Competition: Premier League – Chelsea vs. Arsenal
Venue: Stamford Bridge – Saturday, September 19 – 12:45 BST (07:45 ET)
Match Odds: Chelsea 11/8 – Draw 5/2 – Arsenal 15/8
The champions have struggled to get going so far and lost their third game of the domestic season last weekend, 3-1 away at Everton.
Manager Jose Mourinho has insisted he is still the right man for the job and has dismissed talk of a crisis at the club, despite being under pressure. Chelsea must go on a winning run if they are to convince doubters that they are in with any chance of defending their crown.
They come into the game off the back of their 4-0 midweek win in the Champions League against Maccabi Tel Aviv, a game they were expected to win but they looked far more positive and it could be a turning point in the season even this early on.Embed from Getty Images
Arsenal have started the season in typical fashion, not quite setting the world alight, but picking up points nonetheless.
Arsene Wenger’s side won 2-0 at home against Stoke City last weekend and will see this as an opportunity to win against Chelsea in the league for the first time since 2011.
The Gunners had a disappointing game midweek, as they lost 2-1 away against Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League, and will want to bounce back to winning ways here in a huge London derby.
Wenger is yet to beat Mourinho in the Premier League, but did however finally defeat his nemesis in the Community Shield a week before the opening game of the season and will be hoping for a repeat of that performance.
Chelsea will be without Thibaut Courtois for some time after picking up a knee injury. Mourinho is being forced into making more changes to his squad this weekend as Pedro, Willian and Radamel Falcao are all expected to miss out through injury. This could mean Ramires or Loic Remy will start on the right-hand side of Chelsea’s preferred 4-2-3-1 system as Oscar will return in the number ten role.
Arsenal also have four injury concerns. Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky, Danny Welbeck and Per Mertesacker all remain sidelined. Wenger isn’t expected to change his side around much, the only real decision he has to make is who to start up top. Theo Walcott scored again in midweek, his pace and direct approach may see him lead the line again over Frenchman Olivier Giroud.
Chelsea’s Premier League form: D/L/W/L/L
Arsenal’s Premier League form: L/W/D/W/W
Key Stat: Arsenal have won seven of their last eight away matches in the Premier League.
Key Player: Petr Cech – The former Chelsea fan-favourite will line-up against the Blues for the first time in the Premier League. He has been in good form after his shaky performance on the opening day and as Chelsea fans will know, he can prove to be the difference in his side taking all three points in a tie.
Chelsea 1-1 Arsenal – The defending champions to struggle once again against a resilient Arsenal side who will see this a chance to take points.