Arsenal will be looking to take advantage of Chelsea’s dreadful start to the Premier League on Saturday afternoon when they travel to Stamford Bridge.
Kick Off: 15:00 Saturday 12th September (BST)
Venue: Emirates Stadium
Last Season: Chelsea 2-0 Arsenal
Arsenal: Perhaps the only positive from Wednesday nights game, no new injuries were suffered. Jack Wilshere, Danny Welbeck and Tomas Rosicky remain long term absentees. Olivier Giroud is available as his ban will only apply for European games.
Chelsea: Pedro and Willian will definitely miss the game according to Jose Mourinho. Apart from that Chelsea seem to have a full strength squad to choose from.
I think Arsenal need to avoid defeat in Saturday’s game to show they are serious about their title challenge. Mourinho will be desperate to win and you can bet he has done hours of work to set up his team to beat the Gunners. Wenger needs to make sure he has also done enough of his homework to finally beat Mourinho in the Premier League.
Despite the loss in midweek, Arsenal are on some decent form in the league and looked very good last week at Stoke. They have to put the Zagreb game to the back of their mind and be at the top of their games to win, I hope the likes of Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Aaron Ramsey discover their best form for this one. I expect six changes from the Champions League game.
I’m sure Wenger will be happy to see Pedro and Willian ruled out, as their threat on the break is particularly high and that is an area Arsenal have struggled to defend against in the past.
I can’t stress how big a result a win would be for the Gunners, but I expect Wenger would be happy to take a point and keep Chelsea six points behind us.
One to watch: Theo Walcott
It is essential that Walcott has a good game and is more efficient than he is normally. He will struggle with Chelsea’s deep defensively line and especially if Zouma and Matic play in midfield, he is unlikely to find much room to work with in the box. If he starts, this game may well be the acid test at to whether he can really be a striker in the long run.
Arsenal XI (4-2-3-1): Cech; Bellerin, Gabriel, Koscielny, Monreal; Coquelin, Cazorla; Ramsey, Ozil, Alexis; Walcott
Chelsea have already lost three games this season, surely it is inconceivable that they will lose again on Saturday?
Mourinho is likely to make many changes, with Willian and Pedro out. Zouma is likely to move into midfield whilst Branislav Ivanovic is more than likely to be dropped, with Azpilicueta moving to right back and new signing Rahman Baba at left back.
With this very defensive orientated line up, we can expect a tight game, especially with Arsenal likely to be nervous to commit too many forward after being dismantled several times at the Bridge in past season.
One to watch: Cesc Fabregas
The former Arsenal man will more than likely play in the number 10 role and will want to impress. He hasn’t been at his best this season so far, but was one of the best players in Chelsea win in midweek. Coquelin will have to be at his best to restrict Fabregas’ effectiveness.
Chelsea XI (4-2-3-1): Begovic; Azpilicueta, Terry, Cahill, Baba; Zouma, Matic; Ramires, Fabregas, Hazard; Costa
Prediction: Chelsea 1-1 Arsenal
I am expecting a tight game, with both sides likely to approach the game nervously and with more defensive orientated line ups.