Our next game sees us return to home comforts, where our record is impressive and we can hopefully keep our recent record against Chelsea going, as the Blues come to The Emirates.

Our triumph in last season’s FA Cup final and our 3-0 win in the league seem like an age ago, but it shows that we are capable of beating Antonio Conte’s men, and we will need to have that positive mindset if we are to do the same again.

We need to target three points, especially now that Mike Dean has put himself in the spotlight again. His ludicrous decision in our last game - the 1-1 draw vs West Brom on New Years Eve - saw us drop crucial points that now sees a gap between us and the top4.

The last thing we need is a crunch game against a London rival, but the season is a long one and we at least know we can get the better of Conte’s men. Whether we do that this time is very much up for discussion.

Frankly, we have no idea what incarnation of our team will turn up. We plodded in our draw with West Brom and even though we had the win robbed from us, we looked far from convincing. We will need to do much better against Chelsea if we are to harbour any hopes of victory.

On that note, we’ve played nine matches in December, and rotation is needed to keep our main players fresh - aside from Alexis. The Chilean needs to be juiced while we still have him, and he is a difference maker. Mesut Ozil missed the draw with West Brom with a reported knee injury, and it is unclear whether the German will make the grade for this match. It was abundantly clear that we missed his creativity in our last game, fingers crossed he makes it.

Nacho Monreal, Olivier Giroud and Aaron Ramsey will again miss out through injury, but it isn’t these players we are fretting over. Laurent Koscielny and Sead Kolasinac limped off in our last game and we will be sweating over these two plus Ozil all the way until kickoff. Per Mertesacker, Ainslie Maitland-Niles and Alex Iwobi all wait in the wings to replace them should they fall short.

Chelsea have been in good form recently, and their last game saw them thump Stoke by five goals. They have an embarrassment of riches to choose from should fatigue bite at their heels, with Pedro, Willian and Fabregas all fresh enough to come in and revitalise the eleven.

If there is anywhere they can be gotten at, it is midfield. Tiemoue Bakayoko is a fantastic player, but he has not hit the ground running so far. If Jack Wilshere and Granit Xhaka press him, we could reap some headway that can help us win the battle on the pitch. We won the battle in midfield in the FA Cup final, we need to do the same again.

A lot will hinge on if we can name those semi-injured players, such is their importance to our eleven. If we are missing Koscielny or Ozil, then the game could be an uphill battle.

The ramifications for losing the game will be big. We are one win away from Liverpool in the table, before Liverpool take on Burnley at Turf Moor today. A loss will widen the gap and give the Reds breathing space, and with Virgil Van Dijk all set to bolster their shaky defence, we will be up against it.

So, the task is clear. We don’t have another league game for eleven days after this fixture, so we can rest our flagged players. It is all out for victory here then.

Predicted Scoreline - 2-1 to The Arsenal.