Chelsea finished the decade on a rather amusing note, mounting our one and only comeback win of this season — let’s be generous: so far — against Arsenal at the Emirates. Chelsea went into the game after a disappointing (home) defeat, and the response looked rather lacking for most of the game. But then the goalkeeper gifted Jorginho a tap-in and Tammy did the rest, paying off Lampard’s second-half tactical shift (3-4-3 to 4-2-3-1) and bold substitutions (Tariq Lamptey’s impactful senior debut), plus a bit of refereeing controversy for good measure as well (Jorginho avoiding a second yellow in the second-half for fouling a player who avoided a second yellow in the first-half for a foul in the area).
Now, three weeks later, we’re facing a similar scenario. This time the disappointing defeat was away. But a response is needed just the same. Chelsea remain five points ahead of fifth place at the moment, but after dropping more “easy” points than we dare to count in the last couple months, we need to be even better to get things done the hard way.
Our next four Premier League games are against Arsenal, Leicester City, Manchester United, and Tottenham. Our next five home games in all competitions are against Arsenal, Manchester United, Tottenham, Bayern Munich, Everton, and Manchester City.
Make or break time starts right now.
Date / Time: Tuesday, January 21, 2020, 20.15 GMT; 3.15pm EST; 1.45am IST (next day)
Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6
Referee: Stuart Attwell — third game for Attwell this season, after draws against Sheffield United (2-2) and Brighton (1-1)
On TV: BT Sport 1 (UK); NBCSN, Universo (USA); Star Sports Select HD1 (India); Canal+ Sport 1, SuperSport 3 (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: BT Sport Live (UK); NBC Sports Live, Universo Now (USA); Hotstar (India); DStv Now (NGA)
Chelsea team news: The big news is that Reece James, who’s been Chelsea’s Man of the Match in three straight games, is in contention to play despite leaving Saturday’s game with about 15 minutes to go after a nasty-looking collision with Newcastle center back Ciaran Clark. Having avoided any knee, leg, or ankle damage, the 20-year-old could start in his usual right back spot. On the other flank, Marcos Alonso is back in contention as well, having missed the last month or so with a gluteal muscle strain. Christian Pulisic and Ruben Loftus-Cheek remain out and are not expected to be until after the winter break in mid-February at the earliest.
Arsenal team news: The big news (though not really “new”) is that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is suspended, and will be serving the second match of his three-match ban after his reckless challenge on his former Bundesliga colleague Max Meyer ten days ago. Aubameyang is undoubtedly Arsenal’s greatest danger-man, though they obviously have plenty of other talented players as well who can cause plenty of problems for our rickety collective defending.
The Gunners will also be without a whole host of defenders, including Calum Chambers, who got injured against Chelsea last month, as well as Kieran Tierney, Sead Kolašinac, and Sokratis Papastathopoulous. Sokratis could yet overcome his illness well enough to play, which could mean that we wouldn’t have the good fortunate to play against Shkodran Mustafi, who was summarily destroyed by Tammy Abraham for our winning goal last time out.
Arsenal may be closer to relegation zone (7 points) than to us in fourth (10 points), but margins in the mid-table are closer than ever. If we are to keep separate from the muck and mire, this is a must win.
View from the enemy: The Short Fuse
Previously: Not so much fun for the first 80 minutes, then extremely fun for the final 10.