Come Saturday, Chelsea are set to host Arsenal at the opulent Stamford Bridge, in what promises to be a nerve-racking London derby, as the race for the premier league crown gathers pace. Chelsea’s slip up against Aston Villa, meant Arsenal reduced the gap at the top to four points,following their win over Tottenham, with a game in hand.
The Blues have been dominant at Stamford Bridge throughout the season, and are yet to drop points against the “Big Four” at home. The self proclaimed ‘Special One’ boasts an unbeaten record against Wenger in all competitions, and would look to extend the winning streak over his French counterpart. On the other hand, the Arsenal boss would be hoping his side replicates their performance at White Hart Lane, and reflect a first defeat for Chelsea at Stamford Bridge under Mourinho’s tutelage.
Team News :
The Blues are on the back of three successive wins at home, including a 4-0 rout of Tottenham in their last home game. Chelsea would look to get their title bid back on track without the services of Willian and Ramires, who were sent off at Villa Park. Andre Schurrle and Frank Lampard are expected to slot in for the suspended Brazilian duo.
David Luiz has recovered from his groin niggle, however Ashley Cole’s return date is still unknown. Marco Van Ginkel has resumed full training, but is not expected to feature against Arsenal. Samuel Eto’o has been in goal-scoring form lately, and is expected to start ahead of Fernando Torres.
The Gunners would be high on confidence going into Saturday’s encounter, following their victory against Tottenham in an evenly contested North-London derby. Wenger’s tactical shift of playing Rosicky down the right, paid rich dividends, as the Czech international netted the winner. Oxlade-Chamberlain is expected to shrug off his calf injury and take his place in the starting line-up.
With Ramsey still absent due to injury, Cazorla is likely to partner Mikel Arteta, with Lukas Podolski slotting in on the left, as Arsenal look to deploy a 5 man midfield to negate Chelsea’s counter attacking system. Ozil, Wilshere and Walcott remain long term absentees.
Current Form :
Chelsea : D-W-W-W-L
Arsenal : L-D-W-L-W
Previous Meeting :
Date : 23-12-2013
Location: Emirates Stadium
Competition : English Premier League
Result : Arsenal FC 0-0 Chelsea FC