Saturday 19th September -12:45 – Stamford Bridge
This weekend’s Saturday lunchtime kick-off sees Chelsea and Arsenal go head to head who many people thought would be the Premier League’s top two this season. However The Blues, who are defending champions, have made a horrendous start to the season, winning just once in their opening five league games. That means that if they lose again tomorrow and other results go against them, we could see Jose Mourinho’s side end up bottom of the table at the end of the weekend. Things could be on the up in West London though, as they beat Maccabi Tel Aviv 4-0 in the Champions League on Wednesday. On the same evening, Arsenal lost 2-1 at Dinamo Zagreb, but in contrast to Chelsea are doing well in the league. The Gunners are in the top four after recovering from an opening day defeat to West Ham. There’s no rest again for these two teams in midweek, as both are in League Cup action against Walsall and Tottenham respectively.
- Willian had to be taken off midway through the first half against Maccabi Tel Aviv with a hamstring injury, and that keeps him out of this game.
- Striker Radamel Falcao, playmaker Oscar (both knee) and Pedro (thigh) could be available, but are doubtful.
- Thibaut Courtois remains a long-term absentee with a knee injury, meaning that Asmir Begovic will once again be inbetween the sticks.
- Petr Cech is expected to return for Arsenal against his former club having been rested for the midweek defeat at Dinamo Zagreb.
- Per Mertesacker hopes to feature after a four-match absence due to an illness.
- Injured players who definitely won’t feature are Tomas Rosicky, Danny Welbeck (both knee) and Jack Wilshere (ankle).
The Key Battle: Jose Mourinho vs Arsene Wenger
Tomorrow sees one of the biggest managerial rivalries in football renewed as Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger square up for the 15th time.
It is the Chelsea boss who has had the most success in their previous meetings, as he as only lost to his French counterpart just once, and that victory came in the Community Shield clash earlier this season at Wembley.
The reluctance of the two managers to shake hands following that 1-0 was the latest evidence of the frosty feeling between the pair and they both head into this weekend with the pressure mounting.
You can read what the pair had to say about the game in the Managers Quotes section below.
Chelsea wins = 55 / Arsenal wins = 66 / Draws = 49
*According to http://www.arsenal-world.co.uk
Last Meeting: Arsenal 1-0 Chelsea (2nd August 2015)
Arsenal won the Community Shield for a second season in a row as they beat Chelsea at Wembley last month. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored the winner with a powerful drive into the top corner with his weaker left foot. Ramires headed wide unmarked from Loic Remy’s cross as Chelsea failed to hit the target before the break. Eden Hazard skied a chance over the bar before Oscar’s free-kick was parried wide by Arsenal debutant Petr Cech. It was the first time the former Blues goalkeeper had been called into action – after 68 minutes of play – and soon after he comfortably held on to Kurt Zouma’s header. The Gunners went close late on through Santi Cazorla and Kieran Gibbs in a match where both sides looked rusty a week before their Premier League opener.
Sorry, I didn’t have time to make an infographic this week! First week back at college and all that!
Jose Mourinho: “I want to isolate this match from every context. It doesn’t matter our excellent record against Arsenal, they have not beaten us for 7 or 8 games apart from the Community Shield. If it’s a pre season friendly against Arsenal we want to win. Because it’s a match. I want to isolate it. It’s just Chelsea-Arsenal.”
Arsene Wenger: “I do not think too much about where Chelsea stand in the league at the moment. I focus more on us performing well with full power.”
The Referee – Mike Dean
- Last Premier League game: Leicester 3-2 Aston Villa (13th September 2015) – 3 yellow cards, 0 red cards
- Last Chelsea game: Chelsea 1-0 Manchester United (18th April 2015) – 4 yellow cards, 0 red cards
- Last Arsenal game: Manchester United 1-1 Arsenal (17th May 2015) – 1 yellow card, 0 red cards
Stat of the Match
Eden Hazard has scored in Chelsea’s last two Premier League clashes with Arsenal at Stamford Bridge, with both goals coming in the first half from the penalty spot.
Where can I watch it?
BT Sport 1 have the broadcasting rights for this one, and their coverage begins at 12pm, with kick-off 45 minutes later. The highlights will then be on BBC One’s Match of the Day at 10:30pm on Saturday evening.
My Prediction: Chelsea 1-1 Arsenal
I don’t think that Chelsea will lose again, but I don’t think that they will beat Arsenal either, in probably quite a surprisingly dull game at Stamford Bridge. With the Blues struggling in the league and without Thibaut Courtois, and Arsenal recovering from a shock defeat in midweek, I’m going for both sides to score just the one. My predicted goalscorers are Diego Costa and Theo Walcott.