Chelsea host Arsenal at Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening. The Blues have seen a recent uptick in results whilst the Gunners beat Man City last time out to underline their title credentials. Mikel Arteta’s side have won on their last three trips to Chelsea.
This season started poorly for Chelsea on the results front. Their opening six league matches yielded a paltry five points and alarm bells were ringing in SW6. A 3-1 loss at ten-man West Ham and toothless home losses to Nottingham Forest and Aston Villa (both 1-0) posed real questions about Mauricio Pochettino and the club’s work in the transfer market.
Things have improved significantly for the Blues over the last three matches. A 1-0 home win against Brighton in the Carabao Cup improved confidence. They went to West London rivals Fulham and won 2-0 in the derby. In their last match, Chelsea came from 1-0 down to win 4-1 at Burnley thanks to four goals across 25 minutes.
Chelsea Team News
Pochettino is still set to be without the likes of Ben Chilwell, Reece James, and Wesley Fofana. Benoit Badiashile and Trevoh Chalobah are close to returning but won’t start anyway. Malo Gusto has served his suspension and is expected to start at right back in preference to Marc Cucurella.
In attack, Cole Palmer was injured on injury duty so Mykhailo Mudryk could come into the starting XI. Nicolas Jackson is the favourite to lead the line after wrist surgery with Armando Broja being left on the bench.
The Blues are not set to play an open game. In fact, they could play more on transition in the fixture against a fine Arsenal side.
Chelsea will play to win, but a draw would also be seen as progress. They may be quite satisfied to introduce extra defensive players in the second half to hold onto a point.
The Gunners sit level with Tottenham at the top of the table. Their eight league matches have seen just four points dropped, both in 2-2 draw in London derbies against sides where they held the lead (Fulham and Tottenham). Prior to the Spurs draw, they beat Man Utd 3-1 with two late goals, ended their Goodison Park hoodoo by winning 1-0 at Everton and thrashed PSV 4-0 at home.
Since surrendering two leads in the North London derby, they’ve gone to Brentford and won 1-0 in the Carabao Cup and then thrashed Bournemouth 4-0 away. A surprise 2-1 defeat at Lens saw the side show some complacency ahead of hosting Man City. A tight and largely even match was settled by a deflected Gabriel Martinelli goal in the 86th minute.
Arsenal Team News
The key question mark is over Bukayo Saka. He missed the win over Man City and did not appear for England on international duty. He should shake off a hamstring complaint to start this match. Gabriel Martinelli will start after scoring on his return from injury against City.
William Saliba has been nursing a toe problem but is expected to be fit. Leandro Trossard is a doubt and Jurrien Timber is ruled out. Kai Havertz will hope to start against his former club after an assist from the bench in the last match.
Arteta’s side won’t see a draw as a good result. They will play for a fourth straight win at Stamford Bridge and will look to dominate the match.
With their ambitions to finish above Man City, they need to look to win every single match if possible.
Chelsea have won their last 3 matches in all competitions.
Chelsea have won just once in 11 home EPL matches, losing the last 2.
Arsenal have won their last 3 matches away at Chelsea.
Arsenal have won 6 and drawn 2 of their 8 league matches this season.
Arsenal have won their last 3 away league matches with clean sheets.
This match should be a good tactical battle. Arsenal are the better team and have been winning at Stamford Bridge. It’s hard to look past a Gunners win but it could be worth checking the teamsheets prior to placing your bets to see if Saka is fit.
Best Bet: Arsenal win at 2.30
Value Bet: Arsenal to keep a clean sheet at 3.10
Goalscorer Tip: Martinelli anytime scorer at 3.75