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Cole Palmer is likely to MISS Chelsea's trip to Arsenal due to illness, reveals Mauricio Pochettino – with Ben Chilwell and Malo Gusto also doubts

Chelsea’s top scorer Cole Palmer is a doubt for Tuesday’s Premier League clash at Arsenal, the first of two crucial London derbies in six days for Mikel Arteta’s title chasers.

Arsenal visit Tottenham on Sunday but first face erratic Chelsea, who are expected to be without 20-goal Palmer.

‘I don’t believe he can be involved,’ said Blues boss Mauricio Pochettino yesterday.

‘We need to assess him in the morning and then decide. Even if he will be good, maybe he is not in a condition to play. I hope he can recover as soon as possible and be involved again. With or without him, we believe we can win.’

Arsenal can extend their lead at the top if they beat Chelsea and exert pressure on Liverpool, who take on Everton tomorrow, and Manchester City, who have played a game fewer and are at Brighton on Thursday.

Cole Palmer is likely to miss Chelsea's clash with Arsenal on Tuesday evening due to illness

Cole Palmer is likely to miss Chelsea’s clash with Arsenal on Tuesday evening due to illness

Palmer has been Chelsea's talisman this season, netting 20 goals in the Premier League

Palmer has been Chelsea’s talisman this season, netting 20 goals in the Premier League

Blues defenders Ben Chilwell and Malo Gusto are also doubts for the game at the Emirates

Blues defenders Ben Chilwell and Malo Gusto are also doubts for the game at the Emirates

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‘If we can do that then the pressure will increase for sure,’ said Arteta.

Pochettino and Arteta are old pals, a relationship forged in their playing days together at Paris Saint-Germain.

‘He’s always someone I look to,’ said Arteta. ‘As a role model, I could not have anybody better.’

Pochettino’s side could also be without Ben Chilwell and Malo Gusto who are doubts for the game. 

Chelsea, meanwhile, vowed to support criminal action against those who targeted Nicolas Jackson with online racist abuse after Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final defeat by Manchester City.

He also defended the player after his tough first season at Stamford Bridge. 

‘First season is always difficult but more when you are a striker and you have to perform and score goals. Everyone expects with every single touch to score,’ Pochettino added. ‘He’s our main striker, the only striker we have fit.

Mauricio Pochettino insisted Chelsea could still win against Arsenal despite Palmer's absence

Mauricio Pochettino insisted Chelsea could still win against Arsenal despite Palmer’s absence 

Pochettino also defended the contributions of striker Nicolas Jackson after he missed multiple opportunities against Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final on Saturday at Wembley

Pochettino also defended the contributions of striker Nicolas Jackson after he missed multiple opportunities against Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final on Saturday at Wembley

‘He’s doing fantastic. He’s doing an amazing job for the team; running, scoring goals, giving assists. His first season, a young guy, came in from Spain, even with not too much experience there.

‘If we want the player to match the iconic players here, if we compare him with Drogba, obviously he’s going to lose.

‘But he’s going to have all my support. Even if he doesn’t score, the way that he’s fighting for the club and his team-mates, he’s producing chances. He needs time to improve. He’ll be better next season for sure, no doubt about that.’

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