Arsenal v Chelsea

1 of 6

Pictures: First team train ahead of Chelsea game

Lucas Torreira

We're back in Premier League action this weekend when we host Chelsea at Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

Our first-team squad trained for the final time ahead of the game at our base this week. Our club photographer was also there and sent back these pictures:

Pre-Match Report

Arsenal v Chelsea: The Brief

It may only be mid-January, but there is already a sense that Saturday's showdown with Chelsea could be pivotal for our top-four hopes.

We trail the west Londoners by six points, and Unai Emery has admitted that were that to stretch to nine, our task of chasing them down would tip into the realms of implausibility.

But a victory over Maurizio Sarri's side would add fresh impetus to our Champions League push at a time when Manchester United have also roared back into contention.

Emery will certainly want a response after last weekend's defeat at the London Stadium, and has called on his squad to harness their "anger"    against a side we have only beaten once in our last 14 Premier League meetings.

Read on for a comprehensive match preview, Emery's thoughts on the game, the latest team news, stats, and analysis of the opposition.

The Breakdown - Chelsea
Emery quote - Chelsea
Team News - Chelsea
Opposition view - Chelsea
AN Live - Chelsea


Team news: Mkhitaryan latest

Henrikh Mkhitaryan

Chelsea visit Emirates Stadium this Saturday as we continue our Premier League campaign - and ahead of the fixture we have received the following team news.

Here's the latest team news update from our medical team:
Henrikh Mkhitaryan
Right foot. Expected to return to full training in the next week.
Rob Holding
Left knee. Recovering after surgery.
Danny Welbeck
Right ankle. Recovering after surgery.

Press conference

‘Cech is a very big player and a very big person’

Unai Emery paid tribute to Petr Cech in his press conference on Thursday after the legendary goalkeeper announced that he will retire at the end of the season.

Our head coach discussed our No 1 and also reflected on Saturday’s game against Chelsea and the race for a top-four place.

This is what he told the media:

on Petr Cech's retirement and how it's been to work with him...
Good afternoon. First, I think he's a very big person. As a person I've only known him six months. After that, I know him like a player. A great player with a lot of titles in his career and I think the respect to him is very big for me and for all the football world. His decision is a very, very personal decision and I respect him. He said to us at the beginning of this week and when he said to us I wasn't surprised but I respect him because he was thinking with his family for this decision and we can only say to him after, every player in the team, we want to do this way and at the end of your career find good moments with you.

on whether Cech has an option to become a coach at Arsenal…
Now it’s very difficult to speak about that. I want to enjoy the last four months with him and to finish in a good way together, to find our objective with him. I want to enjoy it with him.

on facing Chelsea and what he wants to see from the team...
The victory, firstly. Victory first but I think we are doing two different performances, at home and away. We want to find the balance between the two moments. First, we are going to go game-by-game and Saturday we are at home and I think we are doing very big matches with big confidence with our supporters and I want the same spirit and the same performance on Saturday against Chelsea. It's a difficult, tough match and I think it's a good test for us also. We wanted to go into this match with three points difference in the table, but our defeat at West Ham doesn't give us this possibility. But Saturday, I am looking forward to playing this match because I want to look at my team, our team, playing with a good performance and also to show our supporters we can do more and we can do better than we are doing away.

on form…
I think Saturday is a big test and our first objective is to be in the top four. It’s more difficult after our defeat against West Ham but we can take positives, like if we win on Saturday. It’s a good test and challenge. A win will take us closer to them. This will take us one step closer to our objective and this is the test. Over 38 matches some are small finals and Saturday for us is a small final.

on what he’s expecting from Chelsea…
A very organised team with very important players. It will be difficult but I believe in our spirit, our quality, our organisation when we are playing at home with our supporters. I think that each match in the Emirates is very special. It will be a tough match but if we play with a big performance, with organisation, I think we can win. It’s difficult and it’s also a test because we can be who we are. Between the beginning of the season when we played them and now, the 23rd game of the season, we are going to play them again. It’s a good moment and a very good test.

on how well Sarri has adapted to the PL…
It’s positive. I think his team has one very good idea and a very good personality, which is what we wants, how he played with Napoli. Now, when you watch Chelsea’s matches, they are playing well and they are playing with this identity. For us also, it’s a good test and we hope we can impose ourselves. Usually, they will impose themselves on the opposition in each of their matches, and they also won against Manchester City. I think this test is the same for us. If we can impose our idea, our game plan, against them, it’s the best test for us.

Press conference

What's the latest on Mesut Ozil?

Mesut Ozil is back in full training - but will he be involved in Saturday's game against Chelsea at Emirates Stadium?

Unai Emery was asked about the World Cup winner in Thursday's press conference at London Colney - and this is what he said:

on whether Ozil is getting married…
Yes, I spoke with him in the summer and he said he is going to get married this year - I think at the end of the season. But his private life is his life. I’ve also spoke to him because I want consistency. He’s had some injuries and these injuries mean that sometimes he is okay and sometimes he isn’t okay. I want every player to give the same work everyday to be okay for every match. With Mesut it’s the same. He didn’t play the last matches but to me he’s just like any other player. This Saturday he can be with us if he’s okay.

on Ozil’s chances of playing at the weekend…
Now? He’s training consistently with his work over the past two weeks and I think he can be.

on whether the situation with Ozil is frustrating…
I like to create the same spirit for all, and that spirit is every players gets and gives consistent work and moments with their performances but it’s not easy. Sometimes you are better and sometimes you are worse. I’m working with every player in the same way. The most important thing for me is how he can help us and how every player can help us with their consistency.

on whether he could leave in January…
I’m not thinking about that. I’m thinking about how he can help us this year with good performances. He’s had injuries and not been okay to play matches, but now after these two weeks maybe this Saturday will be okay for him.

Press conference

Emery on the January transfer window, Suarez

There are two weeks until the end of the January transfer window - so how hopeful is Unai Emery of adding to his squad?

Our head coach discussed his plans with the media on Thursday, and this is what he said:

on bringing players in this month and whether there is any progress...
This transfer window is not easy to take players that can help us with better performances than the players we have now. The club is working and I spoke with Sven, with Raul about different possibilities with players. They are working but it is not easy to take players that can help us with big performances now. I think it is more one transfer for something special you need that can help us. We are looking, the club is working with the possibility to loan players and if we can take for helping us in a different position on the team, then maybe we can.

on Denis Suarez…
They are conversations between us privately. I don’t want to say to you this private conversation with the club.

on what is happening with Sven Mislintat...
I was working with him the last two weeks. We had two or three meetings together and we are working normally. I don't know another different issue to him.

on whether he is leaving...
I don't know. When I spoke with him it was all normal. My relationship with him for transfers in the last two or three weeks, we are speaking about that.

on whether he is unaware of any possibility of Sven leaving...
No, no. Today, for me, the normality is working with him.

on whether he has spoken with him today...
Not today. But in the last two weeks, in two or three meetings. We had these meetings together.