Arsenal manager, Mikel Arteta, has said Chelsea has the “strongest squad in the Premier League” ahead of their Boxing Day clash.
The Gunners defeated Frank Lampard’s men in August’s FA Cup final at Wembley.
However, the two London clubs have experienced vastly contrasting fortunes ever since.
While Chelsea has spent more than 220 million in the summer transfer market and is placed just outside the Champions League after 14 games, Arteta’s men are just four points above the relegation zone having lost eight times, including four of their last five league matches.
Arteta will be without his biggest summer signing, Thomas Partey, and club captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is a doubt with a calf problem.
The Blues are missing Hakim Ziyech due to a hamstring injury and Ben Chilwell is a doubt with an ankle knock but their other four acquisitions Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Thiago Silva, Edouard Mendy are fit.
“Obviously Chelsea always has a great squad of great players,” Arteta said.
“The team that we faced a few months ago was a top one.
“At this moment, you’re probably talking about the strongest squad in the Premier League.
They’re doing a really good job, Frank [Lampard] is doing a really good job. He’s got a team full of belief and confidence, and even though they had some defeats, they got back to winning on Monday [beating West Ham 3-0] and it’s a team that is going to be fighting for the top spot in the league for sure.
“I wouldn’t like to compare [them with Arsenal]. What they did seems to be working fine and at the moment we are not there.”