Arsenal Faces Tough Chelsea Challenge

Last updated: August 19, 2021 by Leon Marshal

Game details

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Kick-off: Sunday, 16:30
Venue: Emirates Stadium
Coverage: Sky Sports
Home Form: LDLLL
Away Form: WWDDW
Last Meeting: Chelsea 0 – 1 Arsenal
Competition: Premier League

Arsenal lost their first game but won both league encounters with Chelsea last season and would love to get one over their neighbours in this London derby. Chelsea is the reigning European Champions and has the momentum coming into this game after winning their opening game. Will London be red or blue on Sunday?

For many Gunners supporters, it will be a case of a different season, same old Arsenal after watching their team lose 2-0 against Premier League new boys Brentford in the first match of the new season last Friday.

It’s true that Arsenal didn’t have a full-strength team, and top stars Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette suffered a mystery illness that ruled them out of the season’s curtain-opener. However, very few players in an Arsenal shirt deserve much praise for their performance in that game.

A notable exception is Emile Smith Rowe. The 21-year-old enjoyed a strong finish to last season and hit the ground running in this campaign. The youngster plays in a number 10 role and had two shots against Brentford with a passing success rate of 98%. Despite his promising talent, you do wonder if he is good enough to elevate the club. After all, looking at Arsenal’s direct rivals, Man City have Kevin De Bruyne, Man United have Bruno Fernandes, Tottenham has Heung Min Son, and Chelsea, who they play this weekend, have Ziyech, Havertz, and Mason Mount.

Mikel Arteta could change the team’s basics to a front three to suit their best players Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, and Nicholas Pepe. Bakayo Saka, the Gunners best player, started on the bench with the team lacking a coherent plan, a resolve, and a lack of threat. They need to recruit better to have a stronger squad and depth to compete not for the title but just for a European slot.

James Maddison has been the name closely linked to head to Emirates, but recent reports state that a return to the club of Real Madrid’s attacking midfielder Martin Odegaard is the likeliest deal to take place. The deal is expected to be worth an initial £30m. However, The club is in a race against time to get the deal done before the deadline for the Chelsea game. For Odegaard to be eligible to play, he needs to be registered by midday on Friday. The club is also allegedly close to signing Sheffield United goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale, who is keen on moving to the Emirates.

Ben White, a big-money signing to bolster the defence, was a great presence with the ball. However, he was bullied defensively and didn’t lead his lines well during set-pieces; better days are likely to be ahead of him when Thomas Partey returns to provide cover. Unfortunately, Thomas still has two weeks before he returns to the team. Thus, Mikel Arteta will be short of quality depth coming against Chelsea, who has huge depth.

The worry for the Emirates faithful’s is that the season has already started, and they don’t look close to a complete team to challenge. Arsenal didn’t win any pre-season games and has no momentum, even losing 2 – 1 in their friendly game against Chelsea.

Even worse are reports that manager Mikel Arteta has fallen out with many of the club’s stars. Rumours that Barcelona is interested in signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who only signed a new three-year deal last year, surfaced as the player was left out of the squad. The Spanish giants are rumoured to be offering former Liverpool man Philippe Coutinho in part exchange.

Chelsea is the best team in Europe, winning the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Super Cup. Furthermore, they reached the finals of the FA Cup, where they lost to Leicester City in a close game that could have gone either way. They are a side that looks like it is going from strength to strength and are many pundits choice to win the league this season.

Romelu Lukaku upfront is an enticing addition to a very talented squad from Inter Milan. He led them to win the Serie A trophy ending Juventus’s dominance in the league. The Belgian maestro scored twenty-four goals and was awarded the player of the season.

Chelsea will be hoping for the same impact. He makes them a serious threat on the attack as despite all their success last season, Jorginho was their top scorer with just seven goals. Lukaku is already a proven striker in the Premier League and should score twenty goals or more for the Blues, a scary proposition.

Thomas Tuchel’s team won their opening game against Crystal Palace 3 – 0 with an inspired performance. Ben Chilwell was benched, and his replacement Marcus Alonso scored the opener with a free-kick from twenty-two yards. Christian Pulisic scored the second when the Palace keeper spilt Mason Mount’s cross. A moment of the game was Trevoh Chalobah sealed the win with a smashing thunderbolt from twenty-five yards out.

Team News

Aubameyang is to be assessed whether he can play with his team desperate to have his quality back.

Arsenal didn’t win any of their pre-season games and had no momentum coming to this game.

Lukaku started training with the first team on Tuesday, and it would be interesting to see if he starts.

Jorginho was the team top scorer last season for Chelsea with seven goals.

Expected Line-Ups:

Arsenal (4-3-2-1): Leno, Chambers, White, Mari, Tierney, Lokonga, Xhaka, Smith-Rowe, Martinelli, Saka, Pepe
Subs: Runarsson, Maitland-Miles, Holding, Nketiah, Martinelli, Chambers, Lacazette, Pepe, Bellerin, Soares, Nelson, Tavares
Doubtful: Aubameyang, Lacazette
Not available:
Chelsea (3-4-2-1): Mendy, Azpiliqueta, Rudiger, Chalobah, Christensen, Alonso, Kovacic, Jorginho, Mount, Werner
Subs: Hudson-Odoi, Loftus-Cheek, Pulisic, Emerson, Kovacic, Arrizabalaga, Silva, Zouma, Chilwell, James
Injured: Ziyech
Not available: Kante

So Far This Season

. . .
Arsenal This Season Chelsea This Season
17th League Position 2nd
0 (0) Wins (away) 1 (0)
Biggest Win 3 – 0 v Palace
0 (0) Draws (away) 0 (0)
0 – 2 v Brentford Biggest Defeat
Top Goal Scorer Alonso (1)
Y0, R0 Discipline Y0, R0
1 Failures to Score 0
0% Clean Sheets 100%
0% Both Teams to Score Games 0%
0% Over 2.5 Goals 100%
100% Under 2.5 Goals 0%
  • Arsenal has played Chelsea 58 times; The Red side of London has a superior record, winning twenty-two times against the Blue, who have nineteen victories with seventeen draws between them.
  • Arsenal won both legs in this fixture last season.
  • Smith Rowe, who scored the only goal in the last league game, looked like an improved player and the player in an Arsenal shirt most likely to score.
  • Chelsea has had a successful pre-season and has the momentum coming into this game boosted by the signing of Romelu Lukaku.

Head to Head

Last 5 meetings between the two sides
Date Competition Game Result First Goal-scorer
01/08/2021 Friendly Arsenal 1 – 2 Chelsea Havertz 27’
12/05/2021 EPL Chelsea 0 – 1 Arsenal Smith Rowe 16’
26/12/2020 EPL Arsenal 3 – 1 Chelsea Lacazette 35’
01/08/2020 FA Cup Arsenal 1 – 2 Chelsea Pulisic 5’
21/01/2020 EPL Chelsea 2 – 2 Arsenal Jorginho 28’

Conclusion & Betting Tips

Arsenal needs to bounce back quickly from their opening game defeat. After Chelsea, they have an away game at West Brom before they face champions Manchester City at the Etihad just before the international break. It could be a tough ask if their stars are not available to play.

It’s unlikely that Chelsea fans will see this as an easy game. Despite Arsenal having a season to forget, they still managed a league double over their blue neighbours. However, the European champions are looking like a force to contend with and are quite rightly favourites in this clash.

We see Chelsea winning this, and we wouldn’t be surprised if Romelu Lukaku isn’t on the back pages on Monday morning. We are going for a 2-0 win for Chelsea, available at 8/1 with bet365. If Lukaku starts, the striker to score two is available at 11/2.