Arsenal manager Unai Emery fears that defeat against Chelsea today would end his side’s chances of a top-four finish.
The Gunners will fall nine points behind Chelsea, who sit fourth, if they lose at the Emirates and when asked if that would be too much of a deficit, Emery said: ‘I think yes. On Saturday we play with all we can against them.’
Arsenal have suffered three defeats in their last six Premier League games – the latest at West Ham last week – to lose ground on the Champions League places.
Emery said: ‘After our loss to West Ham it is a big difference to be six points behind Chelsea instead of three. But the next match is against Chelsea and the opportunity we have is to be closer to them.’
Mesut Ozil fears he will not be involved against Chelsea today, even though he has trained and is fit, the German confirming as much on Instagram.
There were brief hopes this week that Chelsea would sign Gonzalo Higuain on loan from Juventus in time for today’s clash but they missed yesterday’s noon deadline for registering the striker. The intention now is to land the Argentine before Thursday’s Carabao Cup semi-final, second leg against Tottenham.
An outline agreement has been reached on the move but the delays in its completion are down to complexities of Higuain cutting short his loan at AC Milan, who want to source a replacement before he departs.
Even without Higuain, Emery has warned his players about the threat of Eden Hazard, whom he rates as one of the top five in the world.
Emery said: ‘He has been the difference in a lot of matches. We need to concentrate on all of their players and not let them play against us with their personality. Hazard is on of the top five players in the world.’Daily Mail