The 202nd North West London derby between Arsenal and Chelsea is one of major consequences. Arsenal, under Mikel Arteta, are in desperate need of the three points to kickstart a season that promised so much on the back of a successful 2019/20 season but has failed to get off the ground while Frank Lampard is looking for consistency from a youthful squad packed with talent.
This derby is one that almost always goes to the team in form though the 11 points and 10 places that separates the two on the EPL table is not too big a margin to make up after just 14 matches of the season but Arteta needs his players, especially the more experienced ones like David Luiz, Granit Xhaka, and Willian to set a good example for the younger ones because the reverse has been the case for most of the season.
Before Chelsea lost back-to-back to Everton and Wolves, they were on a 14-match unbeaten run after the acquisition of Edouard Mendy to replace Kepa Arrizabalaga plus the form of former PSG defender, Thiago Silva, who seems to have stabilized the Chelsea defence.
Arteta said in his pre-match press conference, “We’re trying to respond every week and for different reasons we’re not picking up results. We should have won against Burnley, against Southampton, against Everton.
“We have to turn things around. This bad luck affecting our results has to change dramatically because with those margins it’s very complicated to win matches in the Premier League.”
It is the worst start to the season by an Arsenal side in 45 years and Arteta knows, despite all the good words from the board, that his time is ebbing away with every defeat.
Injuries and absences
In the absence of their flying full backs, Reece James and Ben Chilwell, Chelsea were able to get back to winning ways with a 3-0 win over a stubborn West Ham side. Arsenal have had to prosecute their last two matches without top scorer, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang though Granit Xhaka is back in contention for Arteta.
History of the derby
The Gunners have 77 triumphs to the Blues’ 65. Their first league clash was at Stamford Bridge on November 9, 1907 before a 65,000-strong crowd. Memorable clashes include the 6-0 thrashing delivered to Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal on the occasion of his 1000th match on March 22, 2014. But Wenger had his day at Stamford Bridge on October 29, 2011, when Arsenal beat Chelsea 5–3, coming from behind twice, with Robin van Persie notching a hat-trick. Former Blue, Didier Drogba is the derby’s leading scorer – with 13 goals.
The Gunners have been the more successful in England – with 13 league wins to Chelsea’s six and 14 FA Cup wins to Chelsea’s eight but in Europe the Blues have been the more successful. The Blues have won one UEFA Champions League, two Europa Leagues, two Cup Winners’ Cup and one UEFA Super Cup as against just one UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup and one Inter-Cities Fairs Cup won by the Gunners.
Eight players have made the journey across London from Chelsea to Arsenal while five have moved directly from Arsenal to Chelsea. Notable Blues that became Gunners are: Petr Cech, David Luiz, Willian, William Gallas, George Graham, Bill Dickson, Lassana Diarra, and Yossi Benayoun. Those that have moved from Arsenal to Chelsea are Tommy Doherty, Allen Young, Tommy Baldwin, Ashley Cole, and Olivier Giroud.
Managers’ Quotable Quote
“The best medicine in these situations is to win a football match. Every defeat is another hurting moment, another disappointment, another moment that you have to lift yourself up, and that takes a lot of energy.” – Mikel Arteta, Arsenal Manager
“I’ve got huge respect for Mikel and for Arsenal. They have a quality set of players and that’s the team I’m preparing for on Boxing Day.” – Frank Lampard, Chelsea manager
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