Last week's 3-3 draw against Everton was a challenge not only for the team but also for our heart-health. We survived, barely. Sunday's game is expected to be more of the same, if not a step above, as Chelsea look to smash and grab three points from the home of the current title favorites. Bear down.
We would all probably be feeling a lot more confident with Mourinho still in the dugout — the 2-0 win earlier at Stamford Bridge is easily one of the biggest highlights of the season (not that there are many to choose from). As it stands, it's Arsenal who have all the confidence, though Hiddink did win both times he faced Arsenal as Chelsea boss in 2009, first in the FA Cup, then, a month later, in the league in rather impressive fashion.
"That's a long time ago, many things have passed at this club and in football since but I remember it. It was a few days after Iniesta's 92nd-minute equalising goal in the Champions League semi-finals. The concern I had at that moment, when we went out of the Champions League, was how the team could react and resurrect itself for the game at the Emirates three or four days later."
"Surprisingly the team was very resilient and showed enormous mental power in the game, and that's why we got the result. I very much respected the attitude of all the players after the deception of the Wednesday game against Barcelona."
-Guus Hiddink; source: Chelsea FC
Chelsea's 4-1 win that day remains Arsenal's heaviest ever Premier League home defeat; ex-Arsenal men Ashely Cole and Nicolas Anelka were heavily involved (listen up, Cesc!). We could certainly use that sort of resiliency on Sunday.
Date/Time: Sunday, January 24, 2016, 16:00 GMT; 11:00am EST; 9:30pm IST.
Venue: Emirates Stadium, London, England.
Referee: Mark Clattenburg — you've probably heard about him before. Clattenburg has refereed three Chelsea matches so far this season, all in the Premier League: our first win of the season against West Bromwich at the Hawthorns; our loss to Liverpool at Stamford Bridge with two goals from Philippe Coutinho, and another loss, this time at the hands of Leicester City.
Forecast: Cloudy but dry and generally mild.
On TV: Sky Sports 1 (UK); NBCSN, Telemundo (USA); Star Sports 4 / HD 4 (India); elsewhere.
Streaming Online: Sky Go (UK); NBC Sports Live Extra, NBC Deportes En Vivo Extra (USA); Star Sports (India); Chelsea TV, talkSport (radio, int'l).
Arsenal team news: Double boost for Arsène Wenger as his best player of the season Mesut Özil is once again available to play, and they could welcome back Alexis Sánchez as well from a serious hamstring injury that he suffered in November.
Despite leading the league heading into the weekend and well ahead of Chelsea by a rather ridiculous 19 points, Wenger made sure not to play down the Blues' threat.
"I think [Hiddink] has gone a bit overboard there. I don't think that [Chelsea can be relegated] at all. If you look purely at the mathematics, yes, but the team has too much potential."
"Even if Chelsea are not in the best position, look at their squad. It's a big game because of the quality of the players on the pitch. It has a big importance to us as well. We play at the Emirates and know how important it will be to win this game."
-Arsène Wenger; source: Mail
Arsenal have only won two of their last five league games, while recording two draws and a 4-0 loss to Southampton away. Their last match was a clunky and lucky 0-0 against Stoke City at the Britannia, with Petr Cech single-handedly earning one of the dozen or so points with which his signing was predicted to boost the Gunners' season total.
Combine tremendous goalkeeping with a tactical tweak or two from Wenger this season, and it's easy to see why Arsenal are not only heavy favorites for this game, but are also front-runners for the Premier League trophy at the end of the season (which would be their first since the season before Jose Mourinho first arrived in England). For more on Arsenal, be sure to check out our opposition analysis.
Chelsea team news: There's also good news with regards to Chelsea's injury situation, as Eden Hazard looks set to return to the squad after being out of contention for almost an entire month, and Diego Costa should be also available after taking part in limited training sessions due to his bruised shin. Falcao is still recovering from his muscular injury. There are no suspensions or players otherwise unavailable. Don't get any ideas, Diego!
Chelsea remain unbeaten in all competitions since Mourinho's sacking, collecting three wins and four draws. It could have been much worse were it not for John Terry's turn as miracle man against Everton last weekend. Maybe that's the stroke of good fortune from which we can build.
Previously: A 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge for Chelsea back in September; plenty of drama in (and after) that one.