Preview: Chelsea vs Arsenal
Posted by betabonus on Friday, 15 September 2017
Chelsea host Arsenal in tasty London-derby Premier League clash
Chelsea host Arsenal in a lunch-time kick off on Sunday at Stamford Bridge, with either side looking to find their feet in the nascent Premier League season.
On the back of an embarrassing opening day defeat to Burnley, Chelsea were written off by many pundits, especially given the madness in the summer transfer market. However, they have managed to turn things around, with back-to-back victories over European hopefuls Tottenham Hotspur, Everton and Leicester City.
The wins have helped them to the third position in the league table, but Antonio Conte still needs to iron a few issues out. Alvaro Morata has been directly involved in five goals so far but, but Michy Batshuayi has also been pushing for a place in the starting eleven after his goal in the 6-0 win against Qarabag Agdam on Tuesday night; however, neither striker seems as potent as the outgoing Diego Costa.
Having said that, scoring past Arsenal won’t be difficult, with the unsettled Arsenal defence shipping the most number of goals in the division only behind West Ham United so far.
The Blues have a full-strength squad, with Baba Rahman returning to training recently and new signing Daniel Drinkwater’s calf injury unlikely to keep him out of first-team contention.
Arsenal have had a mixed start to their campaign – yet again – with the wins against Leicester City and Bournemouth sandwiching away losses to Liverpool and Stoke City. Their recent dramatic rout of Koln on Europa League night, however, ought to hand them the impetus required to do produce a result against London rivals Chelsea.
The Gunners, however, seem to lack cohesion at the back, as Arsene Wenger hasn’t been able to choose a full-strength starting line-up despite being six games into the current season. His team selection has baffled the Arsenal faithful big-time this season but, against Chelsea, he will be able to field a strong side, with only Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla sure absentees; the absence of youngsters Krystian Bielik, Gedion Zelalem and Calum Chambers won’t be significant.
With Mesut Ozil, Alexandre Lacazette and Alexis Sanchez – who got off the mark on Thursday night – all playing together for only the first time since Lacazette’s summer move, the Arsenal supporters may harbour hopes of beating Chelsea for the first time since October 2011, when Robin van Persie inspired Arsenal to a 5-3 away win. Given their recent wins against Conte’s Chelsea in the FA Cup finals and Community Shield, they have a real chance of securing a hat-trick of wins against a side with whom they’ve enjoyed little success in the recent past.
On Sunday afternoon, however, the Arsenal manager ought to be wary of the fact that he’ll be going up against a manager who utilized the three-man backline much before it became a global phenomenon. Despite Arsenal’s alright results with the new-look backline, they will be cautious, accordingly.
A win for Arsenal will help them jump to the top-half of the table, while a Chelsea win will help the Blues keep up with the Manchester clubs, who face easier oppositions on match-day five.