Chelsea are set to host familiar foes Arsenal at Stamford Bridge with many familiar faces set to start for both sides, as the two London sides aim to get a result.
Chelsea will be hoping on inflicting further wounds to Arsenal’s losing start to their Premier League campaign. With the Blues having started their own campaign with a win away at Huddersfield, they are now aiming to make it two in two against Arsenal when the North London side visit Stamford Bridge.
With many familiar stars missing from the starting line-up for Chelsea against Huddersfield, Maurizio Sarri is set to bring some notable names including Eden Hazard into the team’s fold and field a strong side to face the Gunners.
Unai Emery, on the other hand, will be hoping to tweak his side’s fortunes a little bit with the view of gaining a point or win over Chelsea and kick-start the Gunners’ campaign in the Premier League. Arsenal lost their opening game to Manchester City at the Emirates with a 0-2 score in favour of the reigning champions.
With two new managers now at the helm of London’s biggest clubs, fans will be hoping to see a new wave of football, which would portray their respective style and with the idea of bringing in substance on the field.
Team News & Tactics
Maurizio Sarri will be a man heavily contemplating on how he fields his side against Arsenal. The Chelsea boss, having already lost a pre-season friendly to the Gunners in Dublin will be hoping, that now his full-strength squad could make a big difference on the pitch.
The big news for the Blues comes with Eden Hazard reportedly being ready to make his first start of the season. The Belgian came on from the bench during their opening day win over Huddersfield but is now seemingly prepared after returning late for featuring at the World Cup.
However, the new loan signing from Real Madrid, Mateo Kovacic, according to Sarri is still not ready to play the whole 90 minutes, hence will assume a role from the bench against Arsenal. One player who undoubtedly would be out of the game is former Gunners midfielder Cesc Fabregas who has suffered a minor training ground injury.
Record goalkeeper signing Kepa Arrizabalaga will continue in goal, as will David Luiz in defence. There could be late changes to the Chelsea side, but there is a general belief that Alvaro Morata will start as the team’s central striker.
Probable Starting-XI (4-3-3) – Kepa; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Luiz, Alonso; Kante, Jorginho, Barkley; Willian, Hazard, Morata
Unai Emery will have taken his lessons from the defeat to Manchester City last weekend and is expected to ring the changes to his Arsenal starting-XI to face Chelsea. The leading man in the news is Alexandre Lacazette, who immediately had an impact after coming from the bench against City, and could start against Chelsea.
Another player who Emery has hinted could make a start is Uruguayan midfielder, Lucas Torreira. The defensive midfielder also came from the bench and then he was not considered fit enough to play a full game, which prompted Emery to give 19-year-old Matteo Guendouzi a surprise spot in the starting lineup.
Emery also poured cold water on new goalkeeper, Bernd Leno’s chances of starting against Chelsea as he failed to against City. The manager confirmed during his pre-game update that Petr Cech will continue in goal, but Leno will get his chance in the future.
But Arsenal’s problems at left-back keep growing, with reliable backup Ainsley Maitland-Niles suffering from a fracture that is set to keep him out of action for at least two months. His injury added to that of Sead Kolasinac as well as an uncertain return date for Nacho Monreal makes the left side a vulnerable point for Arsenal.
That could mean Swiss veteran, Stephan Lichtsteiner could be used as a makeshift left-back or Emery could use Bellerin there. The big conundrum for Emery would be to fit his two formidable frontmen in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette together in a team, but Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey are expected to start for Arsenal.
Probable Starting-XI (4-2-3-1) – Cech; Bellerin, Mustafi, Papastathopolous, Lichsteiner; Torreira, Ramsey; Mkhitaryan, Ozil, Aubameyang; Lacazette
- Chelsea are unbeaten at Stamford Bridge against Arsenal in the last six games, winning five and drawing one.
- Arsenal have not scored in four of the last five games at Stamford Bridge.
- Arsenal have not lost their first two games in the league since 1992-93.
- Arsenal have managed to keep a clean sheet in their last two games at Stamford Bridge (all competitions) but have never kept three in a row since 1924.
- Before last season’s 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea had scored in 12 consecutive home games against Arsenal.
1. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – Over 0.5 Shots on Target @ 1.66
2. Match Offsides – Over 4.5 @ 2.37
1. Full-Time Result – Draw @ 4.00
Player to Watch
Having returned late to Chelsea following Belgium’s run to the semi-final of the World Cup, Eden Hazard is now ready to take on a starting role for Maurizio Sarri’s side. One of his favourite teams have been Arsenal, and his solo goal against the Gunners two seasons ago at Stamford Bridge will be a stark reminder of his qualities to Arsenal.
Transfer rumours were circling regarding his future at Chelsea, but now it seems like he has another season to spend with the Blues and all one can expect from him is total commitment. Against Arsenal, he has the chance to shine and take undue advantage of the flaws that still exist in the Gunners’ armoury when the sides meet at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea 1-1 Arsenal
The pre-season friendly played between both sides in Dublin before the season will come in as a stark reminder of what this game could offer. Both are equally strong on paper, but with returning stars at both ends, this game could very well end in a draw as things look.
Alternatively, both sides have the required quality and firepower to surprise each other, and either side always can take home all three points. But as it was last season, this game could very well end in both teams sharing the spoils.