Expected Arsenal XI vs Chelsea after Mikel Arteta admits real relegation fears

Mikel Arteta is facing several selection dilemmas as Arsenal host Chelsea on Boxing Day.

The Gunners have only won once in their last 10 Premier League fixtures and are only four points above the relegation places despite a good initial start to the new campaign.

The Spaniard has now admitted that his side are facing a battle to stay in the top flight, a week after calling for the fighters in his squad to get them out of trouble.

They come up against Frank Lampard’s Blues on Saturday afternoon, who are also in need of a victory having bounced back from two defeats when beating West Ham on Monday.

Bernd Leno is set to return in goal with a back four that includes Hector Bellerin, Gabriel, David Luiz and Kieran Tierney.

Granit Xhaka could then start in midfield with Dani Ceballos behind Willian.

That leaves Nicolas Pepe and Bukayo Saka either side of Alexandre Lacazette with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang a doubt.

When asked if his players are in a dogfight to avoid relegation, Arteta said: “Yes, absolutely.”

After he had declared: “The next seven or eight days are going to be crucial to where we’re heading to in the Premier League. We have a crucial week, we have to stand up and we have to pick up points.”

Arteta’s response came after West Brom boss Sam Allardyce insisted that the Gunners had been dragged into the battle at the bottom after a terrible run of domestic form.

The Spaniard added: “It’s been us that have let ourselves down and it is down to us to change it.

“I have to protect my players and I will keep doing it.”

Expected Arsenal XI to take on Chelsea:

Leno; Bellerin, Luiz, Gabriel, Tierney; Xhaka, Ceballos; Willian, Pepe, Lacazette, Saka.

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