Can Arsenal provide us with a belated Christmas present in the form of a decent result against Chelsea?

Here are the official line-ups.

Arsenal: Leno, Bellerin, Tierney, Holding, Pablo Mari, Elneny, Xhaka, Smith Rowe, Saka, Martinelli, Lacazette

Subs: Runarsson, Ceballos, Aubameyang, Maitland-Niles, Soares, Pepe, Mustafi, Willock, Nketiah

Chelsea: Mendy, Thiago Silva, Kante, Abraham, Pulisic, Werner, Zouma, Kovacic, Mount, Chilwell, James

Subs: Kepa, Rudiger, Jorginho, Handsome French Bastard, Hudson-Odoi, Gilmour, Azpilicueta, Havertz, Emerson

Follow the game on the Arseblog live blog

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Appels&Pere

Whats a Xhaka?

Randy

It’s pronounced * Shambles * there are reels on YouTube with Benny Hill theme tunes

Domi

Xhaka is a lidl busquets. As arnautovic is lidl ibra…

Domi

He’s very loud and thinks more of himself then he should.

ASH

Two teams suffering a huge fall from last season are Arsenal and Sheffield United. Both teams have improved squads considerably in the summer. The common denominator between these teams is their last season goalkeeper is gone – Martinez and Henderson.

Leno vs Martinez debate – one plays for a team fighting relegation, the other for a team in the top half. 

ealing

This is nonsense. If all our troubles were Martinez related, we would 6th at least

Greg in Seattle

How have we improved our squad considerably over the summer? Willian? Do you mean Partey wouldn’t have gotten hurt with Emi in net?

Daveo

What’s a xhaka? An immovable object

Sagebrush

Part of the furniture, looks like. What they see in him I don’t know. This guy is going to relegate us. I guy who is never injured?

Sagebrush

Exactly, what a Xhaka FFS?

K-Gooner

Do you now understand what is Xhaka?

BongoGooner

Willian in dubai?

Deano

Here’s hoping.

CorporateMan

Against hope 😣😩

Aaron

That he loses his passport, UAE close their Brazilian embassy due to a covid II outbreak and remain closed for the next 3 years. We can all hope, you know.

Jorin

Willian is currently buying orthopaedic shoes to straighten himself out.

Ambazonian Gunner

Hope he gets signed up by Salt Bae

Name*

Willian out, Arsenal wins. Hence proved.

Charles

Xhaka straight back in. Cant wait to be rid of fucking Arteta.

No foot Norbert

Xhaka straight back in is abysmal but who is better. The tragedy of Arsenal

Domi

Ther arw other options. You don’t play a senior guy who has let you down with his performances and also with the avoidable red, that should be a non-negotiable. Rather play Azeez if needed but show that it cannot pass. We have amn, ceba as options. Also, guen and torreira are our players, mikel chose to let them go for his reasons instead of making the most out of them as a supposed mentor and developer of players.

Awesomesauce25

Actually, as much as I’m ready to replace Xhaka… for Arteta specifically… he has performed well far more often than he has cost us. He had some clutch performances towards the end of last season and in the cups. Also, the other options are not better than Xhaka at this point. This is a sad, but true fact unfortunately. Hopefully we can change this fact in January.

Arsene's Coat

No Gabriel??

jjmizuno

close contact with someone who tested positive for covid…

Thessaloniki

Oh no! Please, please, don’t play a high line with Mari and Holding. Don’t want to see Werner vs. the slowest CB duo in the prem.

Vonnie

Jesus!

Thessaloniki

Oh, that makes sense. They must have been celebrating how he looked reborn last week.

Naija gooner

There is no Willian but who is the xhaka dude, I just want a spirited performance…COYG!!!

Greg in Seattle

While I am squarely off the crickety Xhaka-train, such as it was for a hot minute there, I will say that at least he a) does care about the badge and gives effort even if he’s limited, and b) has on occasion had a good match. Neither can be said about Willian.

Just let Xhakaneny be a relatively stable base for Laca ESR Martinelli Saka Hector please. I’d take a point happily.

Naija gooner

Hey…If he us scoring free kicks I’m down

SarcasmB0t

I’m not. Even a broken clock and all that.

Sell him in January.

SB Still

After many weeks I’ve worn my lucky pants, to support the team but Arteta shoots our own collective foot by selecting Xhaka in the starting XI!

Hail Gus!

Xhaka. Give me strength 🤦🏼‍♂️

Bleeding gums murphy

Arteta is now desperate and it’s embarrassing.

Teryima Adi

Hahahaha

Cdm995

I get he’s not good but seriously who else is Arteta supposed to pick? We don’t have very good players, so whoever arteta picks the team’s gonna look pretty awful.

Domi

He doesn’t need to pick X, there are options. I’d accept Willie from the Simpsons just so I don’t see him ever again.

Hail Gus!

One swallow does not a summer make, nor one fine day..

Public Elneny

The lack of pace in Holding/Mari/Xhaka/Elneny will kill us

Bergkamp2Wright

Going to watch this one from behind the sofa.

Randy

Love the look of the front line. Youth has been the most entertaining part of watching my team as of late.
Midfield is a shambles with Elneny/ Xhaka. I keep wondering if I’ll ever see what professional coaches see in Xhaka, especially paired with the quality of Elneny to hold a midfield….
Hopeful for yet another new defensive pairing in PL.

Still my hopes make me believe we can win this today!!

COYG!!!!!

Chamakhyungpark

This line up is reeking of shit being thrown and distributed by a fan.

AlexNuggz

Let’s beat these muppets! Coyg

Glock

Nice seeing Smith Rowe and Martinelli given a go, see if our exciting wingers can do a job. I do wonder why we don’t give Willock a run of games in CM though. I’d give him five or so games come-what-may and see if he plays himself into contention, goodness knows the other options have no potential!

Awesomesauce25

Finally a comment about the excitement to see the youngsters given a chance instead of complaining about the senior players who were in the lineup. A team entirely of youngsters just will not win. No chance in the Premier League. You have to have a blended approach. Simple as that. And if you throw all the youngsters on it is like throwing them to the wolves to be eaten alive. Thus destroying their confidence and then ultimately their Arsenal career. They need to be shepherded into the lineup and build their confidence. Arteta has the challenge to find the blend… Read more »

Arunava

That’s a ballsy lineup! COYG

Artetist

Ballsy as in..balls in our net??

Domi

Haha, or as in, it reeks of smelly old balls with X in the side.

BigArse

Where is Gabriel? With him in and AMN for Xhaka we’d be in good shape. Assuming Auba is only fit for the bench. I don’t understand leaving out our best CB.

Arimnestos

Isolating.

BigArse

Hope he stays well.
In a strange way I’m relieved that there is an explanation.

BigArse

Thrilled to hold my hand up. Wrong about Gabriel, wrong about Xhaka. What a strike!

Francesc

Xhaka???????????????????????

Bergkamp2Wright

The symbol of another failing arsenal manager. FFS

Baichung Bhutia

It’s like a challenge to the fantasy football experts 🙂 what happened to Luiz, Gabriel?
It’s a decent front three, hope for the best.

Grymelock

Well looks like the penny has finally dropped. Those useless old fucks will just get him sacked.
I’m interested to see how a secondary line that can actually support a centre forward will work.

Grumbleduke

Willian has COVID so will miss next 3 games.

Grymelock

I don’t query where my Christmas presents come from.

Paul Roberts

Says who?

Paul Roberts

Apparently Willian is unwell but has tested negative for Covid. Fake news from Grumbleduke

Grumbleduke

Hold my hands up on that. Thought the initial report was willian.

Domi

His back hurts from playing fortnite all nite w ozil, another retiree. And I’d like to see ozil in the team as we cannot afford having such player do nothing, even if he’s very much flawed.

Frank

Think the front 4 can do some damage. Slightly worried about what’s behind them, but here’s hoping we score so many it doesn’t matter……..

Potatogooner

Score so many that it doesn’t matter! Have you been watching us play this season hahahahaha

Xhaka The Goat

So sick of Xhaka… but here’s hoping that him and Elneny can create a competent base for Smith-Rowe to create a bit of magic.

Fatgooner

No Willian? Getting ready to sell him next month? I hope so.

Voldermort

To who? 200k a week. Hes now a problem of our own making and we are stuck with him for next 2 and half years. Just another leach on our squad like so many others.

David Hilliers Arm Cast

Just when you think there is some good news with SR and Martinelli playing, you see that waste of space Xhaka starts.

He can do no wrong in the bosses eyes I guess.

matt stewart

Hope HFB stays on that bench

Jacques

Walcott scored, Iwobi provided the cross to Holdings own goal… gotta be a hat-trick with Giroud’s header off the post 🤣

Auba auba laca partey

Laca symbolise the fighting in this team. With Martinelli and Saka we have a chance. COYG!

Homer

More tinkering from MA. Worrisome. More troubling is Xhaka.
This isn’t looking like a play on the counter set up, either. Even More worrisome. We could get battered here. I quite fear it.

TBF, I’ve no idea of what Mari is capable, and neither does anyone on this page, I reckon. Just hope Gabriel isn’t injured.

Bellerin is such an average defender. If there is interested in him, they should sell now while he’s got value. Hes a top man, but no world beater, and the club needs to cash in and evolve. Thats the way of things.

Don Cazorleone

Yep. The time is right.

CorporateMan

Sorry gooners, prepare for a Chelski thrashing

Jules

Xhaka over Maitland niles is a fucking crime. At this point would anyone really blame Ainsley if he chooses to leave? Every performance he puts in proves he should be in before xhaka and Ceballos and Elneny and arguably bellerin. You’re making this so difficult mikel

ealing

Maitland-Niles is good for England call up, by behind Xhaka?

Domi

Exactly. Hard to support mikel with such decisions.

Artetist

Mount Kante and Kovacic vs Xhaka and Elneny…F me!!Arteta’s insane in the membrain

Mike_14

At least ESR has a debut, Willian not even on the bench.

Man Manny

Where is Willian?

Paul Roberts

Unwell

Domi

Shooting gravity 2 I hope.

Alex

Elneny and Xhaka is such a weak midfield. Games are won and lost in midfield

Arimnestos

Sadly the other midfielders are also weak.

Alex

Arteta could be playing Party, Ozil and Torreira or Elneny or Gendouzi all since the start of the season

The only problem I’m sure of is….Arteta

Domi

That’s not an excuse. There are options, AMN for example. I’d even have ceballos just to see the back of X.

David J M

No sign of Nelson again. What is going on?

HenryKamp

Head injury. Still a couple more days away.

David J M

Not mentioned in the injury/team news update

Domi

Where is that info buddy, there is radio silence on him for weeks? I think they are selling him to raise funds for creative MF (mothafucka).

Teryima Adi

Praying we don’t lose or draw.

Merlin’s Panini

Looks an ok-ish line up. Midfield still looks piss weak though. I expect we’ll lose.

Domi

Arteta really wants to die on xhaka hill (this time without willian but he’d choose him probably if he was fit).

Hard to get behind him with him choosing X, for me.

Ambazonian Gunner

This team selection looks like a “sack me” plea from Arteta.

Hironsgaming

Xhaka straight back in?? Smh

Domi

I hate it when it comes to this point when I cannot get behind our manager and some of the players, just can’t stand xhaka atm. It kills any joy from watching our club play.

I know it’s being negative before the match and ppl don’t like it here, but just sharing w u fellow gooners.

Win or lose, don’t think it will change much in the grand scheme of things.

And looking at chelski they are a better oiled machine with a more serious ownership and management than us, even if Lampard has mixed results. Will be tough.

Moses

Come on folks…to me this is an exciting line up…it may not work, but at least it shows some ambition and bravery…better late than never. Stick with it for a few games and see if the youngun’s are up to it.

Yes, we know midfield is a stick, but not a great amount of option there really. First time in a while I have been excited to see what can happen, even though I am of course aware it may not…but I’ll leave that until after.

He's got no hair but we don't care...

Xhaka? Again? Hahahahahaha

karl

How can dragging Smith Rowe to the ground not be a yellow?

He's got no hair but we don't care...

Another stupid foul in a dangerous area by the man who runs through treacle. Being well liked and having experience is not enough to keep someone in the side if they’re playing sh£te!

Ak47

No Willian? Did Arteta get his nudes back?

SarcasmB0t

Willian is out with arthritis.

Khandaker

Yes, I am watching the game

Khandaker

Squad idea not very bad

Nzini

Let’s see how we lose this one

Bould's Eyeliner

A CAM! Good luck Smith-Rowe

Sagebrush

Xhaka miscues a clearance and Werner nods the ball down for Abraham. Xhaka.

JazzAFC

Xhaka boom boom, where all the haters ?

SarcasmB0t

Exactly. The years of terrible performances, telling fans to fuck off and singlehandedly keeping the team out of the Champions League are not relevant anymore.

They have all unhappened, because a professional footballer scored a goal.

Yay! There are no issues anymore! Xhaka is no longer slow moving, slow passing, and prone to idiotic meltdowns!

He’s scored a goal which means he can run quicker!

JazzAFC

Hahha thanks for the laugh 🤪

Lacaubapepe

Whenever xhaka does that in a consequential match like this, you just can’t help but forgive his past crimes!

Saffi

We look soo much better with a number 10 playing in between the lines

Dave

And with just a 7% chances to win

JazzAFC

Exactly ! We need that No.10 ! Also the front 4 are doing their jobs well tonight, so far(dont want tp jinx it)

StuArse

We may not all like Xhaka, but do we have many other options?
Excited to see 3 of the future front 4 play together. I hope their direct running, dribbling, pace and creativity is enough.
Would love to have seen Chambers at the back too.

StuArse

Also, are we playing 4-2-3-1?