Arsenal have three games remaining of the Premier League season, with arguably the toughest coming up on Wednesday night against in-form Chelsea.
The Blues have impressed since Thomas Tuchel took over as manager in January, reaching a Champions League final and showing similar form in the league where they currently sit in fourth place.
Gunners boss Mikel Arteta knows European qualification via the league appears unlikely for Arsenal, but is comforted with the performances of young players such as Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe who have impressed in what has otherwise been a dismal season.
“There’s great potential with them, they’ve shown that this season,” he said.
“They are ready to take responsibility in important moments. They have the level to do it, they have the hunger to do it and they have the right senior players around them to help them as well.
“It’s about how we click and how we are consistent. Because we’ve shown that on the day we can compete and beat the top teams but through 38 games, we haven’t done it.
“Through the Europa League, we have done it to the point that we are so close to getting to that final, but in 38 games that’s the duty that we have and the challenge ahead of us: to compete with the big teams in this league.”
Bernd Leno is expected to start in goal for the match at Stamford Bridge, while Hector Bellerin will probably continue at right-back.
In central defence Rob Holding and Pablo Mari have generally been the trusted partnership of late, with Kieran Tierney’s return from injury likely to see the former Celtic man start at left-back.
Granit Xhaka could return to central midfield following his injury alongside Thomas Partey, and Smith Rowe, Gabriel Martinelli and Saka are possibilities to start in attack.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s pace could prove important on the counter attack but Alexandre Lacazette’s return from injury may see Arteta freshen things up in the forward line.
Predicted Arsenal XI: Leno; Bellerin, Holding, Mari, Tierney; Xhaka, Partey; Smith Rowe, Martinelli, Saka; Lacazette.
Source by Football London