Arsenal and Chelsea will face each other in the final London derby before the turn of the year. The Gunners have been in a wretched run of form and one win from 11 league games sees them lying in the bottom half of the table and eight points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea.
Frank Lampard’s side have remained comfortably placed in the top four for most of the first half of the season but they have concerns of their own, having managed just two victories from seven top-flight matches. In fact, the Gunners have picked up more points (7) than the Blues (6) since the November international break.
Recent Premier League record:
Chelsea’s most recent meeting against the Gunners came in the final of the Europa League in Baku in May where they dominated the second half and picked up a comfortable 4-1 win. However, in terms of the Premier League, it has been neck and neck in the past few years and the Gunners have had the edge over the Blues at the Emirates Stadium with two wins and one draw from the past three meetings.
Players to watch out for:
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – Arsenal: Aubameyang had a couple of poor displays against Manchester City and Everton leading the line and he was hence shifted to the left side of the attack at Bournemouth with Alexandre Lacazette starting as the main striker. Aubameyang certainly produced a much-better performance with the opportunity to run at the defence from the left flank but his key impact came in the box, where he grabbed a vital equaliser for the Gunners in a 1-1 draw.
Meanwhile, Lacazette looked out of sorts as he was poor with his finishing and passing in the final third and it won’t come as a surprise, if the Frenchman is dropped to the bench for Aubameyang to start upfront once again. The Gabon international has been hugely instrumental towards the Gunners’ success in the attack and he has bagged 12 goals in the league which constitutes to 48 percent of the club’s goal tally this season.
Tammy Abraham – Chelsea: Similar to Aubameyang, Abraham has been a key contributor for the Blues and he has registered one-third of the club’s league goals (11) this term. At the start of the campaign, there were doubts whether Abraham could excel at the Premier League level, having managed just five goals during a season-long loan stint at Swansea City, when they were in the top-flight.
However, the England international has certainly benefited from a full season in the Championship with Aston Villa where he gained more experience and he is now regarded as the undisputed choice to lead the Blues attack. Still, he has yet to score against the so-called ‘big six’ and has a big chance to make a mark in the derby. Abraham has drawn blank in the past four league games but his good hold-up play and finishing skills should test a Gunners backline, which has remained vulnerable throughout the season.
The Arsenal players will surely be determined to impress in Arteta’s first home game as the Gunners manager. The Spaniard will want his team to play on the front foot but the same can be said about Frank Lampard, who has found good success with an attacking brand of football especially on the road, where the Blues have won six of their nine matches. Goals are certainly guaranteed with the defensive liabilities of both teams and we are anticipating a high-scoring draw.
Arsenal 2-2 Chelsea