start for Chelsea on Boxing Day due to Hakim Ziyech's absence. The attacker's ability to change the game in a moment means that he is selected over the likes of Nicolas Pepe, Willian and Alexandre Lacazette, who have all found it difficult to make their mark for the Gunners this term.

Gabriel Martinelli would have certainly been in contention had he played more minutes, but the Arsenal youngster is only just back from injury and has emerged as a slight doubt for this game, having suffered a heavy kick to his shin during the clash with Man City on Tuesday night.

The final spot in the XI is handed to Tammy Abraham, who netted a brace against West Ham to make it five Premier League goals for the season. The England international has actually now managed seven goals and six assists in 20 appearances in 2020-21, which is a strong return considering that he has not always been first choice.


How you voted: Arsenal vs Chelsea

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Arsenal's Gabriel Martinelli in action with Manchester City's Zack Steffen in the EFL Cup on December 22, 2020
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