Premier League Preview and Prediction: Arsenal vs Chelsea

Competition: Premier League – Arsenal vs. Chelsea

Venue: Emirates Stadium – Sunday, January 24 – 16:00 GMT (11:00 ET)

Match Odds: Arsenal 21/20 – Draw 5/2 – Chelsea 5/2

Match Preview

The latest Arsenal vs. Chelsea clash takes place at The Emirates on Sunday afternoon in a game that will see Guus Hiddink face off against Arsene Wenger in this fixture once again, after last meeting seven years ago.

It’s the Gunners who come into this one as favourites as they sit top of the Premier League after 22 games, 13 places and 19 points better off than the Blues.

Arsene Wenger knows his side have their best shot at winning the Premier League in a decade and will want to beat reigning champions Chelsea to reaffirm those hopes after drawing their last two league games at Liverpool and Stoke.

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Wenger has not beaten Chelsea in the Premier League since 2011 and knows this is a really important game for both him, and the Arsenal supporters.

He will reignite his rivalry with Guus Hiddink here. The interim Chelsea boss beat Arsenal in both the FA Cup and Premier League when he was previously in charge in 2009.

He has improved Chelsea’s fortunes since replacing Jose Mourinho before Christmas, with the Blues unbeaten in six league games now (W2 D4).

Back-to-back draws with West Brom and Everton will go down as disappointing results but preventing losses has to go down as a positive in what has been a disastrous season.

The Blues’s hopes of making the top four look to be all but over but they will be desperate to take points off Arsenal on Sunday and that should ensure it is another feisty clash.

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Chelsea won the reverse fixture 2-0 in September in a game remembered for Diego Costa’s antics that saw Gabriel Paulista sent off at the end of the first half. Costa can expect a hostile reception from Arsenal fans here as a result.

Team News

Arsenal look set to welcome Alexis Sanchez back to the squad in what is a huge boost for Arsene Wenger. He might have to come off the bench as he works towards match fitness again, while Francis Coquelin is also close to making a full return. However, Santi Cazorla, Danny Welbeck, Tomas Rosicky and Jack Wilshere remain out.

Chelsea are set to welcome back a star player of their own as Eden Hazard looks set to return after a three-week absence, while Diego Costa is also set to start, despite being listed as doubtful. Radamel Falcao is the only certain absentee as he remains injured.

Key Points

Arsenal’s last five: L/W/W/D/D

Chelsea’s last five: D/D/W/D/D

Key Stat: Arsenal have not beaten Chelsea at The Emirates in the Premier League since 2010. The Blues are now unbeaten in eight league games against the Gunners.

Key Player: Mesut Ozil – The German playmaker has been Arsenal’s best player this season. He missed the game at Stoke last weekend but will return here and will look to lead his side to victory.

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Score Prediction

Arsenal 1-1 Chelsea – This should be another cagey affair between these two London rivals. Chelsea might be 13 places lower than the Gunners in the Premier League, but will look to continue their fine record against their rivals by earning at least a point. The pressure is on Arsenal to go out and win the game and that might play into Chelsea’s hands.


Community Shield Preview and Prediction: Arsenal vs Chelsea

Competition: FA Community Shield – Arsenal FC vs. Chelsea FC

Venue: Wembley Stadium – Sunday, August 2 – 15:00 BST (10:00 ET)

Match Odds: Arsenal 9/5 – Draw 12/5 – Chelsea 7/5

Match Preview

Arsenal take on Chelsea in English football’s traditional curtain raiser, the FA Community Shield on Sunday afternoon in what should be a gripping contest.

Some supporters claim the Community Shield is irrelevant, but these London rivals will see this as the ideal chance to get their season off to the perfect start and will be out to win the first piece of silverware of the campaign.

The Gunners won last year’s title, beating Manchester City 3-0 in emphatic style to claim their 13th Community Shield and first since 2004.

They are taking part as FA Cup winners once again and will be looking to continue their fine run of four-straight wins over the course of preseason against Singapore XI, Everton, Lyon and Wolfsburg. They have won the Barclays Asia Trophy and Emirates Cup over the course of July and will now hope to defend the Community Shield.

That will be a real challenge for the Gunners though as they have not beaten Chelsea in any of the last six meetings, with the Blues winning four of those.

Add that to the fact that Arsene Wenger has never beaten Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea and it’s easy to see why the Premier League champions are slight favourites.

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They come into the game off the back of their preseason tour of the USA, in which they faced New York Red Bulls, PSG and Barcelona in the International Champions Cup.

They failed to win any of those games in normal time, but did beat PSG and Barcelona on penalties after losing 4-2 to the Red Bulls.

Mourinho is a specialist in setting his sides up for big games and Sunday will be no different as he will want to stretch his unbeaten run against Wenger to 14 games and start the campaign with silverware.

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The Blues beat Arsenal 2-0 at Stamford Bridge in the first meeting last season before the two sides played out a lifeless 0-0 draw at the Emirates in April.

Team News

Arsenal look set to be without Tomas Rosicky, Danny Welbeck, David Ospina and Alexis Sanchez, while Mathieu Flamini is a doubt. Petr Cech should make his first official start in goal with Hector Bellerin expected to get the nod at the right-back.

Chelsea have no injury concerns after Diego Costa and Gary Cahill were both passed fit to play on Sunday. Cahill should start alongside John Terry in defence, though Loic Remy or Radamel Falcao could get the nod over Costa in attack.

Key Points

Arsenal’s last five in all competitions: W/W/W/W/W

Chelsea’s last five in all competitions: W/W/L/D/D

Key Stat: 70% of Community Shield winners have gone on to finish the Premier League season higher than the team they beat at Wembley in the curtain raiser.

Key Player: Petr Cech – The new Arsenal goalkeeper will more than likely lineup against his former club just a month after leaving his 11-year employers. He will need to be at his best to give the Gunners a chance of winning.

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Score Prediction

Arsenal 0-1 Chelsea – Expecting another tight contest between the London rivals, with Chelsea just edging it by the odd goal. Arsenal haven’t scored in any of the last five games against the Blues and need to change that record to have any chance of retaining their title in this early season treat.

STATS: Who is more influential – Alexis Sanchez or Eden Hazard?

Ahead of Sunday’s London derby between Arsenal and Chelsea Lewis Addley looks at which winger has been more influential in the Premier League this season, Alexis Sanchez or Eden Hazard.

The two have both been nominated for the PFA Player of the Year award, which comes as no surprise given how key they are to their sides.

The attackers go head-to-head this weekend and either player can produce that moment of magic to win the game – something that could lead to an entertaining game.

Sanchez has proved to be a hit since joining Arsenal from FC Barcelona for £35 million last summer and he has proved to be the attacking talent they have been missing in recent seasons.

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Hazard has arguably been Chelsea’s best player for the last two seasons and his £32 million transfer from LOSC Lille in 2012 seems to be even more of a bargain with each passing season.

So how do the two compare in their key offensive areas this season?

Stats via Squawka Apps Goals Assists Pass Accuracy Chances Created Shot Accuracy Duels Won Successful Take-Ons
Sanchez 29 14 8 77% 67 65% 50% 102
Hazard 32 13 8 87% 87 60% 65% 153

Sanchez has a better goals-per-game ratio, having played three games less than Hazard. The Chilean also boasts a better shot accuracy when compared to the Belgian wide man.

The two are very closely matched statistically, both racking up eight assists, but Hazard does have the edge in passing, creating 20 more chances and having 10% better pass accuracy.

Hazard is also ahead on duels won and successful take-ons, but given that he has played as an out-and-out winger compared to a striker, where Sanchez has played for a number of games this season, that is not surprising.

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Chelsea’s key man is two years younger than Sanchez and with the two tied down to long contacts this could be an interesting comparison for seasons to come.

At the moment they seem to be near on inseparable, but if we have to pick an overall winner it would be difficult not to side with Sanchez.

The Chilean is playing in a squad which arguably isn’t as strong as the league leaders’ and doesn’t have a midfielder duo on the same level as Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic constantly supplying him the ball.

Both players are performing at the highest level and are unbelievably exciting to watch.

Their battle this weekend is set to be yet another exciting event and may help decide who has the edge, Sanchez or Hazard.

Who do think is more influential to their side – Alexis Sanchez or Eden Hazard?

Wenger reveals REGRET over Fabregas ahead of his return on Sunday

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed his regret over Cesc Fabregas leaving the North London club to return to FC Barcelona in 2011.

Wenger, quoted by Sky Sports, has said a possible return for Fabregas to Arsenal was not as “clean” as it appeared but deflected talk over the terms ahead of the weekend fixture against Chelsea.

“I cannot speak to you about that now because that will not help us to win the game on Sunday,” Wenger said.

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“We will have to discuss that one day, with all the terms. It is not as clean as that.”

Wenger went on to highlight his regret over the former Arsenal captain’s departure.

“The regret I have is that he wanted to leave here. This club and myself had a very positive influence on Cesc’s life, so I would be a bit uncomfortable to have to justify today why he is not here.”

Fabregas has played a hugely influential role in Chelsea’s quest to regain the Premier League title, scoring three goals, including the match winner against Queens Park Rangers two weeks ago, and racking up an astonishing 16 assists so far.

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If Chelsea are to win on Sunday at the Emirates, they will be just three points away from winning the title. Fabregas played a pivotal role in Chelsea’s 2-0 win over Arsenal earlier in the season, assisting Diego Costa to put the game out of reach, and will hope to help the Blues to victory against his former side once again on Sunday.

Will Cesc Fabregas steal the show at the Emirates on Sunday?

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Arsenal vs Chelsea

Competition: Premier League – Arsenal FC vs. Chelsea FC

Venue: Emirates Stadium – Sunday, April 26th – 16:00 BST (11:00 ET)

Match Odds: Arsenal 11/8 – Draw 11/5 – Chelsea 21/10

Match Preview

Arsenal and Chelsea meet in arguably the biggest game of the Premier League season at the Emirates on Sunday afternoon, with Arsenal’s faint hopes of a title dependant on the outcome of this game.

Any game between these London rivals is fiery as both sets of fans want to come away with a victory, but the Gunners know that three points in this one will leave them seven behind the leaders with five games to go.

Arsene Wenger‘s side have been in incredible form of late and booked their place in the FA Cup final with an extra-time win against Reading at Wembley last weekend as they hope to retain their trophy.

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In the league, they are in the best form of any side, having won their last eight on the bounce and have now won their last nine at home in the league too.

The visit of Jose Mourinho‘s Chelsea will likely be their toughest test of the season though and Wenger will have to try and beat the Portuguese head coach for the first time in his career if the Gunners are to be celebrating at full time.

The Blues have not looked as dominant as they did through the early stages of the season but have still won four on the bounce and have not lost since their last visit to North London as Spurs beat them 5-3 on New Years Day.

Mourinho is an expert at setting his sides up to avoid defeat in the big games and he showed that against last weekend in the 1-0 win against Manchester United at Stamford Bridge.

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Chelsea frustrated Arsenal in last season’s meeting at the Emirates as the game ended 0-0 and a similar scoreline could be on the cards in this one, unless the Gunners can overpower the Blues defence.

Chelsea have not conceded the first goal in any of their 20 games in all competitions in 2015 so if Arsenal can find the net first, things could be interesting.

Team News

Arsenal look set to be without two players as Alex Oxlade Chamberlain is set to miss out with a groin strain, while Per Mertesacker is a doubt with an ankle problem, but will face a late fitness test. Gabriel Paulista will play in defence alongside Laurent Koscielny if Mertesacker is out, while Hector Bellerin is expected to return to right-back after Mathieu Debuchy started against Reading last week.

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Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho could travel to the Emirates without a recognised striker as Didier Drogba (ankle), Loic Remy (calf) and Diego Costa (hamstring) are all doubts. Costa could make an unlikely return to the side but that could be too much of a risk. Kurt Zouma is expected to keep his place in midfield after performing well against Marouane Fellaini last Saturday.

Key Points

Arsenal’s last five: W/W/W/W/W

Chelsea’s last five: D/W/W/W/W

Key Stat: Arsenal have won more points than any other Premier League side in 2015 so far but haven’t beaten Chelsea in their last seven games against their London rivals.

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Key Player: Olivier Giroud – The French striker has scored 10 in his last 12 in all competitions and Arsenal fans will hope he can provide the difference in this one.

Score Prediction

Arsenal 0-1 Chelsea – Many are expecting the Arsenal title charge to keep rolling with what would be a huge victory against Chelsea but it’s tough to see that happening. Jose Mourinho has never lost to Arsene Wenger and he is the best coach in the world when it comes to closing up to avoid defeat. Expect them to sit deep and look to break late in the game.

Premier League Predictions: Gameweek 34 – Liverpool, City and United to win

A full weekend of Premier League action means it’s time for another member of the MLSGB team to try and predict the outcomes of all ten games.

Last weekend saw Jamie Ives predict the correct result in two of the seven matches with one perfect score prediction.

It’s time for Lewis Addley to have a go and unravelling Gameweek 34’s action, as drama at either end of the Premier League table is set to continue this week.

Saturday, April 25th (All kickoffs are 15:00 unless otherwise stated)

Southampton vs. Tottenham Hotspur (12:45)

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Both these sides are still chasing a Champions League spot. The Saints have been solid at home this season and narrowly lost the reverse fixture at White Hart Lane. With just a point separating the sides in 6th and 7th, neither can afford to lose any ground in their push for Europe’s top competition.

Prediction: Southampton 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur

Burnley vs. Leicester City

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Arguably the most important fixture of the weekend as these two will slog it out in their ongoing relegation battle.

Burnley are at the foot of the table, while Leicester are two points above in 18th, and a win for either of these sides would be a huge step towards safety.

Prediction: Burnley 1-1 Leicester City

Crystal Palace vs. Hull City 

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Palace have been a rejuvenated side since Alan Pardew took over and he has steadied them into mid-table. Steve Bruce’s Hull are fighting for their Premier League status and are on 28 points in 17th, so a loss for them will make things very difficult in the run in and they can easily slip back into the bottom three depending on other results this week.

Prediction: Crystal Palace 2-1 Hull City

Newcastle United vs. Swansea City 

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The Swans have had an impressive season and barring a disastrous final five games they should easily finish in the top ten. There isn’t much to say about Newcastle’s shambolic season. The Toon Army should stay up given they are seven points above the relegation zone, but they will want the end of the season to come as quickly as possible to rebuild for next campaign.

Prediction: Newcastle United 2-2 Swansea City

Queens Park Rangers vs. West Ham United 

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The first of two London derbies this weekend. Sam Allardyce has done a fine job of keeping West Ham in mid-table this season and will be expecting another tough game this weekend. QPR are in the relegation slog and sit 19th, so Chris Ramsey needs his side to take all three points here. Loftus Road is never an easy place to go and this one could be fiery with so much at stake for The R’s.

Prediction: Queens Park Rangers 2-1 West Ham United

Stoke City vs. Sunderland 

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Mark Hughes will be pushing his side to finish as high as possible in the league in the remaining five games. Sunderland are definitely in the relegation fight and on 29 points need to put some distance between them and the four sides below them.

Prediction: Stoke City 2-1 Sunderland

West Bromwich Albion vs. Liverpool 

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West Brom look as if they have done enough to retain their Premier League status for next season. This game has far more importance for Liverpool and after their disappointing FA Cup semi-final performance last weekend at Wembley they have to keep the pressure on Manchester City in fourth if they stand any chance of playing Champions League football next season.

Prediction: West Bromwich Albion 1-3 Liverpool

Manchester City vs. Aston Villa (17:30)

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Tim Sherwood has bought Villa back from the dead this season and has now guided them to the FA Cup final, which nobody would have predicted. He clearly has the dressing room behind him and looks as if he should keep this side up. By stark contrast, Manuel Pellegrini’s season has gone from bad to worse. His City side are now fighting to keep a Champions League place when they should be fighting for the title. Although this should be a City win it could be the surprise result of the weekend.

Prediction: Manchester City 3-2 Aston Vila

Sunday, April 26th 

Everton vs. Manchester United (13:30)

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Manchester United could finish the weekend in second place if Sunday afternoon’s game between Arsenal and Chelsea goes their way. Louis Van Gaal has got his side playing well and they will be force next season. Roberto Martinez’s side will be disappointed with their season and finishing mid-table is not what they would have been hoping for. The Europa League was clearly a distraction and we can expect to see a better Everton side again without it next campaign.

Prediction: Everton 1-3 Manchester United

Arsenal vs. Chelsea (16:00)

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This is the standout fixture of the weekend but we can’t be expecting too much from this game. Jose Mourinho has never lost to Arsene Wenger as Chelsea boss and given how defensive his side have been over the last few weeks we can expect them to set up not to lose. Any chance Arsenal have on challenging Chelsea for the title lays on this game, but it looks a little too late.

Prediction: Arsenal 1-1 Chelsea

Arsenal legend reveals why Chelsea will NOT beat his former side

Arsenal host Chelsea in the standout fixture in the Premier League this weekend and if they lose Jose Mourinho’s side will be just three points away from securing the title. But former Arsenal star, Paul Merson, believes Diego Costa’s absence will stop Chelsea beating the Gunners at the Emirates on Sunday.

Chelsea have somewhat struggled offensively without their Spanish goal-machine, who has bagged an impressive 19 Premier League goals in his debut campaign, and he will miss this weekend’s game through injury again.

The West London side have scored just twice since Costa’s latest hamstring problem forced him off in their 2-1 win over Southampton earlier this month.

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Since his omission from the side they have won two out of two, producing strong defensive displays to win 1-0 against both Queens Park Rangers and Manchester United, but looked lacklustre in front of goal in both games.

Mourinho has set his sides out to be very astute defensively but Paul Merson believes Chelsea will not have what it takes to beat Arsenal at the Emirates, according to The Express.

“If Costa’s fit it’s a different game, but if he’s not fit I can’t see any goals,” the former Arsenal man said.

“Last week, Chelsea had 30 per cent of the play at home but Man Utd never looked like scoring.”

Merson expects another defensive display from Chelsea as they look to extend their unbeaten run in the league and take another huge step towards the title.

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“I think Mourinho will go there, make sure they don’t lose, and that will be it.”

Eden Hazard’s strike against United was enough to secure all three points for Chelsea last weekend and he will be the main goal threat once again on Sunday.

Loic Remy remains sidelined and Didier Drogba is facing a late fitness test due to an ankle problem, so Chelsea could actually start without a recognised forward.

Will Chelsea’s lack of attacking options cost them the game against Arsenal on Sunday?