Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Prediction: Arsenal vs Chelsea

Verdict: Draw

Best Odds: 14/5

Bookmaker: Bet365

Two sides desperately looking for three points and to end the decade with London bragging rights, Arsenal will welcome Chelsea to the Emirates on Sunday afternoon.

Arsenal

Starting with the hosts, while Arsenal may have made a string of improvements in Mikel Arteta’s welcoming party on Boxing Day, the Gunners could only muster a 1-1 draw at Bournemouth and are still in the midst of a real crisis. With Pep Guardiola’s former assistant knowing he has quite the rebuilding process on his hands, the former champions have failed to win any of their last four outings and have recorded just a single win in any of their last 14 matches across all competitions, a run that stems back to the 24th of October. Opening the weekend fixtures sat down in 11th and enduring their worst run of form since the 1970’s, there is no doubt that fans around the Emirates will be most concerned by their continued issues in North London. Hit with a 3-0 hammering against Manchester City in their last appearance on home soil, the Gunners have now lost each of the last three matches in front of their own fans and have failed to win any of their last six matches in the capital.

Team News

Arsenal defender Calum Chambers has returned to the squad after serving a suspension on Boxing Day.

Gabriel Martinelli and Hector Bellerin will be assessed, while Rob Holding and Dani Ceballos are likely absentees.

Chelsea

As for the visitors, while Chelsea may have taken the Premier League by storm after starting the season so brightly, Frank Lampard’s youthful outfit have since come crashing back down to earth. Hit with yet another shock defeat at Stamford Bridge on Boxing Day and watching Southampton snatch a deserved 2-0 victory, the former England midfielder finds his side in the midst of their own crisis. With their top-four buffer now cut to just three points, the Blues have lost three of their last four Premier League appearances and it appears their 2-0 win over Tottenham last weekend may have been just a minor bounce. Much like Saturday’s hosts, Chelsea are also dealing with some rather telling issues at the back. With Southampton grabbing a brace at Stamford Bridge on Thursday, Lampard’s kids have recorded just a single clean sheet in any of their last seven appearances. However, there is no doubt that fans in West London will be boosted by their most recent meeting against Sunday’s hosts. When the two sides faced off in the Europa League final back in May, the Blues clinched a famous 4-1 win.

Team News

Chelsea are expected to recall Mateo Kovacic after he was banned on Boxing Day, with Mason Mount and Christian Pulisic also poised to return.

Reece James and Marcos Alonso missed the defeat by Southampton, with the latter more likely to be fit to play.

Key Factors to Consider

  • When the two sides faced off in the Europa League final back in May, Chelsea clinched a 4-1 victory.
  • Arsenal have won just one of their last 14 matches across all competitions.
  • The Gunners have also lost their last three straight matches on home soil.
  • Chelsea have lost three of their last four Premier League matchups.
  • Three of the last four meetings between Chelsea and Arsenal have seen over 2.5 goals at full-time.

Conclusion

On paper, both sides should see Sunday’s matchup as a real opportunity to bounce back and end their decade on a high. While Chelsea might open this weekend’s derby as a favorite, Arsenal did make a string of improvements on the South Coast, even if they could only manage a point. However, in a battle between two sides who are showing some real signs of a struggle over the festive period, we’re backing Arteta and Lampard to settle for an equal share of the points at the Emirates.

Verdict: Draw

Best Odds: 14/5

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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