Both Chelsea and Arsenal secured impressive wins in midweek in the Champions League ahead of their London derby on Sunday. Chelsea beat Sporting Lisbon in a tough away fixture by a solitary goal while the Gunners turned on the style in a whirlwind first half against Galatasaray, in which they scored three unanswered goals before going on to win 4-1 having been reduced to ten men after Wojciech Szczesny was sent off with half an hour left to play.
Chelsea are 6 points clear of 4th placed Arsenal at the top of the table and have won 5 of their 6 games in the Premier League so far with the wins being of a margin of at least 2 goals. Arsenal meanwhile, have started off the campaign with 2 wins and 4 draws. Despite the fact that the two sides are facing off at a relatively fledgling stage of the season, a Chelsea win would end any title ambitions that Arsenal fans must be harbouring.
Chelsea: Didier Drogba has failed to recover from his ankle injury and will be missing the match against a side he tormented at will in his previous spell with Chelsea. Midfielder Ramires will also sit out of the game as he recovers from his groin injury that has forced him to sit out for the past three weeks. Diego Costa is expected to start the match with Jose Mourinho confirming that the 4 day rest between the two matches would prove to be enough for the Brazilian-born Spaniard to recover.
Arsenal: Nacho Monreal has returned to full training after a back injury and could be in line to make the bench on Sunday. Theo Walcott and Serge Gnabry will be returning to full training only from next week meaning they will miss out on the trip to Stamford Bridge. More importantly for Arsenal, Jack Wilshere who came on for the final 13 minutes on Wednesday is expected to bolster the midfield against Chelsea and that could prove to be vital if Arsenal get anything out of the fixture in which they were hammered 6-0 last season.
- In the previous 5 seasons, Arsenal have lost 16 out of the 20 away meetings with the eventual top 5 teams, winning just once.
- In 11 meetings with Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea, Arsene Wenger is yet to register a win.
- Arsenal have conceded at least 2 goals in their last 5 matches at Stamford Bridge in all competitions.
- Chelsea have scored a league highest 19 goals so far, seven more than any other team.
- Chelsea have won 25 of their last 30 matches at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League.
- Chelsea have kept 9 clean sheets in their last 11 home games in the Premier League.
Last Five Encounters
Sat 22 Mar, 2014 Chelsea 6 – 0 Arsenal Premier League
Mon 23 Dec, 2013 Arsenal 0 – 0 Chelsea Premier League
Tue 29 Oct, 2013 Arsenal 0 – 2 Chelsea Capital One Cup
Sun 20 Jan, 2013 Chelsea 2 – 1 Arsenal Premier League
Sat 29 Sep, 2012 Arsenal 1 – 2 Chelsea Premier League
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Courtois, Azpilicueta, Terry, Cahill, Ivanovic; Matic, Mikel, Fabregas; Hazard, Schurrle; Costa.
Out: Ramires, Drogba
Arsenal (4-1-4-1): Szczesny; Chambers, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs; Flamini; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Wilshere, Ozil, Sanchez; Welbeck
Out: Gnabry, Giroud, Walcott, Debuchy, Ramsey, Arteta, Sanogo
Cesc Fabregas has made an explosive return to the Premier League, playing from a much deeper position than the one in which he played during his time at North London. He will get a mixed reaction by the away crowd but what he does on the pitch won’t please any of them. He has averaged almost 75 passes per game and has brought a new style of midfield domination at Chelsea that has never seen before at Stamford Bridge.
The partnership between the Spanish duo of Costa and Fabregas has hit the ground running this season and another assist for the former Gunners midfielder won’t be a risky bet to make at at Tailorbet considering the midfielder has 7 assists in his last 8 games for Chelsea.
The German playmaker will have a point to prove in Arsenal’s toughest fixture yet and even though he put in a commanding display at Villa Park in a 3-0 win, he is yet to silence the critics who have questioned his ability to perform at the levels, which made Wenger splash out a club record fee of £42.5 million last summer.
He hasn’t been helped by his manager playing him out wide instead of his favoured position ‘in the hole’ in recent weeks, but the 25-year-old has a chance to be a big game player and have an influence with his clever range of passing and through balls over the top for the runs of Sanchez and Welbeck in behind the Chelsea defence.
Arsene Wenger somehow continues to adopt a pragmatic approach when Arsenal visit the big teams in the league and even in the Champions League. The Gunners were battered when they played at the Westfalenstadion earlier this season as Wenger didn’t set up his team to cancel out Dortmund, when he should have instead opted for more defensive tactics.
Oxlade-Chamberlain has come out and claimed that his side will seek to control the game, and this is what has let Arsenal down time and time again. Chelsea’s irresistible duo of Fabregas and Costa along with the silky skills of Hazard will wreck havoc in the Gunners backline, and it will take a very defiant performance from Arsenal to even get a point of out this game.