Four matches to watch this weekend

Ngolo Kante Huddersfield Chelsea [Goal.com]
Ngolo Kante Huddersfield Chelsea [Goal.com]

Arsenal have not won at Stamford Bridge in their last seven visits and will seek to not start a season with two straight defeats for the first time in 25 years.

Also, two new managers on a new stage – Maurizio Sarri will lead out Chelsea for his first competitive outing at Stamford Bridge against visiting London neighbours, Arsenal, for whom Unai Emery’s reign started with a 2-0 defeat by Manchester City at the Emirates last week.

Current Form: Chelsea [W-L-D-L-L]; Arsenal [L-W-D-W-D]

Head to head

01/08/18       ICC     Arsenal         1 – 1   Chelsea

24/01/18       LEC     Arsenal         2 – 1   Chelsea

10/01/18       LEC     Chelsea        0 – 0   Arsenal

03/01/18       PRL     Arsenal         2 – 2   Chelsea

17/09/17       PRL     Chelsea        0 – 0   Arsenal

In their last 10 visits to Stamford Bridge in any competition, Arsenal have won once, drawn twice and lost seven, conceding 22 goals and scoring seven.

Arsenal will have Nacho Monreal back and Emery has stated that Lucas Torreira could start. Eden Hazard should start for Chelsea after his 15-minute cameo against Huddersfield.

 

Last 10 visits to Stamford Bridge

  1. 10/01/18       LEC     Chelsea        0 – 0    Arsenal
  2. 17/09/17       PRL     Chelsea        0 – 0    Arsenal
  3. 04/02/17       PRL     Chelsea        3 – 1    Arsenal
  4. 19/09/15       PRL     Chelsea        2 – 0    Arsenal
  5. 05/10/14       PRL     Chelsea        2 – 0    Arsenal
  6. 22/03/14       PRL     Chelsea        6 – 0    Arsenal
  7. 20/01/13       PRL     Chelsea        2 – 1    Arsenal
  8. 29/10/11       PRL     Chelsea        3 – 5    Arsenal
  9. 03/10/10       PRL     Chelsea        2 – 0    Arsenal
  10. 07/02/10       PRL     Chelsea        2 – 0    Arsenal

Prediction: Chelsea 2-1 Arsenal

Chievo Verona v Juventus @ Stadio Bentegodi @5pm on Aug.18

The six-time defending champions, Juventus, strengthened by Cristiano Ronaldo’s acquisition in the summer, will start their title defence away against Chievo.

It iis a daunting task for Chievo, who have scored just once against Juve in their last five matches, conceding five losses and 13 goals.

But the home side’s manager, Lorenzo D’Anna, who is old school will be ready to throw sand in the mix. Joel Obi will come in to strengthen the Chievo midfield, after he signed from Torino while the goals will be the product of direct threat down both flanks from former Italy international, Emanuele Giaccherini and Valter Birsa.

Juve were given the runaround by a young Madrid team two weeks ago so Max Allegri will send out a tactically astute side to ensure that result does not repeat itself. Watch out for the bromance developing between Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala.

Current Form: Chievo [W-L-L-W-W]; Juventus [L-W-W-W-W]

Head to head        

27/01/18       SEA     Chievo          0 – 2   Juventus

09/09/17       SEA     Juventus      3 – 0   Chievo

08/04/17       SEA     Juventus      2 – 0   Chievo

06/11/16       SEA     Chievo          1 – 2   Juventus

31/01/16       SEA     Chievo          0 – 4   Juventus

Prediction: Chievo 1-4 Juventus

Valencia v Atletico Madrid @Estadio de Mestalla on Aug.19 @7pm

Atletico are the UEFA Super Cup winners for 2018 and in that buoyant mood, they will go visiting Valencia at the Mestalla on Sunday, to who they have not lost in the last five confrontations in what should be an explosive encounter.

Valencia coach Marcelino Garcia Toral has instituted an attacking formation that relies on the speed of Carlos Soler and Goncalo Guedes, who was loaned from PSG last season. They have added Michy Batshuayi and Kevin Gameiro to a forward lineup that should deliver more goals this season.

For Atletico, their success is hinged on consistency and their good transfer abilities. This season, they have snagged Thomas Lemar, who will provide greater dynamism between midfield and attack and have retained the bullish Diego Costa with Antoine Griezmann.

Current Form: Valencia [W-W-D-L-D]; Atletico [L-W-D-L-W]

Head to head        

04/02/18       LAL     Atletico        1 – 0   Valencia

09/09/17       LAL     Valencia      0 – 0   Atletico

05/03/17       LAL     Atletico        3 – 0   Valencia

02/10/16       LAL     Valencia      0 – 2   Atletico

06/03/16       LAL     Valencia      1 – 3   Atletico

Prediction: Valencia 1-2 Atletico

Lazio v Napoli @Stadio Olimpico on Aug.18 @7:30pm

The season kicks off for new Napoli manager, Carlo Ancelotti away at the Olimpico, against a Lazio side, which continues to improve under Simone Inzaghi.

The home team will be hampered by the absences of some key players like their midfield warhorse, Lucas Leiva, Senad Lulic, and Patric are carrying suspensions from last season while Jordan Lukaku and Valon Berisha are doubtful because of injury.

Though there is still the dynamic trio of Ciro Immobile, Luis Alberto and Milinkovic-Savic, who provided the bulk of the goals last season.

Ancelotti meanwhile is trying to uproot the Maurizio Sarri template by favouring a central striker in a 4-3-3 formation and not the rotating carousel of possession that brought goals last season.

Current Form: Lazio [L-L-W-W-L]; Napoli [L-W-L-W-W]

Head to head        

10/02/18       SEA     Napoli           4 – 1   Lazio

20/09/17       SEA     Lazio              1 – 4   Napoli

09/04/17       SEA     Lazio              0 – 3   Napoli

05/11/16       SEA     Napoli           1 – 1   Lazio

03/02/16       SEA     Lazio              0 – 2   Napoli

Prediction: Lazio 1-2 Napoli


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