Both Arsenal and Chelsea have not enjoyed the best of seasons though Chelsea currently sit in fourth place with 32 points while their hosts on Sunday, Arsenal, languish in 11th place with 24 points.
One ambition from new Arsenal manager, Mikel Arteta, will be to cut the gap between both teams, which is just the eight points and seven places.
With another 19 matches left in the season in the 2019/20 the mid-table cluster in the English Premier League season gives any ambitious team sitting between fourth and 13th place hope of finishing in the UEFA places.
The Gunners have not been firing at the Emirates, salvaging a meagre13 points from a possible 27 while Chelsea have been better away from Stamford Bridge, racking up 18 points from a possible 27.
Will this form be the norm on Sunday or will Arteta kickstart his revolution with a confidence-boosting win over their London rivals?
The former captain said he was happy with his team’s attitude after going behind away at Bournemouth.
“I’m very pleased with some of the things I’ve seen, in terms of attitude, character, the passion we showed, and the fight and spirit the team showed. It was spot on,” he said.
His selection on Sunday must be spot on, considering the number of major absentees. Rob Holding, Sead Kolasinac, Kieran Tierney, Dani Ceballos, Héctor Bellerin, Gabriel Martinelli, and Sokratis are injured though Calum Chambers returns after a one-match ban.
“We [Arsenal] have to give them [fans] enjoyment, we have to make their lives better and when we win, it will be better because they will be happier,” Arteta said on the Arsenal website.
Chelsea have struggled against teams that play a low block and pounce on the counter and the use of set plays. Arsenal have speed in forward areas but will Arteta set his team up to play on the counter in his first match at the Emirates?
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Chelsea captain, Cesar Azpilicueta, says consistency must be the ambition for his side. “It’s up to us to find always the consistency, the level to play home or away, against any team,” he told the Chelsea website.
While Chelsea have been good away from home, their three losses on the road have come against both Manchester teams and Everton.
Current Form: Arsenal [D-D-L-D-W]; Chelsea [L-W-L-W-L]
Head to head
29/05/19 UEL Chelsea 4 – 1 Arsenal
19/01/19 PRL Arsenal 2 – 0 Chelsea
18/08/18 PRL Chelsea 3 – 2 Arsenal
01/08/18 ICC Arsenal 1 – 1 Chelsea
24/01/18 LEC Arsenal 2 – 1 Chelsea
3 duels to watch
David Luiz v Tammy Abraham
Former Chelsea defender, Luiz, will be facing his former team for the first time and he will be pumped up. Against a nippy forward like Abraham, his concentration must be at 100%, whilst his communication with whoever partners him must be spot on. Abraham has found more joy away from the Bridge, scoring seven of his 11 league goals away and he will be looking for his 12th against London rivals.
Granit Xhaka v Mason Mount
The rumours are that Xhaka wants out of Arsenal in January though Arteta has waxed lyrical about the Swiss midfielder. One aspect of Xhaka’s game that will come under scrutiny on Sunday will be the quick use of the ball when he receives it near his box with the effervescent Mount ready to nip in.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang v Kurt Zouma
If Arsenal didn’t have Aubameyang’s goals, they would be in deeper trouble and he emphasised his importance to the team by getting the equaliser in Arteta’s first match. Against Zouma, who has improved in Chelsea’s backline and is fast and strong, the Gabonese’s guile will be needed to use any space afforded to him.
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