Arsenal made things more difficult than they needed to against Queens Park Rangers on Boxing Day, and even if they came away with all three points, Arsene Wenger will be well aware of the energy expended by the players after they went down to ten men after Olivier Giroud saw red in more ways than one.
Wenger will hope to have back some of the players missing from the last game, with Olivier Giroud now ruled out of the festive fixtures after his straight red card earned him a three-match ban.
"It was a deserved red card," said Wenger after Giroud heabutted, albeit softly, QPR defender Nedum Onuoha. "He touched him and should not have done it. He should have been in control.
"Olivier Giroud knows he made a mistake and I know him well enough to think that he will not do it again."
The three-game ban will be hard to take, though, with Wenger already having more players out than in at the moment.
"You never need that," added Wenger. "In my job you sometimes have to deal with the strengths and sometimes the mistakes of people."
The likes of Jack Wilshere, Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey, Mikel Arteta, Abou Diaby, Serge Gnabry remain sidelined, but one of the players Arsenal have missed the most this season -- Laurent Koscielny -- could feature.
"Koscielny has a chance, he will have a test tomorrow," Wenger told the club's official website on Saturday. "He has a little chance."
If Koscielny makes it, it will be a huge relief for Wenger, with the central defender just giving Arsenal that extra bit of class and organisation in the back-four. If Koscielny fails to pass a fitness test, however, Nacho Monreal is again likely to fill in as centre-back, even if the Arsenal manager has the option of bringing Calum Chambers back into the starting XI.
The other player who missed the QPR match through injury -- Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain -- could also make it in time, with the doctors set to check on the groin problem the midfielder has been suffering from for a couple of weeks now.
"Chamberlain has an even smaller chance [than Koscielny of being available]," said Wenger.
Theo Walcott made the bench again against QPR, and all Arsenal fans out there will be desperate to see the speedy forward back on the pitch playing football again, because when Walcott is in the team, Arsenal seem a more potent attacking force.
Wenger said he is still cautious over Walcott's inclusion, after the England international suffered a groin injury which hampered his comeback from the long-term knee problem which he suffered last January against Tottenham.
"[Theo Walcott] was in the squad on Friday but it was difficult to bring him on when it was tight and we had to defend," added Wenger. "He's not far away."