There’s no doubt that the pick of the Premier League matches comes right at the end of the weekend, with this fixture taking place on Monday evening due to broadcasting requirements. After suffering a heavy defeat to Manchester City last week, Arsenal’s position at the top has become unstable and opponents Chelsea could actually leapfrog them with three points on Monday.
For months and months the pundits have been claiming that Arsenal don’t have what it takes to mount a serious title challenge and there’s no doubt that this month will highlight whether or not they are made to be contenders. After falling victim to Manchester City’s terrific home record last weekend, the Gunners have another tough task as they host Chelsea. With the Blues trailing the leaders by just two points, it means that defeat is not an option if Arsene Wenger wants to keep his side on the straight and narrow. Their loss to City happened to be their second in a row in all competitions and if we are to look at the club’s form from an even more negative perspective, they’re without a win in three matches. However, at home they have looked very encouraging, having won seven of their last eight at the Emirates Stadium.
Chelsea meanwhile seem to be plagued with inconsistencies. On one hand, Jose Mourinho keeps claiming that his side are performing well, but on the other he is regularly bemoaning his strikers who are suffering a real drought in front of goal. These frailties were highlighted in their recent loss to Sunderland in the League Cup, with the Stamford Bridge being knocked out following a late goal in extra time. It will also be interesting to see how the club fare with this next test on the road, after losing out to Stoke in their most recent top flight away outing.
In terms of team news, Arsenal were dealt a blow this week after the FA decided to ban Jack Wilshere for two matches after his offensive gesture in the Manchester City game. It gets worse for the Gunners at the back as well, with Laurent Koscielny unlikely to feature after being forced off with a knee injury in that game. Chelsea in contrast have already announced that Ashley Cole won’t be featuring, as he drops to the bench for Cesar Azpilicueta at left back. Elsewhere, John Terry will return to the heart of the Blues’ defence, but there won’t be a place for Michael Essien who sits out through suspension.
As for a prediction, we think this game could end in a draw. Arsenal appear to be suffering a bit of a dip in form, while Chelsea have not shown the best signs of form on the road this term. Bearing this in mind, our tip is going to be a 1-1 scoreline at the Emirates.