Arsenal vs Chelsea – Match Preview – An iconic Premier League fixture, London rivals Arsenal and Chelsea meet for the first of their three clashes in January with both sides harbouring ambitions of securing Champions League football.
Wednesday’s game comes a week before the first of two EFL Cup semi-finals, the 1st leg being played at Stamford Bridge.
Whilst there have been strong showings in the cups this year (with both sides progressing into the knockout stages of their respective competitions comfortably), the Premier League title seems like a foregone conclusion due to Manchester City’s domination, so the chasing pack must hunt to finish as close to the top as possible, in the aims of obtaining a top four finish.
After drawing 1-1 with West Brom on Sunday (in controversial circumstances) and following Liverpool’s dramatic late victory over Burnley, Arsenal, in 5th, find themselves six points off The Reds in the Champions League places.
North-London rivals Tottenham Hotspur are just a point behind (at the time of writing) too, with a game in hand on The Gunners and they play bottom club Swansea City on Tuesday night. Arsene Wenger’s side are unbeaten in eight matches in all competitions but have drawn four of their last seven Premier League games so picking up three points is vital here to maintain the pressure.
Doing so will be difficult against the in-form Champions, Chelsea have won 13 of their last 18 matches in all competitions including two convincing victories over the festive week against Brighton and Stoke. Manchester United’s simultaneous draws briefly saw The Blues move into 2nd place but after United’s 2-0 win at Everton on Monday night only victory here can see Antonio Conte’s side reclaim that spot.
Clashes between these two English giants are always intense, as there is a feeling Antonio Conte wants to exact revenge for The Gunners winning the 2017 FA Cup Final and denying him a League and Cup double in his maiden season in England.
Controversy is never far from these matches and the reverse fixture this season brought a heated 0-0 draw that saw David Luiz given a straight red card for a rash challenge on Sead Kolasinac.
Surely, we will see goals this time around but drama and excitement is all but guaranteed when two of the country’s best do battle, normally to prove who the top dog in the capital really is.
Arsenal have conceded six goals in their last three games and the underlying sentiment that they are vulnerable if a team truly gets at them never seems to fade away. Saying that, only four teams can say they have kept more clean sheets than the Gunners’ nine this season.
Chelsea are one of those teams, in fact no side in the Premier League has had more shutouts than Chelsea’s 11 this term.
Whilst both will be keen to keep it tight defensively for the fear of losing, the attacking quality on the pitch should provide ample scoring opportunities for the likes of Morata or Lacazette to thrive upon and find the net.
Whilst Chelsea have been awarded a league-low total of 22 yellow cards this year, only Watford can boast (or not) a worse disciplinary record in terms of red cards, as three Blues players have been given their marching orders – one in the reverse fixture for David Luiz as mentioned above. This gives Chelsea 14 average booking points per game.
Arsenal, despite not receiving a single red card this year, fare slightly worse, with 31 yellow cards giving them 14.8 average booking points per match.
Taking into account the context of this match and the way emotions usually get flared, expect there to be a considerable amount of work for the referee to do and a lot of cards being brandished as a result of that.
- Skybet Price Boost – Alexandre Lacazette and Alvaro Morata both to score in 90 mins – 7/1Skybet Price Boost – Granit Xhaka and Cesc Fabregas both to be carded – 11/2
- Skybet RequestAbet Up to 10/1 – BTTS, 4+ corners each team and 20+ booking points each team – 9/2
- Skybet RequestAbet 11/1 to 28/1 – Hazard to score, Chelsea to win and Morata & Mustafi to be carded – 25/1
- Skybet OPTA Player Total Multiple Shots – Alexis Sanchez and Eden Hazard 3+ shots each – 5/2
- Skybet Player Carded Accumulator – Jack Wilshere and Antonio Rudiger both to be carded – 17/2
- Bet365 – Anytime Goalscorer – Marcos Alonso – (link no longer available)
- Bet365 – Half Time/Full Time – Chelsea/Draw – (link no longer available)
- Bet365 – Correct Score – Draw 2-2 – (link no longer available)