Best Odds: 5/2
Bookmaker: William Hill
With the two teams level on 10 points, but trailing leaders Manchester City 5 points, chances are we will see a cracking game at the Emirates. Arsenal appear to be in better form at the moment, but Chelsea players are also in good spirits after making amends for Liverpool defeat with the EFL Cup triumph over Leicester City.
Arsenal have had a somewhat slow start to the new season, which was not that surprising considering the absence of key men through injury or extended vacations after the Euro 2016 finals. As the likes of Ozil, Koscielny, Giroud and Iwobi returned into action, the Gunners seriously raised their game, winning three straight Premier League fixtures to climb to fourth in the overall standings, while the second-string side also hammered Nottingham Forest at The City Ground in the EFL Cup third round. But, with Premiership leaders Manchester City already five points behind, Arsenal will have to keep the rich vein of form if they are to mount a serious challenge for the league trophy and chances are that the Chelsea game will be a good test of their title ambitions. The hosts should be in better shape than their local rivals when they meet on Saturday afternoon due to the fact that Arsene Wenger was able to rest all his first team regulars in midweek, unlike Antonio Conte, who will have to include at least three or four footballers that played full 120 minutes against Leicester City. The problem is that the Gunners haven’t had too much success when facing Chelsea at the Emirates of late, while they lost both Premier League fixtures against the Blues last term.
Aaron Ramsey looks unlikely to return into action just yet, while Gabriel Paulista is back in contention but he is not expected to start.
Arsene Wenger confirmed that Olivier Giroud was doubtful through a toe problem, while Per Mertesacker and Danny Welbeck remain sidelined.
Even if Chelsea have suffered a dip in form after a bright start, we are convinced that they will flourish under new manager Antonio Conte, but the players obviously need some more time to adapt to his working methods. Back to back setbacks against Swansea City and Liverpool were pretty much the result of some cheap defensive mistakes, and having turned Juventus into one of Europe’s best defensive sides, the Italian tactician can be trusted to patch up the leaky back line at Stamford Bridge as well. The Blues again conceded two goals in midweek, as Leicester City were 2-0 up just after the half-hour mark, but Chelsea then showed considerable improvement to level the score, before Cesc Fabregas bagged a brace in extra time to secure his team a place in the EFL Cup fourth round. The 4-2 triumph over Leicester City was an all-round success as Antonio Conte also managed to rest his key men, who were not exactly in the best shape, although the likes of Luiz, Cahill and Azpilicueta will keep their places in the starting line-up.
An excellent performance in midweek should see Cesc Fabregas start ahead of Nemanja Matic, but John Terry is unlikely to be risked.
Kurt Zouma remains in the treatment room, whereas Diego Costa, Eden Hazard, Oscar, Willian and N’Golo Kante will be recalled.
Key Factors to Consider
- At least one team failed to score in last 8 meetings between Arsenal and Chelsea
- The Blues won both Premier League fixtures last season
- Arsenal failed to score in last three home games vs Chelsea in EPL
- The Gunners are winless in last five home matches vs Chelsea in EPL
- The Blues conceded five goals in last three outings
Arsenal have seriously raised their form of late, but their performances still leave something to be desired and the poor record in home meetings with Chelsea should not be taken for granted. Meanwhile, the Blues have problems at the back, but have been scoring goals for fun, and we believe that the two sides are pretty evenly matched at the moment.
Best Odds: 5/2
Bookmaker: William Hill