CHELSEA v Arsenal: Preview

Date: Saturday 4th February 2017
Venue: Stamford Bridge
Kick-off: 12:30 GMT

Today’s early kick off sees us take on an Arsenal side who thumped us 3-0 in September. Mind you, when we suffered that defeat, we were in a very different place to the one we find ourselves in going into this game. When we went to the Emirates, Arsenal were three points ahead of us, yet a defeat today would leave them 12 points behind.
Thanks to the management of Antonio Conte, a change in formation and a change in mentality, we go into this game top of the table with 13 wins from 14 at home in all competitions. Arsenal meanwhile, come into today’s game off the back of a defeat at home to Watford and Wenger won’t want them dropping any more points here if they’re to keep up with the chasing pack.

MANAGER’S VIEWS
Going into today’s game, Chelsea boss Antonio Conte says “Anything can happen. It’s important to keep the antenna very high. If someone thinks that the league is finished, I’m not so sure. I want to have this tension, this right tension. In the past I fight to win the title and I know we must pay great attention. There are 15 games to play and there are a lot of great teams behind us.”
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger meanwhile, says “When we beat them [Chelsea] I didn’t expect them to win 13 games in a row. They have found a better balance, defensively, and they are very good in transition. I watched their game on Wednesday night against Liverpool – N’Golo Kante had a huge impact on their team. It is no coincidence they are in the position they are in, and Leicester were the same last season. [Eden] Hazard and [Diego] Costa have come back to strong form, so they are efficient going forward.”

SQUAD NEWS
For Chelsea, there are no fresh injury concerns.
For Arsenal Aaron Ramsey and Santi Cazorla are injured, Mohamed Elneny is away on Africa Cup of Nations duty and Granit Xhaka is suspended. Olivier Giroud and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain face fitness tests, although Danny Welbeck should return.

TEAMS
CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Courtois; Azpilicueta, Luiz, Cahill; Moses, Kanté, Matic, Alonso; Pedro, Costa, Hazard
ARSENAL (Possible line-up): Cech; Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal; Coquelin, Chamberlain; Walcott, Ozil, Alexis; Giroud

LAST SEASON
Chelsea 2-0 Arsenal (19th September 2015)

RECENT FORM (PL)
CHELSEA: DWWLW
ARSENAL: LWWDW

OTHER STUFF
~ Arsenal have lost their last four games at Stamford Bridge, conceding 12 goals and scoring just one.
~ Chelsea’s 3-0 defeat at Arsenal in September was their first loss in 10 Premier League meetings
~ Arsenal have not done the league double over Chelsea in the same season since 2003-04
~ Chelsea have won 13 of their 14 home matches under Antonio Conte in all competitions, including their last 10.
~ The only home game Chelsea have failed to win this season was the 2-1 defeat by Liverpool on 16 September.
~ Chelsea have won eight successive home league matches, scoring 24 times and conceding just three.
~ Chelsea have kept 13 clean sheets in the league this season
~ Arsenal have lost three of their last eight league games
~ Arsenal have conceded seven penalties in the Premier League this season
~ Arsenal have lost only two of their last 11 Premier League matches against London sides, both to Chelsea.
~ Arsenal have scored in 14 successive league matches, the best current run in the division.

PREDICTION
BBC Sport: Chelsea 2-0 Arsenal
SKY Sports: Chelsea 3-1 Arsenal
Sportslens: Chelsea 3-1 Arsenal

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