Arsenal welcome Chelsea to the Emirates in a massive Premier League clash. It’s the first time the Gunners face a Blues side managed by new boss Antonio Conte for the first time but the recent history is certainly with the visitors. Chelsea haven’t lost in the last nine Premier League meetings between the two sides and Arsene Wenger will be hoping to change that this evening, just in time for his 20th anniversary at the club.
Match: Arsenal v Chelsea
Stadium: Emirates Stadium
Kick Off (GMT): Sat 24 Sep 17:30
Antonio Conte is fresh off a spell with his national team but won three Serie A titles with Juventus before that. The former Italy manager was put to test just last week against Liverpool, his tactical decisions seemed to backfire as his side lost 2-1 to Jurgen Klopp’s Reds. It was Chelsea’s first defeat of the season and the manager will have to work on his tactical discipline to prevent the same errors from last week.
Chelsea started their Premier League campaign with three consecutive wins but then went on to draw against Swansea and lost to Liverpool. Conte hasn’t gone three matches without a win since 2012 when Juventus had a run of four back-to-back draws.
The shift in Chelsea’s form suggests that Conte still hasn’t got his team playing as he wants them to. A single error in judgement today could breaks Chelsea’s recent supremacy against the Gunners.
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Chelsea had failed to win against Arsenal for 19 games spread over a decade between 1995 to 2005. However, the tables have turned and Chelsea dominates the number of wins in the last decade.
The Blues haven’t lost in their last five visits to the Emirates, with 2 wins and 3 draws. In those five fixtures Chelsea has managed to hold off Arsenal four times and conceded only one goal.
Mostly adapting a 4-3-3 formation, Chelsea are known for their strong defensive unit but they have failed to keep a clean sheet in the past two matches. This could be because of the absence of John Terry. The Blues skipper is sidelined with an ankle injury and Chelsea will also be without Van Ginkel and Kurt Zouma.
There’s also a high possibility of the highly popular former Arsenal man Cesc Fabregas featuring in the match after his recent performances for The Blues.
Out: John Terry, Marco Van Ginkel, and Kurt Zouma
The Blues pose danger in the form of their notorious striker Diego Costa. The Spanish international not only carries a threat to Arsenal’s goal, but also to their discipline. Costa was directly involved in the red cards of two Arsenal players last season and the forward has a habit of rattling the opposition. Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi will have to be on their toes and remain calm to stop him.
With a solid midfield lineup to provide extra backing for their defence, The Blues have conceded the fewer shots on target than any other side in the Premier League this season. That said their rigid approach and defensive stance means Arsenal will have time to build up offensively, even though getting near enough to shoot will be a challenge.
It could be a good opportunity to put Granit Xhaka on the pitch and see if he can make it three for three with his long shooting.