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Arsenal lost two key players in Premier League final game against Everton yesterday: Laurent Koscielny and Gabriel Paulista.

Both defenders, who started in Gunners’ 3-1 win, could not complete the 90 minutes at the Emirates Stadium due to different reasons: Koscielny received a straight red card for his reckless tackle on Enner Valencia in the 14th minute, Gabriel had to be stretchered off with a serious looking injury eight minutes into the second half.

The French defender will miss the FA Cup final for suspension, while the Brazilian one is rated as extremely doubtful, with Arsene Wenger saying his overstretched knee did not look good.

 

Two important men missing for the Wembley clash, that’s why Martin Keown reckons Arsenal have almost lost the FA Cup final to Chelsea:

“He’s [Wenger] almost lost the cup final today because there is a big hole in their defence because Koscielny is a wonderful player and Gabriel is an able deputy”, the Arsenal legend said on the BBC’s Final Score programme.

“Honestly, I really don’t know which way it’s going to go now.

“Arsene Wenger looked very low and very down.

“They only missed out very marginally [on the top four] and I think Arsene Wenger not signing his contract created uncertainty.

“The magic power he had was the warmth he gave to his players, the certainty he gave in everything he did – he took that away and he still hasn’t declared what he’s going to do yet.”

Arsenal have faced Chelsea twice this season, winning one game in September and losing the other one in February.

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Team News

Chelsea

– Conte claimed he has full squad available with no fresh injuries

– John Terry can start tonight, as well as Asmir Begovic and Kurt Zouma

–  Pedro has scored in each round of this season’s FA Cup, scoring a total of four goals (also registering two assists).

– The Blues have won 15 of their 16 home games under Antonio Conte in all competitions, including the last 12: the only defeat was Liverpool back in September

– Chelsea have reached the FA Cup quarter-finals 12 times in the 21st century – more than any other side.

 

Manchester  United

– Red Devils travelled to London without all their main strikers yesterday: Zlatan Ibrahimovic is suspended for three games after elbowing Bournemouth’s Tyrone Mings in Premier League. Wayne Rooney, who was supposed to start after not travelling to Russia for Europa League match against Rostov last week, got injured in the last training before travelling to the English capital in an accidental clash with Phil Jones. Anthony Martial was reported injured, while Marcus Rashford is ill.

– José Mourinho could move a winger or another midfielder to the centre of United attacks, like Young, Fellaini, Mata, Lingard or Mkhitaryan but to face such an important game without all the four main strikers is surely a major blow for Mourinho’s side who are looking for “revenge” after last October 4-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge.

– Bailly is back to Manchester United squad after missing Europa League clash against Rostov for suspension

– The last time United lost an FA Cup tie away from Old Trafford was their 1-0 defeat by Chelsea in 2013.

– Jose Mourinho has never lost an FA Cup quarter-final.

– This will be United’s 46th competitive game of the season, but only Chelsea’s 34th.

 

Predicted Line Ups

CHELSEA - Courtois, David Luiz, Cahill, Azipilicueta, Moses, Matic, Kante, Marcos Alonso, Eden Hazard, Pedro, Diego Costa.

MANCHESTER UNITED - De Gea,  Bailly, Rojo, Jones, Valencia, Herrera, Carrick, Pogba, Shaw, Mkhytarian, Mata.

 

 

 

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Jose Mourinho will have an headache in his London hotel room tonight trying to figure out how to face Chelsea in crucial FA Cup quarter finals with no strikers available.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is serving a three-game-ban after the episodes occured with Bournemouth’s Tyrone Mings in the past weekend but pictures of Manchester United travelling squad while boarding the train to London this afternoon showed all the three other strikers were missing: Wayne Rooney, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford all stayed in Manchester to recover from injury.

The Red Devils captain got injured in the last training session in a collision with Phil Jones, Rashford was taken ill and Martial is injured as well.

Mourinho could move a winger or another midfielder to the centre of United attacks, like Young, Fellaini, Mata, Lingard or Mkhitaryan but to face such an important game without all the four main strikers is surely a major blow for Mourinho’s side who are looking for “revenge” after last October 4-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge.

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Chelsea manager José Mourinho thanks the fans for their support during the game against Porto © Francesca Ceciarini

Ex Chelsea boss José Mourinho spoke about next Monday clash against his former club at Stamford Bridge, where he will be back for the second time as a rival after being appointed as the Manchester United manager.

The Red Devils played the first Europa League last 16 game against Rostov Thursday night in Russia and travelled back after the game, but Mourinho reckons this was not the best condition for a team that have to face such an important match:

“We have three days and we have to travel,” Mourinho told MUTV.

“We have to go to London. It’s really hard. We don’t have Zlatan, of course not, but we go with everything we have. We don’t put a [weakened] team out like some clubs sometimes, Manchester United cannot do that.

“We know this Europa League is very important for us, and the FA Cup is beautiful. We cannot go there with a [Reserve] team, we’ll try to manage it within our squad and get a good team to compete with them.

“Manchester United is Manchester United; it’s the winner of this competition. It’s not Chelsea’s fault we were given this Monday match. We’ll make changes, as we played on Thursday, but we cannot go to Chelsea with a [Reserve] team.”

“We want to keep two doors open,” Jose added.

“We have to keep getting points in the Premier League to keep our chances open and if we get through the knock-out round here, we’re in the quarter-finals and feel the door is open, so we have to try.

“We have a trophy in our pocket, which is a good feeling for everyone. Now we have the Premier League for the fight for the top four and we have the Europa League fight for Rostov.”

On the topic of his latest return to Stamford Bridge, the United manager added:

Chelsea? It’s no different. Obviously before the game and after the game, I’ll meet some fans and some people I like. The relation with the fans was always good but, for me, it’s just professional.”

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Arsenal could miss four key-men for crucial title race Chelsea clash on 4 February at Stamford Bridge.

Gunners manager Arsene Wenger risks touchline ban after a series of incidents with the referee Jon Moss and fourth official Anthony Taylor, that he seemed to push while watching the last moments of Arsenal game against Burnley in front the dressing room tunnel entrance.

If Wenger is banned as expected, it potentially leaves Arsenal without four key individuals for the visit to Stamford Bridge to face Antonio Conte side at the start of February.

Granit Xhaka‘s second domestic red card of the season will ensure he misses the next four games, while club captain Per Mertesacker and playmaker Santi Cazorla are expected to remain out injured.

Theo Walcott and Mathieu Debuchy, instead, could recover from calf and hamstring injuries on time for the derby with Chelsea.

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Team News

LEICESTER CITY 

– Striker Leonardo Ulloa is out for thigh injury

– The foxes will miss three players out for Africa Cup of Nations: Islam Slimani and Riyad Mahrez, Algeria is and Daniel Amartey, Ghana.

Jamie Vardy is available after the birth of his son having also missed the FA Cup win at Everton because of illness

- Andy King is fit after being struck down by illness as well

Provisional Squad: Schmeichel, Zieler, Hamer, Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Wasilewski, Hernandez, Fuchs, Chilwell, King, Drinkwater, Ndidi, James, Mendy, Albrighton, Kapustka, Gray, Musa, Okazaki, Vardy.

 

 

CHELSEA 

Diego Costa was dropped from squad list after bust-up with Antonio Conte and fitness coach

John Terry is suspended after red card in FA Cup

Provisional Squad: Courtois, Begovic, Ivanovic, Alonso, Fabregas, Zouma, Kante, Hazard, Loftus-Cheek, Moses, Pedro, Matic, Willian, Batshuayi, Cahill, Azpilicueta, Chalobah, Luiz, Eduardo, Aina, Ake.

 

Possible Line-Ups

LEICESTER CITY – Schmeichel; Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Chilwell; Albrighton, Mendy, Ndidi, Drinkwater, Musa; Vardy.

Manager: Claudio Ranieri

 

CHELSEA - Courtois; Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Cahill; Moses, Matic, Kante, Marcos Alonso; Willian, Pedro, Hazard.

Manager: Antonio Conte

 

Referee: Andre Mariner

Kick Off: 5.30 pm GMT

Venue: King Power Stadium

 

 

 

 

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FA rejected Chelsea appeal for John Terry‘s red card against Peterborough, a measure that also Blues boss Antonio Conte reckoned was excessive.

An official FA statement read:

“John Terry will serve a one-match suspension with immediate effect after his wrongful dismissal claim was unsuccessful, following an Independent Regulatory Commission hearing.

“The Chelsea defender was sent off for denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity during the FA Cup third-round tie against Peterborough United on Sunday.”

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Chelsea hero Pedro will suspended for next clash against Stoke City, that will be played this Saturday, on New Year’s Eve.

The Spanish striker, who was on fire today against Bournemouth scoring also a brace, picked up his 5th yellow card of the season against the Cherries four a late tackle over a rival.

In the same game against the Potters Antonio Conte will find again N’Golo Kante and Diego Costa, that today missed the Boxing Day match for being suspended as well.

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Antonio Conte hails Chelsea and Pedro after the important win over Bournemouth in the Boxing Day clash:

“We played a good game, we could have scored more, but I am happy with the attitude of the players.

“We played without two important players [Diego Costa and N’Golo Kante, who were suspended] but I think we played very well.

Conte preferred to play Pedro instead of a real number 9 like Michy Batshuayi, and his choice was correct, as the Spaniard was the Man of the Match and scored a brace:

“This is the first time we played without a real forward, we tried this in training and I think for us at the moment this situation is the best, but I don’t forget Michy [Batshuayi] because he is a young player with great talent.

“He is adapting to this league and it is football, in the future I trust in him.”

After this victory the Blues have made it an unprecedented 12 wins in a row to stay clear at the top of the table.

“We played a good game, we could have scored more, but I am happy with the attitude of the players,” Conte said analysing the game.

“To win 12 games in a row is not easy in this league. It’s a fantastic run but it’s important to continue that now.

“In four days we have another tough game and we have to prepare very well. Because now, every team wants to beat you.”

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Team News

CHELSEA

– John Terry still out for a muscular injury at his gluteus

– Diego Costa and N’Golo Kante suspended

– Michy Batshuayi and Cesc Fabregas are the favourites to replace them

 

BOURNEMOUTH

– Lewis Cook is a long term absentee

– Junior Stanislas and Andrew Surman are closing in on a return to fitness.

– Nathan Ake will be unavailable to play against his parent club due to the nature of is loan agreement.

 

Predicted Line Ups

CHELSEA – Courtois, Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Cahill, Moses, Fabregas, Matic, Marcos Alonso, Willian, Hazard, Batshuayi

BOURNEMOUTH – Borus, Smith, Francis, Cook, Daniels, Arter, Wilshere, Ibe, King, Pugh, Wilson

 

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