Match Preview – Arsenal vs Chelsea

Posted on by Matthew T

The highlight clash of the Premier League weekend sees Arsenal host London rivals Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday. Here, we preview the match and provide our prediction of the outcome.

Match Preview – Arsenal

Arsenal arrive at their first home match of the season with mixed feelings. To start with the positives, they return to the Emirates Stadium in front of a full capacity of home supporters for the first time in almost 18 months. Although, this does not always work out to their advantage when they are performing poorly.

On another positive note, The Gunners look set to complete the permanent signing of attacking midfielder Martin Odegaard from Real Madrid. The Norwegian youngster spent the second half of last season on loan with the Londoners and certainly made an impression. Odegaard will add some much-needed creativity and ball progression to the Arsenal midfield, and he will be available for selection against Chelsea as long as he is registered before midday on Friday (UK time).

Martin Odegaard
Arsenal are set to pull off the permanent signing of Martin Odegaard from Real Madrid

On the other hand, Arsenal come into their second game of the season after losing 2-0 away to Brentford last Friday in the opening match of the new Premier League season. It was a poor performance all-round and they deservedly tasted defeat.

After finishing eighth last season, Mikel Arteta’s side will play no part in any European competition for the first time in 25 years this campaign. So they will be looking to get their season up and running against a side that they beat twice last season. Although they lost 2-1 at home to Chelsea in a friendly at the beginning of the month, the hosts are unbeaten in their last four competitive matches with their opponents, including wins in the last three.

Match Preview – Chelsea

Moving across London from North to the West, Chelsea travel to the Emirates Stadium with a far greater positive outlook than their hosts. After comfortably beating Crystal Palace 3-0 at Stamford Bridge in their opening fixture last weekend, The Blues picked up from where they left off last season. Goals from Pulisic, Alonso and Chalobah ensured they opened their campaign with three points from a convincing display.

After just edging Leicester out for fourth spot on the final day of last season, Chelsea ensured Champions League qualification again. However, this mattered little in the end as the side rounded off the season with the Champions League trophy anyway. Since Thomas Tuchel took charge in January, performances and results have drastically improved and he will be looking for back-to-back wins to start the new campaign.

Thomas Tuchel celebrates leading his side to the Champions League trophy in May

On yet another positive note, returning striker Romelu Lukaku will be available to make his second debut on Sunday. He has re-signed for the club after various big-money moves since leaving on a permanent deal in 2014. The Belgian has signed from Inter Milan for around £97.5 million.

Team News

The home side’s injury problems from the Brentford game have yet to ease up. Midfielder Thomas Partey remains out until the end of the month with an ankle problem in his latest injury setback. Forwards Aubameyang and Lacazette both missed the trip to West London with illnesses on the day of the match. Their returns remain unknown as of yet. Eddie Nketiah (ankle) and Gabriel Magalhaes (knee) are expected to be missing until next month.

Martin Odegaard should be registered in time and will probably take his place on the substitutes bench.

Aubameyang
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is expected to miss out through illness again for Arsenal

As previously mentioned, Lukaku is set to be available for Chelsea for his second debut since returning from Inter Milan. He could replace the struggling Timo Werner in the No.9 position.

Trevoh Chalobah has been the surprise of Chelsea’s opening two matches so far (including the UEFA Super Cup match). He appeared to be on his way out of the club but has played his way into Tuchel’s defence currently. He will be expected to keep his place after impressive performances in the Super Cup and against Crystal Palace.

N’golo Kante remains doubtful with a muscle injury after missing the opening day win. Hakim Ziyech also missed the win due to a shoulder injury and is not expected to return until next month. Meanwhile, spare wing-back Emerson might not be on the bench due to a potential transfer away from the club. Also, Tammy Abraham has since been sold to Roma, after being an unused substitute last weekend.

Romelu Lukaku
Romelu Lukaku is available to make his second debut for Chelsea after re-signing from Inter

Expected Lineups

Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Leno – Chambers, White, Holding, Tierney – Lokonga, Xhaka – Pepe, Smith Rowe, Saka – Balogun

Chelsea (3-4-2-1): Mendy – Chalobah, Christensen, Rudiger – Azpilicueta, Jorginho, Kovacic, Alonso – Mount, Pulisic – Lukaku

Match Prediction

Despite their surprising recent struggles against Arsenal, I expect Chelsea to win this game fairly comfortably. The side has looked exceptional in most games since Thomas Tuchel took charge and with Romelu Lukaku to add the clinical edge that has been lacking, they should have far too much quality to add to Arsenal’s misery in front of their returning supporters.

Editor’s Prediction: Arsenal 0 – 2 Chelsea

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