Arsenal v Chelsea Match Preview: Can the Gunners give Chelsea the blues
Arsenal go into this afternoon’s clash with Chelsea in third place in the Premier League table.
Leicester City’s 3-0 win over Stoke City at the King Power Stadium yesterday means the Foxes have opened a three-point lead over the Gunners.
Manchester City’s 2-2 draw with West Ham at Upton Park yesterday evening has moved them above Arsenal on goal difference.
Chelsea have made a disastrous defence of the Premier League title and are fourteenth in the Premier League table. The inevitable sacking of Jose Mourinho has been followed by a steadying of the ship under Guus Hiddink. Chelsea are on the longest current unbeaten run this season (W2 D4).
Arsenal haven’t beaten Chelsea in their last eight Premier League clashes (L5 D3).
The Gunners last win was 5-3 at Stamford Bridge in October 2011.
Three of the last four Premier League meetings between these two sides at the Emirates have ended as 0-0 draws.
Arsenal have not scored in the last eight hours and two minutes of Premier League football against Chelsea.
If the Gunners fail to score against Chelsea it will equal their longest run without a goal versus any opponent in Premier League history (six games v Liverpool 1997 to 2000).
Petr Cech will want to impress against his former club. Cech has helped Arsenal to win seven of their last nine league encounters at the Emirates Stadium in all competitions, the other two were draws, conceding just four goals in that run.
Diego Costa was the central figure when the sides met earlier in the season. He had a running battle with Gabriel and Laurent Koscielny in the reverse fixture, which Chelsea won 2-0. Gabriel was sent off after clashing with Costa. His red car was later rescinded, whilst Costa picked up a retrospective three match ban for a clash with Koscielny.
Costa has scored five goals in five Chelsea appearances in all competitions under Guus Hiddink; this after netting four in 21 appearances under Jose Mourinho in 2015-16.
Guus Hiddink inflicted Arsenal’s heaviest ever Premier League defeat at the Emirates (4-1 to Chelsea in May 2009).
“It is another game where people look at us and see how we behave because even if Chelsea are not in the best position you just look at their squad,” said Wenger. “It is a big game because of the quality of players on the pitch and it has a big importance to us because we play at Emirates Stadium and we know it will be important to win these types of games.”
“It’s not just a matter of the four defenders, nowadays; if you don’t defend well starting up front then you are caught,” he said on Friday. “In the early days you can’t be so easily outplayed tactically.
“It might be a little bit different from in the past but I’m convinced the team will give its utmost to get the result. When you start you want to have results immediately. We want full results, it’s difficult to have continuously the winning mood. We have to perform now.”
Mesut Ozil is available to return after missing last Sunday’s 0-0 draw against Stoke City due to a foot injury.
Alexis Sanchez could also return after being out since injuring his hamstring against Norwich City in November.
Mohamed Elneny could be in line to make his debut.
Francis Coquelin, Danny Welbeck and Tomas Rosicky are all back in training, but are unlikely to be involved.
Provisional squad: Cech, Ospina, Macey, Monreal, Gibbs, Koscielny, Gabriel, Mertesacker, Bellerin, Debuchy, Chambers, Ramsey, Elneny, Rosicky, Flamini, Ozil, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Reine-Adelaide, Iwobi, Sanchez, Campbell, Walcott, Giroud.
Eden Hazard and Diego Costa resumed training this weekand are likely to feature.
Provisional squad: Courtois, Begovic, Ivanovic, Fabregas, Zouma, Rahman, Ramires, Oscar, Mikel, Traore, Kenedy, Pedro, Remy, Costa, Matic, Willian, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta, Amelia, Aina, Loftus-Cheek
Referee: Mark Clattenburg Assistants: J Collin, S Beck Fourth Official: J Moss
Ninth time lucky for Arsenal to get a win over Chelsea in the Premier League. The Gunners to win 2-1.