LIVE COVERAGE Arsenal Vs. Chelsea: Follow All The Action From The Premier League Showdown At The Emirates

 @JasonLeMiere on April 21 2012 7:29 AM
Get full coverage of Arsenal Vs. Chelsea in a match with huge Champions League-qualification implications for both sides.
Robin van Persie scored a hat-trick back in October as Arsenal beat Chelsea 5-3 at Stamford Bridge. Reuters

London rivals Arsenal and Chelsea will be kicking-off shortly at the Emirates for what is a match with huge implications for both clubs. You can follow minute-by-minute coverage of the match below.

For Arsenal, a win would all but assure the club a place in next season's Champions League. The Gunners currently sit in third place in the Premier League and, although they have played a game more than their neighbors, have a five point gap to Tottenham and Newcastle and seven point lead over Chelsea.

For that reason the match at the Emirates is a virtual must-win for Chelsea, or they will be faced with the unenviable task of having to win the Champions League in order to qualify for the competition next season.

The Blues will have to raise themselves once more after two massive semi-final performances in the past seven days. Last weekend Chelsea booked their place in the FA Cup Final with a 5-1 win over Tottenham. And less than 72 hours ago, Roberto Di Matteo's men performed doggedly to earn a 1-0 lead from the first-leg of their Champions League semi-final with Barcelona.

Arsenal will hope to take advantage of any lethargy in the Chelsea ranks, but will have to recover quickly from the setback they suffered last time out against Wigan.

Team News: Arsenal will miss Mikel Arteta, who is out for the remainder of the season with an ankle injury. That blow is softened somewhat by the return to fitness of fellow-midfielders Abou Diaby and Francis Coquelin. Both are on the bench.

Laurent Koscielny is available after suspension, but Yossi Benayoun is ineligible against his parent club.

Chelsea boss Di Matteo has made a host of changes to his lineup as he looks to keep his squad fresh during a grueling series of games. Didier Drogba is absent with a knee injury picked up against Barcelona. David Luiz is still ruled out, while Baranislav Ivanovic continues to serve his domestic suspension.

Confirmed Lineups

Arsenal Szczesny; Sagna, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Gibbs; Song, Ramsey, Rosicky; Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain,Van Persie

Subs: Fabianski, Djourou, Santos, Diaby, Coquelin, Gervinho, Chamakh,

Chelsea: Cech; Bosingwa, Cahill, Terry, Bertrand; Romeu, Essien, Malouda; Sturridge, Kalou, Torres.

Subs: Turnbull, Ferreira, Cole, Mikel, Meireles, Lampard, Mata

Prediction: Having made several changes to their lineup, Chelsea could well take some time to settle at the Emirates. With it now appearing clear that the Champions League is being prioritized, rarely will Arsenal have a better opportunity to put one over their London rivals.

With the prize of Champions League qualification in their grasp and an eagerness to make amends for the lapse against Wigan last time out, Arsenal should have enough to get the win.

Arsenal 2-1 Chelsea

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