Saturday 24th September. 5:30PM. BT Sport 1
The headline event in a fascinating weekend of Premier League football comes from the Emirates as the Saturday evening fixture serves up a battle between London’s two biggest clubs.
Arsenal and Chelsea have provided several memorable contests over the past decade and this early season showdown has all the ingredients to be yet another thriller. But who will be celebrating come full-time? Here’s all you need to know.
Gunners Firing On All Cylinders
It has already been a landmark week at the Emirates as manager Arsene Wenger celebrated 20 years in charge of the club on Thursday, and he’ll be desperate to cap it off with a win – not least because it was Chelsea who ruined his 1,000th game party in 2014 with that unforgettable 6-0 drubbing at Stamford Bridge.
The Gunners are in a far better place than they were then, though, and can afford to be quietly confident. After a difficult start, Arsenal have bounced back with three straight league wins while they also secured a fantastic Champions League draw away at PSG.
Even with the long list of injuries, which includes Aaron Rasmey, Oliver Giroud, and Per Mertesacker, the hosts boast plenty of talent. If Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil can pull the strings, they should be in for a productive evening. Meanwhile, Alexis Sanchez’s return to scoring ways is another source of optimism.
Arsenal will be under no illusions, and will need to be at their best. But if they do, it could bring the end of their Premier League voodoo against the Blues.
Can Conte Overcome Recent Blues?
It’s been a topsy-turvy start to life at Stamford Bridge for Antonio Conte. At times, his Chelsea side have looked extremely efficient while Eden Hazard and Diego Costa have seemed to be back to their best. Nevertheless, there have been a few questions asked over the past two or three weeks, and the trip to the Emirates will be a real test of character.
The main source of doubt and concern has been that this doesn’t feel like a Conte side just yet. The re-singing of David Luiz still looks a strange choice and, with skipper John Terry injured, defensive issues will be a continued worry.
Chelsea do boast a fantastic record against the Gunners in recent years, though, winning both of last season’s matches without conceding. In fact, they’ve not lost a league meeting since October 2011. If Costa and Hazard are on form, they’ll fancy extending that run. Meanwhile, former Gunner Cesc Fabregas will be in buoyant mood following his midweek double in the League Cup too.
It’ll be fascinating to see which Chelsea turns up. Either way, prepare yourselves for a classic.
Arsenal v Chelsea Betting
At home, Arsenal are the pre-game favourites at 7/5 with Bet365. Chelsea won’t be ruled out at 21/10, though, while the draw is available at 5/2.
Goals have been a common feature when these sides have played this term. Six of Chelsea’s matches have ended in BTTS winners while five of Arsenal’s have done the same. Given the defensive issues in both camps, along with the wealth of attacking talent, the trend should continue here.
On their day, either team is capable of scoring three. Although we think both teams will score, with at least one hitting two, we think the safer bet is to simply back the match goals.
Arsenal have struggled against Chelsea, but we think Wenger will enjoy his landmark weekend with a positive result against the Blues. And if the Gunners are to get a positive result, Sanchez will be their most likely source of goals.
The Chilean has scored three in his last two. Back him to continue that purple patch by getting his name on the scoresheet once more.