Chelsea vs Arsenal
Venue: Stamford Bridge
TV: BT Sport 1
Referee: Martin Atkinson
An old rivalry in Chelsea vs Arsenal begins this seasons edition with two new coaches at the helm – will Arsenal produce a better showing under Unai Emery this week or will Sarri’s West London men put on another clinical display?
Both teams had rather different opening weekend with Chelsea easing to a 3-0 away win over Huddersfield whilst Arsenal were brushed aside by a rampant Manchester City at The Emirates. Will Emery seek to repeat the system of playing out from the back or is there a better way to counter the counter-attacking football of Chelsea?
Both managers still have things to prove without a doubt: neither has truly nailed down the fans but one would argue Sarri is further along the line than his counterpart; albeit after one sole Premier League game. Emery has been brought in at Arsenal to change things, but a loss at Stamford Bridge may mean he is expected to bring about change and success in parallel.
Chelsea tend to not lose at home to Arsenal so the boys from North London better bring something new, otherwise Hazard & Co. will run them into the ground.
Chelsea Team News
It appears that Sarri has a fully fit 23-man squad at his disposal for this game. Hazard may be deemed fit enough to start rather than come on from the bench this time round, and if so both Arsenal’s fullbacks will need to be at their best.
The new look midfield of the Blues appeared to be fairly fluent last week, with Jorginho and Ross Barkley creating chances for the front three whilst Kante did what he does best of running tirelessly around the pitch. Then there is the exciting addition of Kovacic, so it will be intriguing to see what he brings to the table.
A strong win here for Chelsea would really prove to other title contenders that despite the off-field issues of Abramovich’s VISA and the issues regarding squad harmony, Chelsea are back.
Arsenal Team News
Arsenal, however, have a few injuries to worry about. Maitland-Niles and Carl Jenkinson are both out for 6-8 weeks with a fibula and ankle injury respectively. Monreal is back fit but Kolasinac is out until October with a knee injury and Koscielny is out until November with an Achilles issue.
So it doesn’t look good for Arsenal, especially not after the beating they took last week. It may have only been 2-0 but the ease with which Manchester City brushed past them was embarrassing.
Emery needs a good performance. Not necessarily a win but they need a good showing. If Arsenal are pushed aside again the doubters will build up even more so.
Predicted Starting XI’s:
Arsenal: Cech; Monreal, Mustafi, Sokratis, Bellerin; Guendouzi, Ramsey, Torreira; Ozil, Lacazette, Aubemeyang
Chelsea: Kepa; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Luiz, Alonso; Kante, Jorginho, Barkley; Willian, Morata, Hazard
Prediction: Chelsea 3 Arsenal 1
I can’t see past Chelsea winning this one. Arsenal do not look a properly settled team and they definitely do not have a set style of play. If they continue to play it out from the back with Cech, expect Chelsea to trouble them. Hazard and Willian running at Bellerin and Monreal is a terrifying thought and one I expect to spell a home win for Sarri and Chelsea.