While Chelsea are one game away from this year’s Champions League final, a mere spot in the 2012 tournament is on the line against Arsenal.Chelsea, in sixth place with a game in hand, edged out Barcelona 1-0 in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final on Wednesday and head to the Emirates on Saturday seven points behind third-placed Arsenal.
Didier Drogba scored the winner against Barcelona and will look to add to his career tally of eight Premier League goals against the Gunners, who also have Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United hot on their heels in fourth and fifth respectively.
Arsenal are coming off a shock 2-1 loss at home to Wigan on Monday and face a selection dilemma in midfield after Mikel Arteta was this week ruled out for the remainder season with ankle ligament damage.
Arteta joins Jack Wilshire on the sidelines, while Yossi Benayoun, who is on loan from Chelsea, is ineligible to face his parent club and Abou Diaby remains short of match fitness, leaving Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger with few options for the London derby.
Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo hinted towards a number of changes in personnel following the Barcelona win, which came three days after a 5-1 romping of Tottenham in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley.
“Public opinion has been that these boys are over the hill and too old to play two games in succession,” Di Matteo told the club’s official website.
“But they gave their answer on the pitch (against Barcelona).
“We have to assess the players … but there’s a good chance some fresh players will come in, because they deserve to as well.”
Fernando Torres, Florent Malouda and Daniel Sturridge were all unused substitutes against Barcelona and could feature against Arsenal as the Blues go in search of just their fourth win in 20 Premier League trips to the Emirates.
Source : Soccer Way