Chelsea head into matchday 7 with a six point lead over fourth-place Arsenal and can make a real statement with a victory at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
Being held 1-1 at Manchester City a fortnight ago is the one time José Mourinho’s have dropped points in their opening six Premier League games this season. They have won each of the other five games by at least two goals.
Meanwhile Arsenal have won only two of their Premier League matches to start 2014-15, although are unbeaten by drawing the other four. Arsène Wenger’s side have kept just one clean sheet in those six matches.
Here are 10 reasons why we think Chelsea are sure to beat Arsenal tomorrow:
1. Chelsea’s attack
Chelsea have scored an astonishing 19 goals in their first six Premier League games this season. That’s just over three goals per game. Nine different players have got on the scoresheet for Chelsea already this season.
Manchester City are the only side to hold the Blues down to as few as one goal in a game this season to give you an idea what Arsenal are coming up against this weekend.
2. Arsenal’s defence
They may have only conceded seven goals in their opening six matches – that’s the same number as Chelsea, but Arsenal have not looked so impressive in the process. Everton and Tottenham both spurned good chances to increase that number.
If Arsenal’s defending against Tottenham last weekend is anything to go by then Chelsea are going to be in for a field day on Sunday with all the gaps left at the back. The Gunners were thankful for the likes of Emmanuel Adebayor and Nacer Chadli being wasteful with the ball. Not sure if the same will be said of Eden Hazard, Cesc Fàbregas and co…
3. Chelsea’s counter attack
A lot of those Tottenham chances last weekend came on the counter attack. Arsenal carelessly bombed forward, even at 0-0 at home last weekend, leaving an incredible amount of space for Spurs to exploit. It’s not only Tottenham – this has been a constant in Arsène Wenger’s side over the years and they don’t appear to learn from their mistakes.
Mikel Arteta is absent and Mathieu Flamini is a liability protecting his back four to say the least. Play Jack Wilshere alongside him may counter some of the threat but don’t expect that to fix every gap that Arsenal leave vulnerable.
4. Arsenal’s injury list
One noticeable disadvantage Arsenal have coming into the match is their injury list. A number of first-team players are on it – Mathieu Debuchy and Nacho Monreal leave only four fit defenders available. Holding midfield and captain Mikel Arteta is also sidelined, as is attacking midfielder and goalscorer Aaron Ramsey. Pacey forward Theo Walcott has not returned and striker Olivier Giroud is out for a while longer.
Chelsea on the other hand only have Ramires and Didier Drogba absent. The Brazilian may have started twice this season but we wouldn’t class him as a player expecting to be a regular this season. Drogba is the third choice striker at Stamford Bridge these days.
5. Mathieu Flamini
Mathieu Flamini was at fault for Tottenham’s opening goal last weekend when carelessly conceding possession just outside his own penalty area. It’s not the first goal you can pin on him this season either. He’s been exposed on more than one occasion and doesn’t look good at all protecting the back four. He takes chances in his tackles too and often picks up a yellow card.
Chelsea’s playmakers which are lined up all over the pitch should certainly fancy their chances up against Flamini. A lot of the build-up will likely be focussed around Cesc Fàbregas and this has the making of an excellent game for the former-Gunners captain.
6. Arsène Wenger tactically stubborn
Arsène Wenger has been criticised over the years for being tactically stubborn and the French manager doesn’t appear to have made too many changes to stop those claims. The defence constantly leaves holes as we’ve already touched upon. Record signing Mesut Özil’s been played out of position a lot this season.
Opposite to Wenger, José Mourinho is a tactical genius. You can be sure that the Portuguese manager will take advantage of the gaps Wenger’s side leaves. He’ll prey on those weak points in Wenger’s side, so don’t be surprised if Chelsea look to make the likes of Flamini and Per Mertesacker look silly.
7. Mourinho-Wenger head-to-head
Point seven follows on nicely from point six. These two managers have only met when in charge of these two clubs and José Mourinho’s leads the series W6 D5 L0. That’s right, Arsène Wenger has yet to beat the Chelsea manager in 11 previous matches. This does include the League Cup and Community Shield – it’s W3 D5 in Premier League matches only.
There’s nothing to suggest Wenger can improve on last season’s record where they picked up just one point in two games and failed to score. Chelsea made the better summer signings, Chelsea have made the better start, and Chelsea have the injury-free squad.
8. Chelsea’s home form
Chelsea have taken maximum points from their three home games this season, scored nine goals and kept two clean sheets. In fact, dating back to last season the Blues have kept nine clean sheets in their last 11 home Premier League matches.
Arsenal’s away record has not been so impressive. Held 2-2 at an Everton side who tired out in the final 10 minutes to lose their 2-0 lead, and held 1-1 at newly-promoted Leicester City before beating Aston Villa 3-0 on the road. They were comprehensively beat 2-0 at Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League this season too.
9. Arsenal’s form
Whilst Chelsea have dropped just two points from their opening six games, with those coming away from home at the defending champions, Arsenal have only won two of their six games. One of these was a stoppage time winner at home to managerless Crystal Palace.
It must be said, Arsenal’s form isn’t as impressive as their league position – four score draws and eight points dropped already. Three points separate 3rd-12th in the Premier League. There’s also the same margin between leaders Chelsea and second-place Southampton.
10. Diego Costa
Chelsea’s £32 million summer signing from Atlético Madrid is receiving all of the accolades to start the new season. And rightfully so. An impressive eight goals in only six Premier League matches, with the manager even claiming he’s not fully fit yet. Only Manchester City have prevented Diego Costa from scoring so far this season.
With the playmakers around him to create chances, you can expect Diego Costa to get on the scoresheet in this one. Per Mertesacker goes missing in the box and the energetic Spaniard will sneak in that six-yard box to poke one home. Or two. Or three. On paper, it doesn’t look good for Arsenal.
Anyone think Arsenal have a chance at Stamford Bridge on Sunday? I can’t see anything but a home win. And that’s why I’m backing Chelsea to beat Arsenal at 1.68 with Betfair. In my mind that’s 68% interest and when I am ever wrong when I give an ‘interest’ tip?