Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has described Tuesday’s London derby with Chelsea as a ‘must-win clash’ but is he putting unnecessary pressure on his injury-ravaged side?
Despite the Stamford Bridge clash being just Arteta’s sixth game in charge of his former club it is his second meeting with their west London neighbours.
Arsenal dominated the early stages of their Emirates meeting and went ahead through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang but a late collapse saw the Blues grab all three points with a 2-1 win.
Aubameyang is in the middle of a three game suspension so is not available tonight, while Kieran Tierney (shoulder) and Calum Chambers (knee) will also miss the game.
Sokratis faces a late fitness test after illness ruled him out against the Blades, while Hector Bellerin could be fit enough to start after Arteta said he is ‘looking much sharper, much better’.
Sead Kolasinac and Reiss Nelson will both miss the clash against Chelsea and both are expected to miss the FA Cup tie against Bournemouth as well as the Burnley trip on February 2nd.
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Kolasinac is out with a left thigh strain, while Nelson is struggling with an hamstring injury.
Gabriel Martinelli surely did enough with his goal against the Blades to retain his place in the starting XI, while Granit Xhaka and Lucas Torreira will continue in front of the defence.
Alexandre Lacazette is desperate for a goal having not scored since December 12, and David Luiz will be aiming to get one over on his former team.
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“We need to win,” insisted Arteta. “It’s really important. It’s very, very important for us to win this game — to fight for that.
“Everyone is having a lot of problems to put together back-to-back wins. The league has been very competitive this…