Chelsea and Arsenal played out a goalless draw in their EFL Cup semi-final first leg two weeks ago at Stamford Bridge. The Blues had plenty of opportunities to take a lead into the second leg of the tie but squandered several good chances.
One of the biggest transfer stories of the summer included Alexis Sanchez’s apparent desire to leave to Arsenal. Due to his contract at the Emirates having just under a year to run at the time, the price offered certainly didn’t justify the quality of the Chilean forward. The situation never came to anything but with Arsenal’s shocking season so far, he is now the talk of the January window with a fee of £30 million being discussed.
Wednesday’s Carabao Cup semi-final first leg between Chelsea and Arsenal was just the second English football match to use VAR (Video Assistant Referee). The fact that the new concept stole the show with no incorrect or controversial decisions says everything you need to know about the game of football.
The first London derby of the year certainly didn’t disappoint and the spoils were shared at the Emirates after it ended 2-2 thanks to some injury-time excitement at both ends.
Barely 24 hours after the Gunners boss was charged for his furious reaction to a late penalty against his side at West Brom, another spot-kick proved the turning point as Chelsea held Arsenal at the Emirates.
Alvaro Morata has come under fire over the past 24 hours following his failure to score in his side’s thrilling London derby with Arsenal last night.
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has spoken after his side’s breathless 2-2 draw with Arsenal in the Premier League this evening.
It has taken just three days in 2018 for the famous rivalry between Arsenal and Chelsea to return and there isn’t expected to be any love lost for both sides.
Out-of-favour Chelsea defender David Luiz looks set to stay with the Blues until at least the end of the season, despite reports linking the Brazilian with a number of potential suitors in recent weeks.
Chelsea and Arsenal both left Stamford Bridge feeling frustrated after playing out a 0-0 draw in a game of missed opportunities.
Premier League action returns to Stamford Bridge tomorrow, with Chelsea taking on arch-rivals Arsenal in what promises to be one of the games of the season so far. The Blues look to have shaken off their early season worries – winning three tough-looking Premier League games on the bounce whilst Arsenal have struggled for consistency and would dearly love to put a marker down here.
Nothing seems to sway Antonio Conte away from his 3-4-3 formation – which is now being replicated by most of the teams in the Premier League. Having three at the back centrally seems to give the Blues plenty of security, both in and out of possession and as a result, the creative influences on the team (Hazard, Fabregas etc.) seem to benefit from being awarded more space in the middle of the field.
Conte gave a Champions League start to Thibaut Courtois, which is perhaps an indication of the importance he’s placing on European competition this season – and the Belgian will start again here.
Gary Cahill impressed in the Champions League in midweek and should return following a domestic suspension, whilst David Luiz and Cesar Azpilicueta should also feature in the heart of the defence.
Marcos Alonso has been in fine form and will retain his place at left wing-back but Conte has a decision to make at right wing-back. Victor Moses was the unsung hero of last year’s title-winning campaign but Davide Zappacosta has arrived from Torino and looks to be a serious contender for this position and impressed greatly against FK Qarabag on Tuesday evening.
N’Golo Kante will be keeping things ticking in midfield, whether that’s alongside Cesc Fabregas or Tiemoue Bakayoko is another call Conte will have to make with Danny Drinkwater still out.
Alvaro Morata has scored in each of his Premier League games at Stamford Bridge and will lead the line. Eden Hazard is now fit after recovering from his ankle injury and in contention with Willian and Pedro also vying for the two places flanking Morata up front.
Predicted Starting XI
Where the Game Will Be Won or Lost
Both teams come into this game on the back of European wins and will be eager to make a winning return to domestic football.
Chelsea have a well-oiled formation and tactical setup that will allow them to control the game from the back and look to play balls in between the lines into the likes of Hazard and Morata. The width provided by the wing-backs could also be a determining factor in the game as they are integral to the way the Blues operate.
Arsenal are blessed with quality all over the pitch but have seemed to lack conviction this term – particularly away from home. Arsene Wenger’s men have lost both of their Premier League games on their travels this term and have looked vulnerable defensively – something Chelsea will be looking to exploit. Alexis Sanchez’s return could give the Gunners a huge boost going into this one, though.
N’Golo Kante is integral to Chelsea’s 3-4-3 formation.
Both teams have lofty ambitions this term and whilst Chelsea seem to look stronger every week, Arsenal’s problems seem to be mounting up and the Blues should have too much for the Gunners here.
Chelsea to win 2-0.