Arsenal faces Chelsea in a London derby on Boxing Day as the Gunners look to record their first league victory in almost a month.
The last time the two teams met was on Boxing Day in 2001 and Arsenal won 2 – 1.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta believes Boxing Day opponents Chelsea boast the “strongest squad” in the Premier League as he looks to guide his team to a first domestic win in nearly two months.
Mikel Arteta’s side have taken just two points from a possible 21 since the win over Manchester United on November 1, and are edging ever close to the relegation zone where they currently sit in 15th place.
The recent league defeat to Everton at Goodison Park was Arsenal’s seventh loss in 10 games and they face Brighton on Tuesday and West Brom next Saturday with both teams languishing around the drop zone.
“The next seven to eight days are going to be crucial to see where we’re going to be heading to in the Premier League,” said Arteta in his pre-match press conference.
“People are suffering, we are hurting and you have to get back, be the leader again and try to push the players. The players respond and are excited again for the game. That’s happening but the best medicine is to win against Chelsea.”
“We have to stand up and we have to pick up the points. Let’s draw a line and move forward. Whether it’s bad luck or these things that are affecting our results, they have to change dramatically.”
Chelsea are targeting top four this season and have a young manager in Frank Lampard, but the contrast in team’s fortunes can be seen with the nine point gap between both sides.
Arteta is expected to make a number of changes from the team who were defeated 4-1 by Manchester City in the Carabao Cup quarter-final earlier in the week.