This Sunday, Chelsea host Arsenal in what is normally a hotly contested clash between two of the most popular football clubs in the capital.
The Champions have finally clicked into gear, despite a strange transfer window culminating into a disappointing opening day result, largely overshadowed by events outside the realms of normalcy. Antonio Conte has acted swiftly in the second half of the Summer, to bolster his squad, particularly in the midfield bringing in the likes of Bakayoko and Drinkwater which has left the Blues with a squad nearly as strong as the one that won the league four months ago.
They are on a four game winning run in all competitions at the moment, the latest of which – their most emphatic, coming in the Champions League in midweek. Having already beat a fellow top six rival away from home, the Blues should not be short of confidence, if anything, going into the massive clash on Sunday as firm favourites.
Arsenal have had a predictably dispiriting beginning to their Premier League campaign – losing 4-0 to Liverpool at Anfield, being the low point so far. The Gunners have failed to address key issues in midfield in the Summer yet again and could be paying the price in the coming weeks – with fixtures coming thick and fast in the domestic competitions.
Not to mention, their participation in the Europa League and the prospect of playing Thursday nights, as opposed to Tuesday/Wednesday nights, followed by a Premier League fixture on Sundays, could prove to be a tough nut to crack, if they were to mount a strong title challenge in 2017/18. Boss Arsene Wenger, will undoubtedly be boosted by the return of talismanic Alexis Sanchez to the first team fold but Arsenal will need more than their best player to turn up in a stadium they last won in 2011.
Chelsea are without midfielder Danny Drinkwater (calf) and will assess if Gary Cahill starts on Sunday after his return from suspension.
Likewise, Arsenal will give late fitness tests to midfielders Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey, but otherwise have a clean bill of health
Chelsea have won 16 of their last 18 home matches (Premier League).
If Arsenal concede they will equal their longest run of away matches without a clean sheet against a single opponent in the PL (13 v Liverpool between 1999 and 2012).
Chelsea have been winning at both half time and full time in 6 of their last 8 home matches against Arsenal in all competitions.
Alvaro Morata – Chelsea
It has got to be Morata, hasn’t it? The Spanish center-forward who joined Chelsea in the final weeks of the transfer window, has made a great start to life in England and London, scoring and assisting a combined 5 goals in 3 starts, averaging a goal in every 3.5 shots.
In addition to being a good finisher in and around the box with his feet, the 24-year old carries an aerial threat befitting a Chelsea number 9, and will prove crucial to the Blues notching up another important win against arguably, their biggest rivals.
Alexis Sanchez – Arsenal
Sanchez is one of the best players in the league and the fact that Arsenal held on to him in a Summer which he looked certain to part ways, is already a positive step towards cracking back into the top four, for Arsenal and Arsene Wenger.
The Chilean has scored at Stamford Bridge in the past and is usually the last to give in and his form in these big games, particularly away from home, will be vital to Arsenal picking up enough points against the top six to keep them alive in the fight for bigger trophies.
Chelsea to continue marching on with a narrow win.
Chelsea 2-1 Arsenal