Thursday, 17 January 2019

Arsenal vs Chelsea predictions and match preview

Arsenal will be hoping to close the gap on fourth-placed Chelsea when the two sides meet in the Premier League on Saturday.

The Gunners have lost ground on their London rivals with two defeats in their past three games and are now six points behind Chelsea, having shown some inconsistent form of late.

When is Arsenal vs Chelsea?

Competition: Premier League

Venue: Emirates Stadium

Date: Saturday, 19 January

Kick-off: 5:30 PM GMT

Match preview

On Christmas Day, Arsenal and Chelsea were level on 37 points in the Premier League, with the Blues edging ahead on goal difference – +20 to +16.

But the two teams have had differing fortunes since the big day and Chelsea now sit comfortably six points clear of their London rivals.

Unai Emery’s side have picked up just four points from their past four games since Christmas, including away defeats at Liverpool and West Ham United and a draw with Brighton & Hove Albion.

Chelsea, on the other hand, have dropped just two points in that same run – a goalless draw with Crystal Palace among some narrow wins.

This makes Saturday’s clash much bigger for both sides. For Arsenal, it’s a chance to close the gap on the west Londoners, while Chelsea will be looking to further cement their Champions League place.

But, Arsenal will also be looking over their shoulders at the growing threat of Manchester United, who have won five league games in a row under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to sit level with the Gunners on 41 points when their own season had looked over at the start of December.

And Chelsea aren’t exactly safe either, with inconsistency in front of goal looking likely to cause problems down the line.

Where can I watch live?

UK residents can watch Arsenal’s London derby against Chelsea on BT Sport 1, channel 413 on Sky and channel 527, for Virgin Media users. BT Sport subscribers can also watch the game online at sport.bt.com and via their BT Sport app.

Do Arsenal’s top four hopes depend on this result?

Arsenal’s 1-0 defeat to West Ham last weekend leaves them in a precarious position, with a top four spot – and the Champions League football which comes with it – looking further away.

Chelsea currently hold that final spot and Arsenal defender Sokratis has admitted his side need to beat their London rivals to keep their hopes alive.

“Chelsea is another game and we have to regroup — a lot — if we want to do something,” he said, as reported by the

Evening Standard .

“It will be a difficult game but if we want to be up there, we have to win.

“We did not play well [against West Ham]. All the team was not like the last games. We have to work, we have to look at what our mistakes were and improve for the next games.”

A defeat to Chelsea would see them move nine points clear of Arsenal, who could even finish the weekend in sixth if United have a positive result at home to Brighton.

While it would certainly still be mathematically possible for Arsenal to finish in the top four, especially considering Chelsea’s tough run of away fixtures, it would be demoralising for the Gunners should Man Utd push past them too.

Will Chelsea sign a recognised striker?

For the second January in a row, Chelsea are looking to sign a striker. Last season they brought in Olivier Giroud with Antonio Conte looking for a player with target man attributes – which had also seen the Blues linked with Andy Carroll and Peter Crouch.

This season, Sarri is looking to get a striker more in tune with Sarrismo – as Giroud and Alvaro Morata have failed to do so. The Blues have been heavily linked with Gonzalo Higuain, and rumours grew after the Argentinian was not pictured with the rest of the AC Milan squad ahead of their Italian Super Cup match with Juventus in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday.

Which manager has had a better start in England?

When these sides last met, it was just the second game of the new Premier League season, and judgment was being reserved until new managers Maurizio Sarri and Unai Emery had enough time to implement their playing styles.

Twenty games later and neither have fully overseen change, with Sarrismo still some way away and Emery has returned to square one after being brought back down to earth following a 22-match unbeaten run after the Chelsea defeat.

Emery has overseen 32 games in charge of Arsenal so far, with 20 wins, six draws and six defeats – five of which have come in the Premier League. In that time, the Gunners have scored 66 goals but conceded a heavy 38.

Sarri also enjoyed an unbeaten run at the start of the season, reaching 18 matches in a row including 14 wins.

The Italian’s current record at Chelsea stands at 34 matches played with 23 wins, six draws and five defeats including three in the Premier League. Chelsea have scored 60 goals and conceded 26 in that time.

Head-to-head

Despite Chelsea’s growth since Roman Abramovich took over, the Blues are still some way behind rivals Arsenal in terms of their head-to-head record.

The Gunners have won 76 games compared to Chelsea’s 63, with 57 draws. Though Maurizio Sarri’s men did edge an exciting match 3-2 at Stamford Bridge in August.

Arsenal wins: 76 Draws: 57 Chelsea wins: 63

Team news

The biggest question for Arsenal this weekend will be whether Unai Emery hands Mesut Ozil a way back into the matchday squad having dropped him for last weekend’s defeat to West Ham. Hector Bellerin is set to return to the starting XI after coming on from the bench against the Hammers, but Saturday’s match is still too soon for Henrikh Mkhitaryan who is expected back in February.

Meanwhile, Chelsea are likely to continue with Eden Hazard as a false nine, with Alvaro Morata still nursing a slight injury and Olivier Giroud to appear from the bench. The Blues are set to be unchanged from their win over Newcastle, with Sarri very much set in his favoured XI.

Predicted Arsenal XI: Leno; Sokratis, Koscielny, Mustafi; Bellerin, Xhaka, Torreira, Kolasinac; Aubameyang, Lacazette, Iwobi.

Predicted Chelsea XI: Arrizabalaga; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Luiz, Alonso; Kante, Jorginho, Kovacic; Pedro, Hazard, Willian.

Squawka Prediction

Arsenal really need to win this game, but that could play into Chelsea’s hands as they can draw the Gunners in high up the pitch. 2-1 Chelsea.

Predictions & Betting Tips

1. Both teams to score YES @ 8/15

Chelsea may have the joint-second best defence in the Premier League, but the Blues have also shown their vulnerabilities at the back. Newcastle should have exposed them more last time out, but the Magpies only managed to score one – thanks to a defensive mix up.

Meanwhile, Arsenal have been poor at the back. No team in the Premier League’s top 10 has conceded more goals than the Gunners’ 32, while only Fulham (two) have kept fewer clean sheets than Arsenal (three).

Both teams have also been impressive in attack, scoring 86 goals between them and boasting the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Eden Hazard in attack.

Key Stat: Both teams have scored in six of the past eight matches between Arsenal and Chelsea.

Tip: Both teams to score YES @ 8/15 with BetBull – bet here

Odds correct at time of publishing (16/01/2019, 15:15)

18+ only. Ts&Cs apply. BeGambleAware.org

2. Eden Hazard to score anytime @ 5/4

With Maurizio Sarri unsure of his striking options, Eden Hazard has been thrust into the false nine role. Against some opposition, it has not worked, but the Belgian will undoubtedly be licking his lips ahead of Saturday’s match.

Hazard has scored five goals in 17 games against the Gunners, including two at the Emirates last season – in the Premier League and Carabao Cup. The Belgian had to settle for a substitute appearance in August’s game due to his World Cup run, but still had enough time to come on from the bench and set up Marcos Alonso’s winner.

Key Stat: Eden Hazard is one of just two players in Europe’s top five leagues to score 10+ goals and record 10+ assists, alongside Lionel Messi.

Tip: Eden Hazard to score anytime @ 5/4 with BetBull – bet here

Odds correct at time of publishing (16/01/2019, 15:15)

18+ only. Ts&Cs apply. BeGambleAware.org

3. Chelsea to win and under 3.5 goals @ 9/4

When these sides met earlier this season, a five-goal thriller had fans drooling with attacking football on display – though defensive competence was nowhere near to be seen.

Arsenal were perhaps unlucky not to have won that match, missing big chances in the first half, but their defence has not improved since then while Chelsea’s has to an extent.

Chelsea will fancy themselves for the trip to the Emirates, but with a certain lack of attacking power, may struggle to score more than two goals against the Gunners.

Key Stat: Chelsea last scored more than two goals in a Premier League game on November 4, beating Crystal Palace 3-1.

Tip: Chelsea to win and under 3.5 goals @ 9/4 with BetBull – bet here

Odds correct at time of publishing (16/01/2019, 15:15)

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