Chelsea face Arsenal in the English Premier League on Wednesday evening. The Blues come off the back of winning at Real Madrid and making it to the FA Cup final. Meanwhile, Arsenal have seen four defeats in their last five matches as their top-four hopes crumble due to a lack of goalscoring threat and just a couple of key injuries. Mikel Arteta’s side won this fixture last season and will hope to inflict just a seventh defeat on Chelsea in 55 matches this season.
The Blues have been beaten just six times in 54 matches all season. Having lost 1-0 to Man City, they went 14 matches unbeaten before consecutive losses – 4-1 at home to Brentford and 3-1 at home to Real Madrid after some uncharacteristic defensive lapses.
The side have bounced back well from those two shock losses by making it seven away wins in a row with a 6-0 thrashing of Southampton at St. Mary’s. They then went to the Santiago Bernabeu and won 3-2 having led 3-0 at one stage, but it wasn’t enough to progress. This past weekend saw a steady 2-0 win at Wembley against Crystal Palace to reach the FA Cup final.
Chelsea Team News
Thomas Tuchel remains without Ben Chilwell and Callum Hudson-Odoi due to injury. Mateo Kovacic hurt his ankle against Crystal Palace and will play no part in this match. Ruben Loftus-Cheek and N’Golo Kante could form the midfield pairing.
In defence, Thiago Silva is set to be recalled. Andreas Christensen could keep his place with Reece James moving back into a right wingback role to give more attacking threat to the side on the flanks. Timo Werner should again partner Kai Havertz up front.
The side is definitely showing some signs of fatigue of late. Tuchel may go with a strong XI in this one before rotating a bit more in the following match. This is a London derby which Arsenal won last season so motivation will be high to take all three points from the match.
After a five-match winless run in January, Arsenal responded with five league victories in a row. Four of those victories came by a single goal in relatively tight but largely convincing Gunners performances. After that final victory, 2-0 against Leicester, Arsenal sat in fourth with three matches in hand over Man Utd. They were six clear of Spurs having played one match less.
A dramatic collapse has followed with four defeats in five and three losses in a row. They played well in losing 2-0 at home to Liverpool before winning 1-0 at Aston Villa. A 3-0 loss at Crystal Palace came preceded a 2-1 home loss to Brighton. Over the weekend, they lost 1-0 at a Southampton side who had been beaten 6-0 a week earlier. Their recent results see them in sixth spot and in danger of dropping out of the top four race.
Arsenal Team News
The Gunners are set to again have three starting XI players unavailable for this match. Kieran Tierney is set to be replaced by Nuno Tavares once again with Mikel Arteta unlikely to move Granit Xhaka back into a left-back role. Takehiro Tomiyasu is still out at right-back.
Thomas Partey is absent in midfield so Albert Sambi Lokonga could partner Xhaka. The big issue is up front as Alexandre Lacazette missed the Southampton defeat due to illness. He will start if he has recovered, otherwise, it’s Eddie Nketiah as the only real striker. Arteta could be creative and use Emile Smith Rowe or Gabriel Martinelli in that role or even hand Nicolas Pepe a rare opportunity.
The Gunners need a win in the top four race or at least a point from Stamford Bridge to get back on track. Arteta moved to a back three for this clash last season and may consider something like that again to match up to the Blues having left with a 1-0 victory last term.
Expect to see the Gunners pressing Chelsea high up and look to cause issues down the left side against Alonso with Saka’s pace.
Chelsea have won 6 of their last 7 PL matches
CFC have kept 5 clean sheets in their last 7 PL matches
Chelsea lost their last home PL match after a 10 match unbeaten run (W5, D5)
Arsenal have lost 4 of their last 5 PL matches
Arsenal have failed to score in 3 of their last 5 matches
Arsenal won 1-0 at Stamford Bridge last season
Chelsea are certainly favourites to win this match due to their far better form in the league. One factor could be fatigue as the Blues are playing their 55th match this season and ran out of steam in their last two at times. Arsenal are desperate for a result here but it’s hard to see them getting anything.