The Hard Tackle lists three players who can have influential roles to play when Chelsea visit the Emirates to face Arsenal.
There has been a power shift in London, steadily heading towards Arsenal, ahead of Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur. The Gunners have proof of it with their position on the table and come into this clash with Chelsea with an incredible 36 points separating the two sides.
Arsenal are on course to do the double over their London rivals, and this should not come as a surprise as some would suggest. Arsenal have won five of their last six games against Chelsea in the Premier League. But the Blues last tasted success at the Emirates last season.
🗣️| Mikel Arteta on how he sees the title race now:⁰
“Win tomorrow [vs Chelsea] – that’s what we have to do. Within the disappointment and the spirit around [the club], we need to do two things – recognise what a lot of people around the club have done to get us back into the… pic.twitter.com/k9WS126ZJx
— Arsenal Buzz (@ArsenalBuzzCom) May 1, 2023
The power shift has been astonishing since, with Arsenal going on to becoming favourites for the Premier League title and Chelsea speaking in the same breath as the relegation sides. Such have been the contrasting fortunes of these London giants.
The new owners at Chelsea have stopped at nothing regarding spending. Regardless of how sensible their outlay has been, they intend to build a super team. In contrast, Arsenal have been very particular about their targets and how they want to use their money, which has achieved their success, albeit for now.
Yet, these two contrasting teams meet on Tuesday evening to claim the throne of London. Not so much for Chelsea, considering they remain desperate for a win. For the Gunners, a victory is a chance to stay relevant in the title race, despite the widespread belief that Manchester City are clear favourites for it.
In the game at the Emirates, three players will have influential roles to play. The hot topic of discussion among the Arsenal chatters has been their fledgling defensive ranks, with Rob Holding the centre-piece of the downfall.
Chelsea have failed to score at home in seven Premier League games this season:
◎ 0 vs. Arsenal
◎ 0 vs. Man City
◎ 0 vs. Fulham
◎ 0 vs. Southampton
◎ 0 vs. Aston Villa
◎ 0 vs. Liverpool
◎ 0 vs. Brentford
The most times it's happened in a single PL campaign. pic.twitter.com/dYArCcSe8l
— Squawka (@Squawka) April 26, 2023
At Chelsea, many have been waiting to see what a British transfer record fee gets you. Enzo Fernandez will have all the focus on him from a Chelsea perspective. Meanwhile, Mykhailo Mudryk will hope to show he made the right decision by joining the Blues instead of Mikel Arteta’s side.
We will focus on three players: Ben White, Gabriel Martinelli and Enzo Fernandez. They have unique qualities in different areas of the pitch. Martinelli will want to prove his doubters wrong after the Manchester City performance, while Ben White will have his task cut out by the presence of Mudryk on his flank. So let’s dive into what to expect from these stars in this clash.
Chelsea have undoubtedly improved as a unit. But the results are nowhere near achievable. With the acquisition of Enzo Fernandez in January, there was a feeling the move would stabilise the side and bring some control in games.
— Enzo Fernández (@Enzo13Fernandez) May 1, 2023
Instead, the problems persist, and Fernandez is yet to find his true calling at Chelsea. The Argentine needs to showcase true class and will maintain an important status for Chelsea in their clash against Arsenal at the Emirates.
The midfield area has been a problem for Arsenal in recent weeks. Lampard and Fernandez have to figure out a way to bypass the likes of Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka to wield control of the area and dictate play. Fernandez can control the tempo of games. But he has been lacking many things so far.
However, against Arsenal, he will have to be on his toes, considering there is the added threat of Oleksandr Zinchenko, who operates from the middle. The key to winning this game is to control the central areas, and the Argentine must showcase his best.
Arsenal are likely to play without the pressure of the Premier League and being top of the table. For 247 days, they maintained their top spot, and now the gloves are off. Ben White has a crucial part to play here, considering how weak the defence has been in the last many games.
Ben White has 7 goal contributions for Arsenal in the PL
He's moved up a Level💯 pic.twitter.com/nD4R5MZptO
— UpYourArsenal🔴⚪🔴⚪♥️ (@UPYOURARSENAL04) April 25, 2023
Ben White has occupied the right-back spot and made it his own this season. However, only a few times has he faced a player that dominates the area over him. In Mykhailo Mudryk, he might have a different test, with the player coming here with a point to prove.
Ben White has also had added responsibility with the absence of William Saliba on the side. He has done more towards protecting the defence, which has rendered Bukayo Saka alone ahead on the right flank. This season, the key to Arsenal’s attacking play has been this side and the combination of the full-back and the winger.
If Ben White can find the right balance with his defensive play and contributions to the attack, he could have a fabulous game against Chelsea. For now, he remains a key player of focus for this clash, and his battle with Mudryk or whoever plays on that flank will grab the attention.
Arsenal’s top scorer this season, Gabriel Martinelli, recently linked with Barcelona, has the unique chance to become the youngest player ever to score 20 goals. He is currently on 15, and there is a good chance for him to increase that tally against Chelsea.
If Martinelli scores tomorrow night, he will become the highest scoring Brazilian in a single PL season 🇧🇷 pic.twitter.com/nIlzVAztl4
— Le African Gooner (@leafricangooner) April 25, 2023
The Blues come into this game in terrible form, and the right-back slot is one of their weakest spots on paper. The prolonged absence of Reece James and Trevoh Chalobah’s lack of pace may cause them some problems on that flank.
Chalobah has been good under Graham Potter in that indifferent position. But Lampard has not used him much there. With Cesar Azpilicueta looking out of his depth, the academy star remains the only true prospect to take that position. He will have to face the threat of Martinelli, who remains hungry for goals and to prove a point after that Manchester City performance.
Martinelli will carry Arsenal’s goalscoring burden yet again. But if he starts alongside Leandro Trossard, it will be a field day for Chelsea and their defenders. All eyes will remain fixed on the Brazilian and what he can do to that Chelsea wide defensive ranks.