Arsenal vs Chelsea: Team News, Possible Lineups, Stats, Bets and Prediction

In what will be the 166th rendition of the London derby, Chelsea make the short 11-mile trip north to take on Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium

Chelsea fans have a general dislike for teams from the northern part of London. With their only local rivalry coming in the form of Fulham and QPR – both of whom keep yo-yoing between leagues, the Blues faithful have traditionally, for the lack of a better word, hated Tottenham. Not far behind on the list are the Lily whites’ next-door neighbours, Arsenal. Add to that the recent ‘rejection’ by former Arsenal hero Cesc Fabregas, who had a chance to rejoin the club that gave him stardom, Chelsea fans rub it in every chance they get.

In recent times, the Blues have come out on top more often than not. The last 9 league meetings between the two have ended in either a Chelsea win or a draw. The Blues also haven’t lost at Arsenal’s new home since December 2010. However, the Gunners have the upper hand when it comes to the overall history of league meetings – 62 wins against Chelsea’s 55. Make of that what you will, but when it comes to action on the pitch, there is sure to be no shortage of it.

Team news and tactics


In a week in which he begins his 21st year in charge of the Gunners, legendary French manager Arsene Wenger has little to worry about, as far as this match is concerned. Only Per Metersacker, Carl Jenkinson and Danny Welbeck are definitely out of the running for this match. Olivier Giroud and Aaron Ramsey face a late fitness test before the game.

Tactically, as always, they will be expected to line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation. While Wenger’s ‘passing the ball into the net’ philosophy is well-known and is a delight to watch, what we often forget is the ‘dirty’ side of the game. Arsenal, historically, have been strong defensively and like to build from the back – something Wenger must be given credit for.

Wenger begins his 21st year in charge of Arsenal (Photo courtesy EPA/ANDY RAIN)
Wenger begins his 21st year in charge of Arsenal (Photo courtesy EPA/ANDY RAIN)

In Shkodran Mustafi and Laurent Koscielny, they have two solid ball-playing defenders and the physical ability to stand up to their opponent on the night –Diego Costa. The Arsenal attack, possessing some of the marquee names of football, in a way, takes care of itself. The likes of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez can strike fear into any defence, but when the defence is as shaky as Chelsea’s, they must be licking their lips at the prospect.

What may prove to be crucial in this game, however, is the role of the double-pivot. Granit Xhaka has been in great goal-scoring form, but the French manager might choose to start his compatriot Francis Coquelin ahead of him, to counter Chelsea’s equally star-studded midfield. To partner him, the more forward-thinking Santi Cazorla might be his best option.

Probable lineup (4-2-3-1): Cech (GK); Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal; Coquelin, Cazorla; Iwobi, Ozil, Walcott; Alexis



In terms of team news, Chelsea will dearly miss John Terry, who will be out due to an ankle injury he suffered during the Swansea game. Kurt Zouma, a long-term absentee, will return to light training next week – a timely boost for the Chelsea defence.

To counter Arsenal, Chelsea too could line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation. There were some rumours that Antonio Conte could implement his favoured 3-5-2 in this game itself, but the unavailability of Terry might have thrown a spanner into the works.

The personnel that fill the positions should be the same as the ones against Liverpool, except one major change. Cesc Fabregas, after impressing in the win against Leicester and even in his cameo against Liverpool, could be recalled to a starting role to partner N’Golo Kante in the double-pivot.

Costa will continue to be a pain in the defenders’ neck and hope to continue his goal-scoring form. As opposed to Arsenal, Chelsea’s game is based more on the counter-attack and hitting the opposition with pace. In Eden Hazard and Willian, they have the perfect wingers to do exactly that.

Probable lineup (4-2-3-1): Courtois (GK), Azpilicueta, Cahill, Luiz, Ivanovic; Kante, Fabregas; Willian, Oscar, Hazard; Costa


Players to watch out for

Diego Costa (Chelsea)

Diego Costa will be crucial to Chelsea's chances. (Photo by Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images)
Diego Costa will be crucial to Chelsea’s chances. (Photo by Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images)

With 5 goals in 5 games to his name already, the Spaniard is setting the Premier League alight. Both Mustafi and Koscielny will be wary of the nature of his game, and could find it tough to contain him. Expect him to link up well with Hazard and Willian from either wing.

Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal)

Alexis Sanchez is in red-hot form for the Gunners (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Alexis Sanchez is in red-hot form for the Gunners (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Expected to start up-front in a ‘false nine’ again, the Chilean is a threat wherever he plays on the pitch. Be it his pace or his superb reading of the game, Alexis is an asset that every manager would love to have in his team. With 3 goals to his name already, the Chilean is bound to give nightmares to an already shaky-looking defence of Gary Cahill and David Luiz

Key stats

  • Chelsea have won more games (4) than any other visiting side to the Emirates
  • This will be Arsene Wenger’s 55th match against Chelsea – he has seen 11 managerial changes at Stamford Bridge during the time
  • Chelsea have prevented Arsenal from scoring in their last six meetings
  • Arsenal are going for a fourth league win on the trot for the first time since October 2015
  • If Chelsea lose, it will be Conte’s first back-to-back league loss for the first time since December 2009 while at Atalanta

Betting tips

The match of the game-week, this could just be Wenger’s best chance of breaking the chain of a series of poor results against the London rivals.

Both the teams have been on fire attacking wise and The Hard Tackle can see both of them score, while corners seem to be flowing a plenty in each of their games.

Favourable Bets:

  1. Both Teams To Score YES @ 1.61
  2. Over 11.5 Corners @ 2.00
  3. Diego Costa to score anytime @ 2.30

Underdog Bets:

  1. Red Card – YES @ 3.40
  2. Draw @ 3.50
  3. Both Teams to Score in  1st Half @ 4.00


Arsenal 1-1 Chelsea

Arsenal v Chelsea

In the end, we think the two teams will cancel each other out in terms of formation and personnel. Given Arsenal’s unexplained nervousness against Chelsea recently, in spite of them having the better attack most of the time, they might not be able to get the better of Chelsea’s defence. We sit tightly on the fence for this one.

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