Chelsea v Arsenal: Premier League Match Preview
Chelsea host Arsenal in the Premier League at Stamford Bridge this afternoon (1.30pm kick-off UK time).
The reigning Premier League champions lost their opening fixture of the season at home to Burnley at Stamford Bridge.
But have followed up with three successive victories over Tottenham Hotspur, Everton and Leicester City.
The Blues go into today’s match in 3rd place in the Premier League table.
Chelsea returned to the Champions League with a comfortable 6-0 home win over on Tuesday.
The Blues have won 19 of their past 21 games at Stamford Bridge in all competitions. Crystal Palace last April and Burnley on the opening day are the only sides to avoid defeat in that run.
Chelsea have scored in their last 23 Premier League games at Stamford Bridge.
They are also unbeaten in 26 top-flight home matches played on a Sunday (W19, D7)
Arsenal got back to winning ways in the Premier League with victory at the Emirates Stadium over AFC Bournemouth last weekend.
They followed that up with a 3-1 home victory over FC Koln in the Europa League on Thursday.
The Gunners have though lost their opening two away Premier League fixtures to Stoke City and Liverpool.
It leaves them in 12th place in the Premier League table going into today’s match.
To move up the table there will need to a significant improvement to their away form.
Arsenal did not manage a shot on target in their last away trip at Anfield.
Arsene Wenger’s side have lost seven of their past 10 away Premier League games, scoring 11 and conceding 21 in that run.
Arsenal have conceded an average of two goals per away league game in 2017.
The Gunners could lose their first three away games of a league season for the first time since 1954.
Arsenal could also go three top-flight away matches without a goal for the first time since 1994-95.
Chelsea have won their last five home Premier League matches against Arsenal, with an aggregate score of 15-2.
A sixth consecutive away league defeat against Chelsea would represent Arsenal’s worst run against a club since losing seven in a row to Liverpool between 1981 and 1988.
Arsenal have kept only one Premier League clean sheet in their last 18 games at Stamford Bridge.
If Arsenal concede they will equal their longest run of away matches without a clean sheet against a single opponent in the Premier League (13 v Liverpool between 1999 and 2012).
The Gunners will look to build on the confidence gained by beating Chelsea in the most recent fixtures between the clubs. The 2017 FA Cup Final (2-1) and 2017 FA Community Shield (penalty shoot-out victory).
Arsenal have received more Premier League red cards against Chelsea than against any other opponent (seven).
New signing Danny Drinkwater is out for two to three weeks with a calf injury.
Eden Hazard has fully recovered from a fractured ankle and could make his first Chelsea start of the season.
Gary Cahill returned to the team for the midweek Champions League match against Qarabag and could also start.
Petr Cech, Alexandre Lacazette, Danny Welbeck, Granit Xhaka, Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey were all rested against FC Koln on Thursday and will return today.
Laurent Koscielny will also return after serving a one-match European suspension against FC Koln.
Theo Walcott is likely to miss out after sustaining a calf problem against FC Koln in the Europa League.
Francis Coquelin will miss a further 2/3 weeks with a hamstring injury.
Fit again Eden Hazard has scored in three of Chelsea’s last four Premier League home matches against Arsenal.
Alvaro Morata’s three Premier League goals and two assists this season have all come via his head.
Sead Kolasinac has played a part in four goals (two goals, two assists) in five appearances for Arsenal (including Community Shield).
Danny Welbeck has scored three goals in four Premier League games this season, having scored two in 16 appearances in the competition last term.
“I try to make the best decision for every game and try to win. Don’t forget, winning is very important for us. I am pleased about the players’ commitment to their performance after Qarabag. Now there is a very tough game against Arsenal. We have to check the physical condition of all my players and I will try to make the best decision for all of the games. I have another day to reflect and for the to make the best decision for Sunday.
I think that Arsenal is one of the six top teams in England and I think that they have a really good squad and want to fight for something important. For this reason, I think it is a massive game for us. When you play against Arsenal it is the same as when you play against City, Liverpool, United or Tottenham.
Anything can happen. We are to fight. We have to play a game against a rival.
Arsenal are a big rival for the title. I don’t understand why they can’t fight for the title.”
This will be Arsene Wenger’s 59th match against Chelsea, making them the club he has faced the most as Arsenal manager.
“[Our record at Stamford Bridge is because] in recent years, Chelsea had a great team always and it was always difficult to win there,” the manager said.
But our record against Chelsea recently has been good. We won at the Emirates last year, we won the FA Cup final and on penalties in the Community Shield so let’s just continue to focus on the quality of our game and not too much where we play.
Chelsea looked comfortable after 20 minutes [in midweek against Qarabag] but that doesn’t bother me. I think we need to focus on our performance and play our game.
(On playing a back 4 or 3) I want to use both systems when it suits the team or when we need to do it. Because we played for a long time in a back four, it is easy for me to switch from a back three to a back four.”
Referee: Michael Oliver
Assistants: Simon Bennett, Stuart Burt
Fourth official: Neil Swarbrick
All losing runs have to come to and end, so Arsenal to win 2-1 to break their Stamford Bridge hoodoo.