Mikel Arteta says Arsenal simply must win Tuesday night’s meeting at Chelsea if the club are to keep their faint hopes of securing Champions League football alive.
The Gunners make the short trip across the capital to face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge this evening, with Arteta‘s side currently languishing in tenth in the Premier League and a huge ten points adrift of tonight’s fourth-placed opponents.
Defeat will almost certainly end the club’s distant hopes of returning to Europe’s elite following a three-year absence, and the Arsenal boss has emphasised the importance of a London derby clash that he says his side ‘need to win’.
“It’s very, very important for us to win this game to fight for [the top four],” Arteta said at Monday’s pre-match press conference.
“The game we played at home could have made a big difference and we were very close to it. Tomorrow we need to win.”
The two sides met at the Emirates just three weeks ago, with Arsenal putting in a much-improved display, only for them to run out of steam and Chelsea to score two late goals.
Arsenal will once again be without suspended captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for the clash, whilst Reiss Nelson and Sead Kolasinac are also both out with hamstring and thigh injuries respectively.
Sokratis could return at centre-back, however, the Greek defender having missed the draw with Sheffield United through illness.