Chelsea vs Arsenal Preview

Chelsea welcome Arsenal to Stamford Bridge on Sunday
Chelsea host London rivals Arsenal on Sunday in the standout fixture of the Premier League weekend
English Premier League | Sunday 17 September | Stamford Bridge | 14:30

Reigning champions Chelsea welcome their London rivals Arsenal to Stamford Bridge on Sunday in the standout fixture of the Premier League weekend.

The Blues - who beat Qarabag 6-0 in their Champions League opener - have lost just once against the Gunners in their last 11 Premier League meetings, winning seven times, while they’ve won their last five encounters at Stamford Bridge. 

Arsenal are aiming to win at the Bridge for the first time since 2011, when a hat-trick from Robin van Persie helped Arsene Wenger’s side to a 5-3 victory.

Antonio Conte’s men will want revenge after the Gunners beat them in May’s FA Cup Final and again in the Community Shield two months ago. 

Chelsea are 8/10 for the win, with the draw at 28/10 and Arsenal at 31/10.

To Win (90 mins)
Chelsea 8/10
Draw 28/10
Arsenal 31/10

Chelsea

Chelsea are currently third in the Premier League table on nine points, only one adrift of joint-leaders Manchester United and Manchester City. After the shock opening day home defeat to Burnley (having two men sent off), Conte’s men have turned it around with impressive wins over Tottenham, Everton and Leicester City.

Last weekend against the Foxes, Conte opted for a 3-5-2 formation instead of the usual 3-4-3 shape. With Eden Hazard now back from injury, it remains to be seen whether he will replace Pedro and act as a supporting striker to Alvaro Morata or whether Conte will revert to a 3-4-3 and drop either Cesc Fabregas or Tiemoue Bakayoko for Pedro. 

Morata has hit the ground running after his £70m switch from Real Madrid and his quality has helped Chelsea fans forget about Diego Costa. The Spanish international has three goals and two assists in four appearances, including two in a row from identical situations (Cesar Azpilicueta cross from deep). 

Conte will be delighted to welcome back Gary Cahill after serving his three-match suspension. Antonio Rudiger has done very well alongside David Luiz and Azpilicueta, but not enough to take Cahill’s spot. When facing the likes of Alexandre Lacazette and Alexis Sanchez, Conte will be happy to have his captain back in the side. 

With Cahill and Hazard back in the team, Chelsea are now back to full strength and Conte will be hopeful his side can extend their winning streak, while claiming a sixth straight home win over Wenger’s side.



Arsenal

Arsenal come into this clash off a comfortable 3-0 victory over Bournemouth at the Emirates, courtesy of a brace from Danny Welbeck and a goal from Lacazette. That was the Gunners’ second home win of the season following their thrilling 4-3 win against Leicester City on the opening day of the season. Wenger’s side are currently 11th in the Premier League and will look to move higher up the table as they aim to take maximum points against Chelsea on Sunday.

Wenger has faced Conte five times already since the Italian took charge of the Chelsea last year. The Frenchman has been victorious three times, winning 3-0 at home in the Premier League, 2-1 in the FA Cup Final and earning a 5-2 penalty shoot-out win in the Community Shield after the tie finished 1-1. But his side lost to Conte’s men 3-1 at Stamford Bridge last season and 3-0 in a pre-season friendly at Beijing's Bird's Nest Stadium.

Arsenal have lost both of their away matches this season, going down 1-0 against Stoke, before suffering a humiliating 4-0 defeat against Liverpool. Their failure to find the net in those games, along with their poor record at the Bridge, doesn’t bode well for their chances. 

Arsenal's record against their top six rivals has become a weakness in recent times and they fell badly short at Anfield last month. They must now produce a performance to buck their recent run against the Blues, where they've lost their last five. 

Sanchez was benched by Wenger for last weekend’s win against Bournemouth, despite being available after appearing for Chile in the international break. Welbeck’s impressive performance in that game has now given Wenger a serious selection headache ahead of the clash against Chelsea. The England international has been the surprise package this term, with three goals in four Premier League appearances.

Probable line-ups:

Chelsea: 3-4-3
Courtois; Azpilicueta, Luiz, Cahill; Moses, Kante, Fabregas, Alonso; Pedro, Morata, Hazard.

Arsenal: 3-4-2-1
Cech; Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal; Bellerin, Ramsey, Xhaka, Kolasinac; Ozil, Sanchez; Lacazette.

Prediction: Chelsea Win (8/10)
Chelsea have an excellent home record against Arsenal, while the Gunners have lost both of their away games played. Back the Premier League champions to edge a hard-fought encounter at 8/10. If you’re looking for more value, take Morata to Score Anytime and Chelsea to Win at 18/10.

Written by Chad Nagel. Follow him on Twitter here!