Date: Sunday 22nd August 2021
Venue: Emirates Stadium
Kick-off: 16:30 BST
After a solid win against Crystal Palace on the opening day of the season, today’s late game sees us travel to the Emirates for another London derby.
We’ll know what everyone around us has done by the time we play, so a win against Arsenal is a must if we want to keep pace. Unfortunately, a win against them in the Premier League wasn’t something we could manage last season. In fact, we’ve managed just 3 wins from our last 14 meetings in all competitions, so they’ve clearly had the better of us more often than not in recent times.
Arsenal had a poor opening day with defeat to new-boys Brentford and appear to have failed all round with their infection prevention and control standards, so they’ll still have a couple of players absent after positive covid tests. Not that Chelsea have been completely spared when it comes to positive PCR’s because Pulisic is our latest covid casualty after Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
We looked good against Palace, but you can’t tell much from season-openers – a theory Arsenal will be looking to add weight to this afternoon. I’ve heard the odd whisper this week about a new signing maybe featuring for us at some point today and the optimists are expecting free-flowing goals. I’m a realist, however, so a win would do me, however it comes.
Going into today’s game, Arsenal manager, Mikel Arteta, says “From Chelsea I expect what they’ve done over the last few years. They’re a top team full of world class players, with a great manager and they are the Champions of Europe. We expect a really competitive match. It’s what I expect about our team. Our fans they’re going to be supporting the team right from the beginning because they’ve been missed so much. We’re going to go there to win a football match.
I don’t know if he [Lukaku] is going to play. We have a plan to stop what Chelsea do and a plan to do what we have to do to win the game.”
Thomas Tuchel, meanwhile, says “We had a pre-season match [v Arsenal] without all the fans but we could feel the atmosphere and energy this derby can produce. It’s always a tough one, always a tight one. They had a bit of a rough start now and from their perspective, it can be a help that a big rival from within the city arrives now. It can create a situation that helps them stick together and try to win the crowd over with a strong performance. We should be absolutely prepared for the best Arsenal possible. They have qualities, a strong coach, a strong team, a strong line-up, strong signings, so we should prepare for the best Arsenal possible but do what we have to do. We have to push our standards to the limit, let’s see where our limit is. We want an intense came, we want rhythm and a confident game on and off the ball. This is what we’re looking for. Anything else other than a tough game will be a big surprise.
I don’t know what their team will be. It’s a difficult one to predict. For me, the situation, when I put myself into their shoes, is that they can play maybe the underdog role because of the complications they had with Covid situation, the difficulties they had in the first match and lost the first match. I think they will try to put themselves into the underdog role and fight from there. It is a London derby and it is fair enough. It is absolutely on us to be focused and to be well aware of everything that they will ask us because there is a lot of quality in the squad. They have quality signings, a lot of quality players in their squad and they can hurt anybody if you are not concentrated if you are not aware of the danger. In the end, it comes down to us. What do we demand of us? We will be very clear and hopefully, we can reach our top level to be able to produce a top result.”
For Arsenal, Gabriel Magalhaes (knee), Eddie Nketiah and midfielder Thomas Partey (both ankle) are injured, whilst Alexandre Lacazette and Runarsson (Covid) are not expected to be available. New signing Martin Odegaard has yet to receive visa clearance so can’t play, although Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Willian (Covid) could return.
For Chelsea, Christian Pulisic and Ruben Loftus-Cheek (both Covid) are unavailable. Hakim Ziyech (shoulder) and N’Golo Kante (ankle) could return, and we might see new signing Romelu Lukaku although it’s hard to tell with his arrival being downplayed so much.
ARSENAL (Possible line-up): Leno; Chambers, White, Mari, Tierney; Xhaka, Lokonga; Saka, Smith Rowe, Pepe; Martinelli
CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Mendy; Chalobah, Christensen, Rudiger; Azpilicueta, Jorginho, Kante, Alonso; Mount, Werner; Lukaku
Arsenal 3-1 Chelsea (26th December 2020)
- Arsenal did the double over Chelsea in the Premier League last season
- Chelsea have lost their last three games against Arsenal.
- Chelsea have only won three of their last 14 games against Arsenal in all competitions
- Arsenal haven’t beaten Chelsea in any of their last 10 Premier League meetings on a Sunday
- Chelsea have won their last four away Premier League London derbies.
- Chelsea have won 15 of their last 20 away Premier League matches in August
- Arsenal have lost their first league match at the Emirates in five of the last 10 seasons.
BBC Sport: Arsenal 1-1 Chelsea
Sky Sports: Arsenal 0-2 Chelsea
Sportsmole: Arsenal 1-2 Chelsea