Competition: Premier League – Chelsea vs. Arsenal
Venue: Stamford Bridge – Saturday, February 4 – 12:30 GMT (07:30 ET)
Match Odds: Chelsea 10/11 – Draw 5/2 – Arsenal 29/10
If Antonio Conte’s side win this one they will be 12 points clear of Arsenal at the top of the league, which given Chelsea’s form, would almost certainly put The Gunners out of contention for the title.
Chelsea come into this one having drawn 1-1 away at Liverpool in midweek. It was a solid point but they’ll be ruing a missed opportunity to have extended their lead at the top of the table as results went their way on the most part. Diego Costa’s penalty was saved in the latter stages of the game, he’ll be looking to make up for that in this one.
There will be an added hunger for Chelsea to win this game as they were hammered in the reserve fixture, 3-0 early on in the season, many have dubbed that the game that won Chelsea the league, as it inspired Conte’s changes and sparked their tremendous winning run.
Arsenal have to win this game. They lost in midweek at home to Watford a game which has dealt them a significant blow and they need a response.
Arsene Wenger’s side found themselves two goals behind in the first 15 minutes of that game, if their defensive struggles are repeated in this one they will be in for a long afternoon.
The Arsenal squad are going to need to step up here, they cannot afford to allow Chelsea to gain any momentum. What worked so well for them in the reserve fixture was a highly intense start, but they’re all too aware this is a different Chelsea side altogether.
Just five points separate second and fifth place in the table, if results go against Arsenal this weekend they could find themselves outside the top four.
There are no real injury concerns for Chelsea heading into this tie. David Luiz and Eden Hazard are expected to start the game despite picking up slight knocks in midweek.
Arsenal are expecting to be without Santi Cazorla, Mathieu Debuchy and Aaron Ramsey through injury, while Grant Xhaka is suspended and Mohammed Elneny remains on international duty.
Chelsea’s form: W/L/W/W/D
Arsenal’s form: W/D/W/W/L
Key Stat: Chelsea have won their last eight home games in the Premier League.
Key Player: Eden Hazard – The Belgian had a quiet game against Liverpool but if plays to his usual high standard he will cause the Arsenal defence problems.
Chelsea 2-1 Arsenal – Chelsea to come through a difficult week of fixtures unbeaten and land a heavy blow to Arsenal’s season. This has the makings of a tight affair and it is a game that has a history of boiling over as emotions run high.