One observer believes the current Arsenal eleven is so strong that only one exceptional Chelsea star would break into a combined side.
The Gunners and Blues square off on Sunday in arguably the pick of the weekend’s Premier League fixtures. Tottenham v Liverpool could make a compelling case for that distinction, though that fixture will not determine who finishes the weekend in top spot.
Chelsea have lost just once since Graham Potter took charge – the thumping 4-1 defeat at the hands of Brighton last time out.
Arsenal, meanwhile, enter the London derby on the back of a 5-0 demolition of Nottingham Forest.
Both sides won against weaker opposition in Europe in midweek are were afforded the opportunity to rest some of their front-line players.
Both Chelsea and Arsenal have invested heavily in their squads in recent times. Chelsea actually accrued the highest net spend of all football clubs during the summer window, forking out around £200m after their own player sales.
However, according to talkSPORT pundit, Jamie O’Hara, just one of Chelsea’s expensively-assembled squad would break into a combined starting eleven with Arsenal.
The pundit – who has Tottenham leanings and generally comes down on the side against Arsenal – had nothing but good things to say about the Gunners.
Thiago Silva the lone Chelsea stand-out
O’Hara reckons only the evergreen Thiago Silva of those currently available to Graham Potter would break up the strongest eleven Mikel Arteta can name.
He argued Silva would displace fellow Brazilian Gabriel Magalhaes to partner William Saliba.
That is another tick in the box of Saliba who has made an incredible impact after waiting three years to get his chance in north London.
Gabriel, meanwhile, has started all of Arsenal’s 11 league matches this term and helped Arsenal to produce the league’s joint-second meanest defence.
Only Newcastle (10) have conceded fewer goals than Arsenal and Man City prior to this weekend’s fixtures. Furthermore, Gabriel signed a new contract extension in late-October, indicating he’s highly valued by Arteta and co.
O’Hara did stress Reece James would make the eleven at the expense of Ben White. However, unfortunately for both Chelsea and England, James is sidelined with a knee injury and facing a race against time to make Gareth Southgate’s squad for Qatar.
Arsenal eleven holds up well – O’Hara
“You can’t say Havertz because for me [Gabriel] Jesus is way better,” said O’Hara.
“Out of Mason Mount and Gabriel Martinelli, at the moment I’m taking Martinelli, Bukayo Saka over Raheem Sterling. Martin Odegaard, who gets in ahead of him? He’s fantastic.
“Cesar Azpilicueta has been a fantastic player over the years but I think Ben White is ahead of him right now.
“Everyone’s talking about Chelsea, who have spent a lot of money, £275million. They should be challenging for the title.
“I look at Arsenal’s team and it’s a better side. Arsenal have got to take great confidence going into the weekend.”
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