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Is London Blue or Red?

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Chelsea vs Arsenal preview

What difference does a season make? For Arsenal, it transforms them from ‘also-rans’ to genuine title contenders. Mikel Arteta’s men are currently top of the table and look like the only team capable of stopping Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City. The Gunners have strengthened their credentials, winning four, drawing one match scoring 13 goals in the process. 

On the other hand, their city neighbours Chelsea are currently struggling. The Blues’ troubles started when Russia’s invasion of Ukraine forced longtime owner Roman Abramovich to sell the clubs after being sanctioned by the British government. American businessman Todd Boehly bought the club. In the summer, Chelsea would spend over € 250 million adding players such as Wesley Fofana (signed from Leicester), Marc Cucurella (signed from Brighton), Raheem Sterling (signed from Manchester City), and Kalidou Koulibaly (signed from Napoli).

However, Thomas Tuchel failed to deliver performances which would lead to his sacking. He was replaced by Graham Potter, and while results have improved, they are still to find consistency. However, now Chelsea have the perfect opportunity to get their season back on track when Arsenal come visiting. Their last match against Brighton was a humiliating 4-1 loss, proving that Chelsea are still a work in progress.

Arsenal, on the other hand, are running like a well-oiled machine. The team is not reliant on a particular player, which makes them dangerous. Arteta took time but has now managed to mould the Arsenal squad to his liking. Gabriel Jesus and Gabriel Martinelli have added five goals each, and the former also has five assists to his name, displaying all the traits of a complete forward. 

However, for Arsenal to keep their title hopes alive, they must win even the tough matches if they are to be one step ahead of Manchester City.

Chelsea vs Arsenal team news 

Chelsea have been far from perfect this season, and apart from all the chaos surrounding the club, injuries have played their part too. Currently, Chelsea only have three injuries, but all are vital players. Defensive midfielder N’Golo Kante, right-back Reece James, and centre-back Wesley Fofana are all on the sidelines, which has hurt the team the most. While Chelsea have the squad depth to replace them, they need the quality depth. In goal, Kepa Arrizabalaga has reclaimed the number-one spot from Edouard Mendy after some exceptional performances.

Predicted Chelsea line-up: Arrizabalaga; Chalobah, Silva, Cucurella’ Sterling, Kovacic, Loftus-Cheek, Pulisic; Havertz, Mount, Aubameyang 

On the other hand, Arsenal’s injury concerns are the same as Chelsea’s but not as severe. The team are missing Oleksandr Zinchenko, Emile Smith Rowe, and Mohamed Elneny. And apart from Zinchenko, Arsenal have the players that can replace the other two providing the same level of quality. Arteta has perfected the system and now has players who can implement his tactics to the word. 

Predicted Arsenal line-up: Ramsdale; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Tierney; Thomas, Odegaard, Xhaka; Saka, Jesus, Martinelli 

Gamechangers 

For Chelsea, the major problem has been the lack of a top goalscorer. It is proven by the fact that their top players are Kai Havertz and Raheem Sterling, who both have three goals to their name. On the other hand, Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, who was signed as a replacement for the departing Romelu Lukaku, has only scored once. Their creativity has also suffered as a result, with Marc Cucurella and Thiago Silva being the top assist provider with two each.  

Defensively they have been better, conceding 15 goals, the third-best in the league. However, the attack needs to step up, and Mason Mount and Kai Havertz will be the critical game-changers in that case. 

However, Arsenal have no issue finding game-changers, which is one reason opposition teams have found it tough to contain them. Bukayo Saka, Jesus, and Martinelli have formed a perfect triumvirate in the attack. They have been ably supported by Martin Odegaard, Thomas and Xhaka, who have continued to feed them with quality through balls. 

In defence, William Saliba has been relegated, becoming the leader of the backline. With the Frenchman in defence, Arsenal have conceded 11 goals, the best record in the league.

Chelsea vs Arsenal predictions 

While both teams would be looking to get all three points, Chelsea are more desperate for a win if they want to keep pace for the top four places. Furthermore, a win over their neighbours, who are also league leaders, will serve as a boost they need to get their season back on track.

However, doing so against an in-form Arsenal side is no mean task. The Gunners are on top of their game and have the players to at least eke out a draw at Stamford Bridge.

FootTheBall predicts a 2-2 draw.

Saumy Deepak Tripathi
A Bayern Munich fan who is deeply in love with football statistics. Has a soft spot for goalkeepers! (well only he knows why). You’ll find him vibing on 70’s classic songs and spends an abnormal amount of time cooking.

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