Frank Lampard doesn’t know yet if Ben Chilwell or Reece James will be able to feature in our two games after Christmas, but one man who certainly won’t be involved at Arsenal is Hakim Ziyech.
The boss addressed the media at Cobham via videolink this afternoon with our trip to the Emirates on the horizon and the holiday season well underway.
Lampard was insistent on not taking an out-of-form Arsenal lightly when we meet on Boxing Day, and he also discussed the current availability of three of his key players, starting with the full-backs Ben Chilwell and Reece James who have suffered knocks in the past week…
‘They are both doubtful,’ reported Lampard.
‘I can’t give you an answer at the moment. I’m not sure if they will be fit for either game.
'Hakim Ziyech won’t be fit for Arsenal.’
Lampard spoke further about Ziyech’s injury problems since joining
‘He had an injury at the start of the season and he’s just got another muscle injury. You have to wait for it to recover.
‘It’s not a long-term concern, we hope to have him back within the next week or so, and hopefully offering what he was before.’
Lampard was asked if Arsenal are in a relegation battle
‘I don’t want to talk about what their battle is. They are a good team with a good manager. They have had some tough results recently. The general wave for every team in the Premier League this season has been more inconsistent than usual.
‘It’s not my concern exactly where they are at. My concern is the team at face value in terms of quality, and they are a high-quality team.
‘When you play a derby form does go out the window,’ he added.
‘Sometimes the idea of playing a derby is the spur the team needs to try and get a result. We have to expect the best Arsenal which is a really good footballing team with really good players, well coached with rotations in their team and threats in attacking areas.
‘That’s what I expect. We have to prepare for it.’