Chelsea face their first home clash of the new season on Saturday evening, as they prepare to host Arsenal. The Gunners are kicking off a new era this season, with Uani Emery taking over from Arsene Wenger. They started with a defeat at home to Manchester City last weekend, so this is a difficult beginning for the former PSG boss. Can he get one over new Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri, or will the Blues continue their impressive start under their new boss?
Their 3-0 victory at Huddersfield last weekend was a great way for Sarri to take to life in England. He had been warning that his style was going to be a tough change for the players to adapt to, but they looked effortless against the Terriers. We got to see a little more from N’Golo Kante going forward, as he has been freed up by the move to put Jorginho in the middle of the central midfield trio. After a poor title defence, there’s plenty to get excited about for Chelsea fans, and that excitement will grow with a result against Arsenal this weekend.
Team News: Sarri Set to Stick with Principals in Huge Derby
The Blues are hoping to welcome back Cesc Fabregas ahead of the meeting with his former club. That will give them a clean bill of health going into Sarri’s first home league game. The former Napoli boss will be looking to bring Eden Hazard into the starting 11, after the Belgian made a late cameo a week ago. The forward looked impressive in the early stages against Huddersfield, and Sarri’s system could really suit him. Kepa and Jorginho made their debut last week, and both will keep their place in this clash.
Arsenal captain Laurent Koscielny won’t feature again in 2018, which is a blow for the Gunners. They’ve also lost Sead Kolasinac and Nacho Monreal, not ideal as Emery looks to fix their issues in defence. The new boss started with a 4-2-3-1 system in his first match since arriving in English football. They started just two of their summer signings, with highly rated Lucas Torreira missing out in the opener. After a poor performance by Petr Cech in goals there is every chance he may be dropped for this one.
The Gunners were full of hope ahead of the new campaign, thinking that things may finally change for them. A summer of signings and the addition of Emery as their new boss had raised expectations slightly. The build up to the new season was full of ex-pros telling us that players are going to try much harder under their new boss. However, that didn’t appear to be the case, as they were beaten 2-0 at home by champions City.
Their performance was incredibly Wenger-like during that defeat, showing that it’s not just a case of a new manager turning up. They have work to do in order to get this side up to scratch for a top four push, so the Blues might be doing well to get this game in early. They meet a side who won just four of 19 on the road last season, and the Blues are expected to add to Arsenal’s problems with a result at the Bridge on Saturday.
Chelsea v Arsenal Head to Head
Chelsea have seen their strong record against Arsenal evaporate over the last few years. They’ve failed to win in seven clashes with the Gunners, a run which started with the FA Cup final at the end of the 2016/17 season. Last term Antonio Conte met Arsene Wenger on several occasions, but the Italian simply couldn’t get the better of the Arsenal boss. It was a disappointing campaign all-round, but the results against Arsenal were one of the lowest moments. Sarri will be aiming to improve on that this weekend.
- Arsenal 1-1 Chelsea, Aug 2018
- Arsenal 2-1 Chelsea, Jan 2018
- Chelsea 0-0 Arsenal, Jan 2018
- Arsenal 2-2 Chelsea, Jan 2018
- Chelsea 0-0 Arsenal, Sept 2017
- Both Teams to Score – 8/13 with Ladbrokes
- Eden Hazard to score – 13/8 with BetVictor
Chelsea come into this clash priced up as the clear favourites, probably due to Arsenal’s awful away form last season. You can back the Blues at 4/5 with Coral for this clash, with the Gunners sitting out at 3/1 with Bet365. The draw is priced at 29/10 with Betfair, so there’s little doubt about who the bookies are backing in this clash. After an impressive result in the opener, it’s hardly a surprise that the Blues are being backed for another win. However, can they shake their poor record against the top six? After stalling against their Champions League rivals last season, Sarri needs to get the most out of the hosts here.
The Pensioners won just twice at home to the top seven, and their recent struggles against the Gunners are a worry going into this game. While Sarri’s Chelsea looked strong going forward last weekend, you have to question their defence ahead of another meeting with a major rival. They’ve switched back to a back four, and that is going to take time to get used to. Arsenal’s forward line is bound to pick up, and we can see them finding an opening against a Chelsea side who are adapting to a new shape. That has us tipping both teams to score here at 8/13 with Ladbrokes.
Hazard’s display off the bench last weekend delighted fans, and he seems set to stay at the club. He’s looking focused, aiming to take his World Cup form back to the Premier League. The forward has caused problems for Arsenal for some time now, and we think he’ll do the same this weekend. He’s bound to play a bigger role in Saturday’s meeting, and we think that he is great value to score any time here at 13/8 with BetVictor.