Saturday, March 23, 2019

Prediction: Arsenal vs Chelsea

Verdict: Draw

Best Odds: 5/2

Bookmaker: Bet365

Arsenal host London rivals Chelsea at the Emirates on Saturday with the hosts having won just one of the last seven League meetings in north London.

Arsenal

Starting with Saturday’s hosts, coming off the back of a 1-0 loss away at West Ham last weekend, Unai Emery will certainly know that he is out of the honeymoon period in North London. Now on a run of form that has seen them record just one Premier League win in their last four attempts, the Gunners now find themselves sat level on points with a resurgent Manchester United. Now looking for just their second top-flight win of the New Year, it will be Arsenal’s defensive issues giving the former PSG boss the biggest headache. The hosts have not recorded a clean sheet in their last six matches across all competitions. While their form at the back may still leave a lot to the imagination, fans around the Emirates will be boosted by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s goalscoring exploits. The Reds’ leading marksman has been directly involved in 20 goals in 18 Premier League home games for Arsenal, scoring 15 and setting up five.

Team News

Hector Bellerin and Nacho Monreal could return to Arsenal’s starting line-up, having been named on the bench last weekend after recovering from injuries.

Mesut Ozil will hope for a recall after being left out at West Ham, but Henrikh Mkhitaryan remains absent, though he is nearing a return from a foot problem.

Chelsea

As for the visitors, after picking up a 2-1 win over Newcastle last weekend and appearing to bounce back from their EFL Cup defeat at Wembley 10 days ago, Maurizio Sarri has his sights firmly set on securing a return to the Champions League. Entering Saturday’s derby with a six-point buffer over Arsenal, another victory for the Blues on Saturday would see them briefly leapfrog Tottenham in the table. However, while Arsenal might have a striker in red hot form, the same can not be said for Chelsea. In desperate need of a reliable attacking option and Alvaro Morata thought to be on his way out of Stamford Bridge, they have not scored more than twice in any of their last 11 top-flight matches. Although they might not be clicking in the final third, the visitors will be boosted by their recent record against the Gunners. The Blues can become the first visiting team to win six competitive fixtures at the Emirates.

Team News

Chelsea may again deploy top scorer Eden Hazard as a false nine.

Alvaro Morata is available but is unlikely to start as he continues to be linked with a move away from the club.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Chelsea’s only defeat in their past 14 league games against Arsenal was a 3-0 loss at the Emirates Stadium in September 2016 (W8, D5).
  • The Blues can become the first visiting team to win six competitive fixtures at the Emirates. They are currently level with Manchester United on five victories.
  • Four of the last six meetings between the two sides have ended in a draw.
  • Arsenal have lost four of their last eight games in all competitions, having been unbeaten in their previous 22 matches.
  • The Gunners are undefeated in their last 10 Premier League home games (W8, D2), with their last loss coming against Manchester City on the opening weekend of the season.

Conclusion

On paper, both Emery and Sarri should see this as an opportunity to pick up three points. While Arsenal do tend to save their best performances for the Emirates, Chelsea do hold an impressive Premier League record against the Gunners. However, with four of their last six meetings across all competitions ending in a deadlock, we’re backing this weekend’s London derby to end with both sides settling for a point.

Verdict: Draw

Best Odds: 5/2

Bookmaker: Bet365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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