Arsenal nervous as they face a revitalised Chelsea

Last updated: September 14, 2017 by Leon Marshal

Game details

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Kick-off: Sunday, 13:30pm
Venue: Stamford Bridge
Coverage: Sky Sports
Home Team Form: LWWW
Away Team Form: WLLW
Last Meeting: Arsenal 1 – 1 Chelsea
Competition: Premier League

Arsène Wenger must hate Stamford Bridge. Only being able to command a victory twice in the past ten visits (his last win was a 3-5 thriller back in 2011), scaling the fortress has been no easy feat. The problem lies in Arsenal’s style of play. Wanting to play a strong free-flowing game, this approach can easily be frustrated by the more cynical Chelsea. It works against 19th ranked Bournemouth, who were unbelievably sloppy last weekend, but Chelsea will hardly make the same mistakes. Instead, if Arsenal try and press hard against Chelsea, they will be punished by the superior side.

With Bakayoko finally flourishing in the middle, Hazard back to terrorise defenders, and Zappacosta astounding upon his debut against (an admittedly woeful) Qarabag on Tuesday, Chelsea have regained the form that won them the season last year. The challenge they face in this league is competing with City and United – also much improved by their marquee signings. Arsenal, after that disastrous game against Liverpool two weeks ago, feel completely out of it; instead repeatedly teetering on the edge of nothing less than an existential crisis.

Arsene Wenger, like the leader of a semi-authoritarian state, has managed the club for so long that they basically find it impossible to conceive of anybody else. If not Wenger, then who? With the critics circling around him, he ploughs on without showing much concern for anything other than his own philosophy. While he always manages to bounce back a little bit, Arsenal’s Premier League form has been worse than ever and may further degrade. Will he change up his tactics against Chelsea? Probably not, meaning a simple win for the home club.

Salvation may come in the form of Lacazette (if Wenger plays him!), who has already scored two goals in the Premier League, the super-speedy play of Sead Kolašinac, and Danny Welbeck’s bundling poaching ability. But one suspects Chelsea won’t be concerned, and put their catenaccio play to full use. Kante will be ready to pinch the ball off Arsenal’s show-boaters, Bakayoko can bully in the midfield, and Hazard, Pedro and Willian can get the ball into Morata, who has already proved himself as a more than capable finisher. Chelsea’s problem now is, with so many quality players, who exactly will they play?

Team News

Roy Keane has added his inimitable wit towards the Costa crisis: “They’re better off without him. I think the guy’s obviously in big trouble. I know he done well for them but he looks to me a bit of a balloon.”

Hazard has hailed the latest Chelsea signings, stating that: “All of Chelsea’s signings are internationals. You need quality when you play for this club because we want to win a lot of things.The more players we have the better it is for us. The bench was strong, it was good against Leicester.”

Wenger wants Wilshere back in the squad, but isn’t sure the player is ready yet, saying that: “He needs this little burst to get away from people because he can turn the game forward. If you can turn the game forward you need your legs to get you out of the pressure. That will come back for him, I believe. It’s coming back in training.”

Wenger has told his fans that contract talks with Mesut Özil have not broken down, and they shall have a new deal ironed out soon.

Expected Line-Ups:

Chelsea (3-4-3): Courtois; Azpilicueta, Cahill, Luiz; Alonso, Bakayoko, Kante, Zappacosta; Hazard, Morata, Willian
Subs: Caballero, Moses, Rüdiger, Fabregas, Batshauyi, Pedro, Kenedy
Doubtful: Drinkwater
Not available:
Arsenal (4-3-3): Cech; Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Bellerin; Xhaka, Kolasinac, Ozil; Lacazette, Welbeck
Subs: Mertesacker, Sanchez, Giroud, Ospina, Walcott, Iwobi, Wilshere
Injured: Coquelin, Cazorla
Not available:

So Far This Season

. . .
Chelsea So Far This Season Arsenal So Far This Season
3rd League Position 11th
3 (2) Wins (away) 2 (0)
2-0 vs. Everton Biggest Win 3-0 vs. Bournemouth
0 (0) Draws (away) 0 (0)
2-3 vs Burnley Biggest Defeat 4-0 vs. Liverpool
Morata (3) Top Goal Scorer Welbeck (3)
Y8, R2 Discipline Y4, R0
0 Failures to Score 2
1 Clean Sheets 1
75% Both Teams to Score Games 25%
75% Over 2.5 Goals 75%
25% Under 2.5 Goals 25%
  • Morata has scored three goals for Chelsea so far, and they have all been headers. He has joked that he better start scoring with the rest of his body
  • Arsenal have yet to win away from home, which is likely to make Wenger even more nervous.
  • Chelsea have scored in every game they have played so far this season. There’s no doubt here that they won’t score at home.
  • Neither team have had a draw just yet. I wouldn’t bet on it happening here.

Head to Head

Last Five Competitive Meetings Between The Sides
Date Game Result Round First Goal-scorer
06/08/2017 Arsenal 1 – 1 Chelsea (Pens: 4-1) Community Shield Moses 46′
27/05/2017 Arsenal 2 – 1 Chelsea FA Cup Final Sánchez 5′
04/02/2017 Chelsea 3 – 1 Arsenal Premier League Alonso 13′
24/09/2016 Arsenal 3 – 0 Chelsea Premier League Sánchez 11′
24/01/2016 Arsenal 0 – 1 Chelsea Premier League Costa 23′

Conclusion & Betting Tips

Chelsea are the favourites here, but still have extremely good odds of 3/4 for the win at William Hill. Conversely, Arsenal are ranked at 7/2, which makes going against the grain a great outright bet. This means that this game has some brilliant value no matter which way you look at it. My safe yet still risky pick, given Arsenal’s form as a team but Lacazette and Welbeck’s individual form, would be for Chelsea to win and both teams to score at 11/5. Nevertheless, my ultimate bet is 3-1 Chelsea @ 12/1.