Arsenal vs Chelsea preview, betting tips and prediction: Blues to edge tough Emirates encounter
Chelsea to win 2-1 @ 9/1 with Coral
Score draw @ 16/5 with Coral
Chelsea to win with a -1 handicap @ 19/4 with Coral
When Chelsea lost 3-0 at the Emirates Stadium last season, it became seen as the moment the Blues won the Premier League, such was the impact of the change Antonio Conte made to the side in the aftermath. The Gunners outran them, out battled them in the midfield and found far too much space in behind the defence and out wide. Changing to three at the back ended any danger of other sides doing the same thing against them, and they steamrolled to the title, going on a 13-match winning run not long after.
Their achievements and any hope of a title defence have been overshadowed by Manchester City this season, but Chelsea have been a threat nonetheless. Conte has altered the side slightly, with Alvaro Morata coming in to replace the departed Diego Costa. Eden Hazard has a free role in behind, and he will look to generate the space Arsenal created in that win last season. We can’t see a repeat here; in fact we make Chelsea favourites to win despite Arsenal only losing once at home all season.
Arsenal had been struggling for goals until recently, having only narrowly beaten Newcastle and drawn at Southampton thanks to a late goal by substitute Olivier Giroud. Alexis Sanchez’s performances were hugely criticised by fans amid rumours of a January move to Manchester City, and record signing Alexandre Lacazette has not been scoring of late. But having drawn 3-3 with Liverpool, coming back from 2-0 down and then losing the lead themselves, and beating Crystal Palace 3-2 at Selhurst Park on Thursday, with two goals from Alexis, the Gunners seem to have found their feet in front of goal.
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Under Conte, Chelsea are not a very attacking side, usually managing games to get victories. That is what they have been doing lately, against the likes of Southampton and Brighton on Saturday. Stoke also head to Stamford Bridge before this game, but that is how they will approach this one. Negating Sanchez and Mesut Özil, now they are both in form, will be vital. Victory should keep them in touching distance of second placed Manchester United provided the first round of results go as expected. The Blues have lost just once in two months, though that did come in another London Derby at West Ham earlier this month.
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Aaron Ramsey will not be fit for this game, and Nacho Monreal should continue at centre back. Other than that, Arsene Wenger has no fresh injury concerns. Likewise, Chelsea are looking strong in terms of their squad; David Luiz will not feature but Andreas Christensen looks set to continue in defence alongside Gary Cahill. N’Golo Kante, Cesc Fabregas and Tiemoue Bakayoko could all feature in midfield, while Willian and Pedro will offer wide options from the bench. The latter has been in particularly good form of late.