Arsenal v Chelsea: the teams, the injuries, the media…

By Bulldog Drummond

We have three players out according to Physioroom…

Player Reason Further Detail Potential Return Condition Status
Thomas Partey Thigh Injury Dec 24: “Progressing well. Working outside on close ball work, together with the continued focus on his overall fitness rehab.” 09/01/2021 None Ruled Out
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Calf/Shin/Heel Injury Dec 24: “Has now joined outside drills and will continue to be assessed regarding availability ahead of Saturday.” 26/12/2020 Late Fitness Test 50%
Gabriel Martinelli Calf/Shin/Heel Injury Dec 24: “Sustained heavy impact and bruising to right shin. Recovering well and [aiming] to participate in full training ahead of Saturday.”

It is interesting that having had a much larger number of players out earlier in the season, as the campaign has worn on with two games a week, week after week, we are getting smaller numbers who can’t play.

Chelsea also have three out…

Player Reason Further Detail Potential Return Condition Status
Reece James Knee Injury Dec 21: “Reece and Chilly have been doing really well so we hope both their injuries are not too bad and they’ll be in and around those two games over Xmas.” 03/01/2021 None 25%
Ben Chilwell Ankle/Foot Injury Dec 26: “I expect he will be doubtful for Arsenal. He turned his ankle, tried to carry on but it was too painful so we’ll have a scan and try to see how bad he is.” 03/01/2021 None 25%
Hakim Ziyech Thigh Injury Dec 16: “Hopefully be training by the end of the week.” No Return Date None Ruled Out

Overall it is interesting that injuries do seem to be down across the board, although that is just an impression rather than collated data.  Liverpool are listed as having seven out and they are top of the table,  Newcastle have six out, as do Everton and Palace.  All the rest are five or fewer.

The Evening Standard predicts our line up as


Holding, Gabriel, Tierney;

Bellerin, Ceballos, Xhaka, Saka;

Pepe, Nketiah, Martinelli.

Forbes gives us


Holding, Gabriel, Tierney;

Bellerin, Elneny, Xhaka, Saka;

Willian, Lacazette, Pepe.


The Sun suggests:


Gabriel, Holding, Tierney;

Bellerin                                   Saka

 Xhaka,             Ceballos

Pepe, Lacazette, Martinelli

The BBC’s column ahead of the game have “Lawro” saying “I have a feeling the Gunners will get something here. They are on a poor run, but they still have some quality players in their side, and they are going to show it at some point soon.

“I am not totally convinced by Chelsea either. They were on a really good run until the start of December but I don’t think they are consistent enough to challenge Liverpool for the title. The top four is a realistic target for Frank Lampard’s side though.”

So we have one ray of hope.  The BBC do give us the “worst record at this stage of the season since 1974” but have dropped the “Premier League” part of the quote.  Perhaps they have read Untold.  However now we are into the “lowest position in the league at Christmas since 1982.”

The have found a new one however. “Arsenal have led for just 162 minutes in Premier League matches this season – only bottom side Sheffield United have a worse record.”  But “The Gunners have conceded just two league goals from set-pieces, both from corners – fewer than any other team.”

And there’s this…

  • Arsenal have won nine successive home games on Boxing Day, and are unbeaten in 12 (W10, D2). Their most recent home defeat on 26 December came against Nottingham Forest in 1987.

Meanwhile down among the deadbeats a Mr S Allerdyce has said “Arsenal are a relegation rival”.  No, Arsenal is a team managed by a man who has never tried to compromise the integrity of the FA by doing a dodgy deal with some fake Arabs after one match as England manager.

And the actual team is…


Bellerin, Holding, Pablo Mari, Tierney,

Elneny, Xhaka, Saka,

Smith Rowe, Martinelli, Lacazette

Substitutes from: Runersson, Cedric, Mustafi, Matiland-Niles, Ceballos, Willock, Pepe, Nketiah, Aubameyang


34 Replies to “Arsenal v Chelsea: the teams, the injuries, the media…”

  1. OT – Villa v Palace – VAR check on a possible foul. There was no clear and obvious but the burger munching prat in Stockley Park took a long time and advised the Official on the field to review the pitch side monitor. Thankfully nothing was given, but the whole PGMOL VAR charade is pathetic.

  2. Time to crank up the support for are much maligned and totally out of sorts Arsenal . What an ideal opportunity to turn it on take all 3 points , yes I am full of an excess of Xmas cheer and booze , but hell isn’t the Untold mantra be positive at all times . Sod the Villa Menace get cheering the boys on to victory. Where are all you Untolders when your team needs you most . Shame on you .

  3. All of English football is impacted by the PGMOL and their video bullshit VAR so every match tells a story that impacts Arsenal. It is crucial that we win this game with whoever is available considering corvid has got to Jesus at City.

    We can do it if only we dont get robbed by the officials.

  4. The foul that wasn;t called because of advantage was not revisited for a card. Nothing new there!!!

    But such is fortune that we get a pen that Gary Neville says it is not a penalty.

    Why does VAR have to look at a clear and obvious penalty.

    Goal by Laca 1 – 0 to the Arsenal despite the officiating and the commentating.

  5. Looking at the replay of the penalty, the goalkeeper was dancing on and off his line which is a yellow card offence but not in this game!!

  6. This is still one of the better referees.

    No he isn’t perfect, but very rarely do I feel he is cheating us. That penalty could of gone either way. Personally I thought it was soft. A 40/60 against that could of gone either way and he gave it. I don’t think it would of been given on VAR but equally I it couldn’t be turned over on VAR.

    So okay, one’s gone our way, but despite what some may have you believe a decision going our way doesn’t change what’s happened over 10/15 years so I’ll take it.

    A very good performance. Fingers crossed the lads continue in the same vein.

  7. Rudolf

    Full of excess Christmas cheer !!! Long may it continue. I’ll down another myself in your name.

  8. woooooooooooowww eeeeeeee!! What alovely chip by Saka straight into the Chelsea goal!! He woke the net up as well!! The whole lot were asleep but what a wake up call by Saka!!

    3 – 0 to the Asenal

  9. Lots of toing and froing but eventually a grab of Lacas ear by Silva earns him a yellow. If he were wearing a red shirt he would have got a red!!

  10. VAR will rob as much of this game as possible. The first Chelsea goal was off side because the player (Abraham) came back from an off side position before scoring. VAR didn’t look at the incident fully.

  11. Menace

    Not looked that closely but you have a point. It’s when the balls played, not when he hit it. I’ll have to have another look.

  12. A great win. The fact that the youngsters played helped a lot. Martinelli, Smith Row and Saka attacking their defenders high up the pitch helped to win us momentum. From the moment Martinelli left the pitch we started to fade away a bit. If you compare the passion Martinelli puts in his performances to Pepe his bleak defending… then you know why we got under pressure late in the game.
    A good report also from Leno who made a great save to stop the penalty kick from Chelsea in extra time. It could have been a few very long minutes if that ball would have gone in.
    A message to Mikel: play the kids a bit more!

  13. That’s more like it . Officials were fine , big difference we played with energy desire and belief from the kick off. Young guns fired warnings to the older players either crank it up or make way . No room for passengers everyone has got turn up and perform, Elneny was struggling a bit today but has been deserving of a start . So wow 3 points raise a glass and enjoy the rest of the evening

  14. We have changed the direction, we need to continue with our positive momentum. It was a good result with a positive performance.

  15. I’ve had another look and it probably was onside, just. But listening to SKY, apparently it was ‘clearly’ onside. Of course it was. 🤣

  16. @ Nitram

    I agree, I think it was offside by an inch or so but I’m still utterly confused about the theory that VAR is supposed to come into play when there has been a “clear and obvious error”!

    Happy Christmas UAers

  17. Yes onside by a whole inch. Never mind – we won!!! Scoring goals is much better than letting them in. Seasons greetings to all ”untolders” and best wishes for 2021 both on and off the pitch

  18. Onside after coming back from a clearly offside position. VAR playback carefully selected to avoid this reality.

    Of course, Arsenal were lucky, penalty was soft, Chelsea below par. etc etc.

    Also, Arsenal “young” players made the difference. That must refer to Lacazette and Xhaka who scored and Leno, who saved a penalty.

  19. Congrats to the boys, they fought hard for this. Special thanks to Pablo Mari, Saka, Tierney, Laca they left their hearts on that pitch. Leno penalty save at a crucial point in the game perhaps saved us the 2 extra points. VAR also came to our rescue on the Tierney penalty too, goes to show you need a bit of luck going your way if things must work out well

  20. MOTD and Shearer who said Arsenal are playing to avoid relegation looks like the idiot he is and will not concede he was wrong. He is such a whimp and cheat without the feintest clue about the game other than his bullying goal scoring. Footballs version of Donut Trump.

    I love the way Saka said ‘I saw the goalie off his line so I lobbed him!!’ .

  21. Happy Christmas to everyone!

    A very satisfying afternoon. Immeasurably better. Attack, attack, attack. The quality of their determination was suddenly visible and it was warming.

  22. Great win. But has Artetas Arsenal turned the corner? It has to be seen.

    Xhaka Laca Bellerin led from the front and the young guns Saka and Tiereny Martinelli clicked well. The idiot fans who criticise Xhaka should be hiding after that Xhaka free kick. Infact Xhaka ran the show. Wondering if Ozil is back in Jan and Auba finds his form with the young lads this team we may still finish top half.
    Obviously Arteta need to play attacking football and not the Maureens defence first approach.

    However the hundred million dollar question still has to be answered by the WOBS who said we will win the league once Wenger is out of the club

  23. @ Menace

    One of my favourite stats ever which yet again demonstrates referee bias involved Shearer. A great finisher but a massive cheat imho.

    Whilst England captain he finished two consecutive seasons having committed the most fouls of any player in the Premiership. Number of yellow cards………….zero! Even more extraordinary given he regularly led with his elbow.

  24. Mikey

    Also Shearers little dig that it was Pires who brought ‘winning’ penalties to the PL.

    We’ve had this before from Mike Mills I think it was, but you google/utube Pires dives and basically it comes up with a grand total of 2. The Portsmouth one that he’s never allowed to forget, and one nearer the half way line than the penalty area at Old Trafford.

    Compare that with what appears when you google/utube Rooney dives or Gerrard dives. Yet they never get mention as habitual divers, and they were far far worse than Pires ever was.

    I know it’s a bit sad to mention this after such a win, but it’s no sadder than MOTD still falsely berating Pires more than 15 years after the event.

    I would be interested to know how many Penalties Pires actually won. I’ve looked but cant find it in any of the statistical sources I normally use.

  25. I spent 3/4 hour trying to get the Pires penalty facts this morning . It was in fact Neville that bought it up in commentary . I also tried to find out how many goals his United team scored from players dropping like flies in the Beckham , Ronaldo free kick period.
    Sadly I gave up when the kettle nearly boiled dry and went to make tea.

  26. It still pisses me off thet that tosser Shearer only scored at Highbury because that twat Poll gave him a no penalty against Sol.

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