–The Blues line-up Drogba, Solanke against Gunners
Chelsea will be without star striker Diego Costa for today’s trip to Arsenal after he failed to recover in time from a hamstring injury.
Blues manager Jose Mourinho said on Friday that he would make a late decision on Costa’s fitness, but his leading scorer is not in a condition to play at the Emirates Stadium.
Costa suffered the latest in a string of hamstring injuries against Stoke City three weeks ago but Chelsea are wary of risking him while they hold a comfortable lead in the Barclays Premier League.
The Spain striker is unlikely to even make the bench for Sunday’s top-of-the-table clash and he could also miss the potential title clincher at Leicester City on Wednesday night.
Mourinho confessed on Friday that Loic Remy was not ready to return from an injury suffered in training two weeks ago, leaving Didier Drogba as the only senior striker available to him.
The Chelsea manager had hoped that Costa would be able to train with the rest of the squad this week but his participation has been limited by his injury.
Chelsea’s 17-year-old forward Dominic Solanke – who has played just 17 minutes for the first team – will deputise on the bench.
The young hitman has scored 35 goals at youth level this season but was left out of the Under 21 side’s 3-0 win over Everton on Thursday.
‘Didier for sure is fine, Remy is out for sure and with Diego we will make a decision tomorrow,’ Mourinho said on Friday.
‘Diego is a very important player for us but the reality is we are coping with the difficulty of every match without him.
‘The team is adapting to play in a different way. In the last period we are more strategic and less artistic but we are getting results.’