Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has decided to afford his players two days off ahead of their clash with Chelsea on Saturday, according to a report.
The Gunners squad will undertake recovery sessions in the gym and won’t kick a ball again until Friday with Wenger limiting himself to just one field session before Saturday’s 12.30pm showdown at Stamford Bridge, according to The Times.
A defeat to the league leaders would leave Wenger’s charges 12 points behind with just 36 points left to play for. And in stark contrast Chelsea boss Antonio Conte will have his squad in for training every day this week.
The Blues were held to a 1-1 draw at Liverpool in midweek but they won’t get any days off in the run up to Saturday’s clash as they look for revenge after their 3-0 defeat at The Emirates in September.
Aaron Ramsey has been ruled out of the game at Stamford Bridge after sustaining a calf injury in the defeat against Watford, while Olivier Giroud is a doubt after taking a knock on an ankle that led to him being substituted.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is likely to be available despite picking up a knee problem in the shock 2-1 loss to Watford and he is most likely to replace Ramsey.
The Gunners lost further ground in the title race on Tuesday after goals from Younes Kaboul and Troy Deeney sent them to defeat – a result which left The Gunners in third place and nine points behind Chelsea.
“I think we were not mentally ready to deal with the duels that we usually do,” he said.
“You don’t make 47 points in the Premier League after 23 games if you have no physical power. But you have to switch it on at 100% every time in the Premier League, that’s what it is about.
“It was not good in the first half, especially in the first 20 minutes. We were beaten in the duels, they were sharper than us.
“On top of that we were a bit unlucky because I felt we were unlucky to concede a free-kick and then it was deflected too.
“After that we responded. We didn’t start the way we wanted, in the second half it was all us, and we were unlucky to lose the game as well. We did not deserve to lose this game.”