Date: Wednesday 12th May 2021
Venue: Stamford Bridge
Kick-off: 20:15 BST
After another brilliant, if unexpected win at the Etihad at the weekend, tonight we’re back at Stamford Bridge. The game against City had a bit of everything, from red cards not given, to non-penalties missed, frustrating offside goals and a late winner, it was all going on. Tonight, Arsenal are the visitors, so whilst the level of activity might be different, the controversy level could be similar.
Whilst Leicester dropped no-one last night, Manchester United fielded players they’d forgotten they’d even signed, so inevitably, we come into tonight’s game back in fourth place and will probably still need two wins to guarantee a top four finish. The visitors are 9th in the table and come into the game off the back of a 3-1 win over West Brom and that’s not a result to be sniffed at (for us anyway). Willian also broke his duck in that game, so there’s no need for him to make nuisance of himself against us.
Chelsea are unbeaten in their last seven in all competitions and have taken 22 points from 27 in London derbies this season, although notably, lost to Arsenal in the reverse fixture. Arsenal arrive on a five-game unbeaten run in the Premier League away from home and they have a bit of an unbeaten run against us in midweek games at Stamford Bridge as well, so they’ll go all out for that trophy this season.
Going into today’s game, Thomas Tuchel says “I know what I go through when we don’t win: it’s the most horrible situation in the whole world no matter if you coach in the academy or professional football. That doesn’t change during the week and it’s the same for everybody. We are fully focused on ourselves and it’s not for me to comment on Arsenal’s situation. Nothing surprises me about this league, you can catch a streak or get caught in any match. That is what we signed up for: the toughest competition in Europe. Arsenal are one of the biggest clubs in Europe and we will prepare for our best level.”
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta, meanwhile, says “Probably they (Chelsea) have been the best team in the league in the last few months. What Thomas has been able to do since he arrived has been exceptional. He put the team in two finals, the way the team is looking, how solid they’ve been defensively as well, how composed and regular they have been in their performance has been excellent.”
For Chelsea, Mateo Kovacic (hamstring) remains out and will be joined by Andreas Christensen who went off injured at the weekend.
For Arsenal, David Luiz (hamstring) is out and Emile Smith Rowe (hamstring) will be assessed. Aubameyang (malaria) has recovered and both Granit Xhaka (groin) and Pablo Mari (ankle) could be available.
CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Mendy; Zouma, Rudiger, Azpilicueta, James, Gilmour, Kante, Chilwell, Ziyech, Mount, Havertz
ARSENAL (Possible line-up): Leno; Chambers, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney; Partey, Elneny; Pepe, Odegaard, Aubameyang; Lacazette
CURRENT FORM (PL)
- Arsenal won the reverse fixture 3-1.
- Arsenal are yet to lose a top-flight match played in midweek against Chelsea.
- Chelsea are unbeaten in their past eight Premier League home matches in this fixture.
- Chelsea have gone 12 away games without defeat.
- Chelsea have kept 18 league clean sheets this season.
- Chelsea have won seven London derbies this season.
- Arsenal are unbeaten in their last five away league games.
- Arsenal have 13 defeats so far this season.
Sportsmole: Chelsea 2-0 Arsenal