However, Blues boss Antonio Conte has hinted he will include Cesc Fabregas in his plans - and therefore a chance for the midfielder to capitalise on the the two goals he scored against Leicester midweek.
Conte responded to questions over whether there is still a big question mark over a porous defence that conceded two - even though they beat the Foxes in extra time, as well as a 2-1 home defeat to Liverpool last Friday.
The Italian agreed everything was a work in progress - but distanced himself from the woes of last season.
"When we conceded goals, all the team conceded (not just defence). We all need to work together to improve. Last season Chelsea conceded 55 goals - and we must work a lot," he added.
"John didn't recover from his injury - he's working, but he won't play against Arsenal," the manager said.
"For Cesc it's a special game, and he's playing very well for us. He's focused and concentrated, and he played well in Cup.
"It's a possibility he can play.
"Tomorrow we face a good team. Arsenal have young players with good technique and are a club with good organisation.
"We are working to try and reach a level that's always high. This game can prove a lot."
Derby encounters between the two have been feisty affairs in the past and there was no love lost between former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho and his counterpart at The Emirates.
Conte and Arsene Wenger have no previous, and the Italian played down fears tempers will boil over, with the likes of Diego Costa casting the bait.
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"These games are very tough and it's not necessary to push any player. These big games bring enough emotion, and the players are ready to deal with it."