Oh dear! Haven’t we seen this before? Everyone dropped points, we had an easy game at home to struggling Watford and we ended up losing 1-2. Familiar failings you will say, and to make matters worse, we head to Stamford Bridge lunch time on Saturday to play league leaders Chelsea.
- Chelsea’s 3-0 defeat to Arsenal in September was their heaviest against them since April 1997 (also 3-0). They were previously unbeaten in nine Premier League games against Arsenal (W6 D3).
- Arsenal have not done the double over Chelsea in the same season since 2003/04 – the season in which they last won the Premier League.
- The last Chelsea manager to fail to win either of his first two league games against the Gunners was Jose Mourinho in 2004/05, while the last Chelsea boss to lose both was Glenn Hoddle in 1993/94.
- Arsene Wenger has lost his last four league games at Stamford Bridge. The only away ground where he’s lost more in succession is Old Trafford (2009-2013).
- The 3-0 loss to Arsenal in September was Antonio Conte’s heaviest league defeat since October 2010 when he was manager of Siena (0-3 vs Empoli).
- Arsenal scored more goals in the first half against Chelsea in their last Premier League meeting than they had in their previous nine clashes with the Blues.
- The Gunners have had three players sent off in their last three Premier League games at Stamford Bridge (Gabriel, Santi Cazorla and Kieran Gibbs).
- Theo Walcott was the last Arsenal player to score at Stamford Bridge, in January 2013 in a 2-1 loss. He also scored in Arsenal’s last Premier League win there, 5-3 in October 2011.
- Diego Costa has scored in two of his four league games against Arsenal and has been booked in the other two.
- The Gunners have won three of their four Premier League London derbies this season (W3 D1 L0) – this after winning just one of their eight in 2015-16 (W1 D4 L3). They are the only team still unbeaten in London derbies this season.
- Chelsea have won eight successive Premier League home games – their best run in the competition since a sequence of 10 wins that ended in January 2015. The aggregate score in these eight games is 24-3 in Chelsea’s favour.
- Arsenal have lost as many of their last eight Premier League games as they did in their previous 30 in the competition (3).
Stats Courtesy of Statszone
Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain and Olivier Giroud face late fitness tests but are expected to be available for selection. Santi Cazorla is a long term absentee. Aaron Ramsey injured his calf in midweek and will be out for 3 weeks. Granit Xhaka also miss out as he continues to serve his suspension.
Chelsea on their part have a fully fit squad to pick from. Lucky Bastards.
POSSIBLE LINE UPs
Wenger will have to make changes to the starting XI especially in attack. We were lethargic with Giroud in front against Watford. We attack with less pace and became predictable.
I expect Wenger to restore Alexis Sanchez as Centre Forward with Theo Walcott and Alex Iwobi or Danny Welbeck in support. Hector Bellerin should take his place back from the ineffective Gabriel Paulista; playing alongside ‘Kostafi’ and Nacho Monreal in defence. Francis Coquelin and Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain will play in central midfield behind playmaker Mesut Ozil. Petr Cech in goal.
Chelsea have a stable XI and are 9 points above as league leaders. Thibaut Courtois as goalkeeper, Cesar Azpilicueta, Gary Cahill and David Luiz as the 3 centre backs, Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso as wingbacks, Nemanja Matic and N’golo Kante in central midfield; Eden Hazard and Willian Borges/Pedro Rodriguez will support Diego Costa upfront.
We have a terrible record at Stamford Bridge in recent years, no matter how well or how bad we play. We trounced Chelsea 3-0 in the first leg at the Emirates but since then, Antonio Conte has changed tactics to 3-4-3 and Chelsea have been unstoppable since then. Chelsea are favourites to win this considering their recent form but I don’t see them winning tomorrow.
I’m going for a 2 – 2 draw.