Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel implored the Blue to continue fighting for “special things” despite their league position ahead of a home clash with Arsenal on Wednesday.

The Premier League title race has turned into a two-team showdown, thanks to the brilliance of Manchester City and Liverpool, with Chelsea back in third.

The Blues made it to the FA Cup final on Sunday after falling out of the Champions League in midweek, and sit comfortably in third in the league – but Tuchel wants more.

“It’s a big challenge physically but mentally to dive into the main competition that is Premier League. It seems like things are pretty safe, but things can change so, so quickly,” he said.

“We want to demand it from the team, and it is challenging for everybody, but at the same time, it’s what you sign up for when you sign up for Chelsea.

“We demand special things because we want to be a special group, we have the trust in the players that they can compete. It’s on us to push the standards and to push the level.”

Arsenal surged up the league in 2022, but three straight defeats have left them three points behind fourth-placed Tottenham, albeit with a game in hand.

Gunners manager Mikel Arteta appreciates his side must bounce back.

“This club it’s only about winning, and they were three different games, but with the same outcome,” he said.

“We are extremely unsatisfied with that, we know that, we’re hurting, but at the same time we know how we lost.

“Everything is still to play for, our ambition is still intact, our desire is still intact. We know the challenge ahead and we’re going to go for it.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Chelsea – Mason Mount

If Mason Mount plays, it will be his 100th Premier League appearance for Chelsea. With 23 goals and 18 assists, he’s been involved in more goals than any other English player in their first 100 Premier League games for the Blues (41).

Arsenal – Alexandre Lacazette

Alexandre Lacazette may come back into contention and, despite talk of a move away, could be key. However, he hasn’t scored from open play in the league since December against Southampton.

KEY OPTA FACTS

– Arsenal are unbeaten in their last 11 midweek (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday) league meetings with Chelsea (W5 D6), since a 2-1 home loss in December 1974.

– Chelsea have lost their last two home games in all competitions (1-4 v Brentford, 1-3 v Real Madrid), as many as they had in their previous 27 at Stamford Bridge (W17 D8). The Blues haven’t lost three consecutive home games since November 1993, the third game of which was a 2-0 loss to Arsenal.

– Chelsea lost 4-1 against Brentford in the Premier League last time out at Stamford Bridge – they’ve not lost consecutive home London derbies since March/October 1999, with the second game being a 3-2 loss to Arsenal thanks to Kanu’s late hat-trick.

– Arsenal have lost their last two away league London derbies, going down 2-0 at Brentford and 3-0 at Crystal Palace. They last lost three in a row in April 2017, while they’ve never lost three in a row without scoring a single goal before.

– Arsenal have lost each of their last three Premier League games, their third run of three straight league defeats in their three seasons under Arteta. The Gunners haven’t lost four consecutive league games since March 1995 under Stewart Houston.