Team news, stats and prediction ahead of Arsenal vs Chelsea in the Premier League on Sunday; kick-off 4.30pm.
Arsenal could welcome back captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for Sunday’s London derby at home to Chelsea.
Aubameyang missed the 2-0 loss at Brentford after returning a positive Covid-19 test, as did fellow striker Alexandre Lacazette, goalkeeper Alex Runarsson and winger Willian.
Willian could also return while Lacazette and Runarsson are still missing, as are defender Gabriel Magalhaes (knee), striker Eddie Nketiah and midfielder Thomas Partey (both ankle), while new signing Martin Odegaard is not available as he awaits a visa.
Christian Pulisic will miss out for Chelsea after testing positive for Covid-19.
The USA forward is fully vaccinated and has not experienced any symptoms, but is in self-isolation.
Midfielders Hakim Ziyech (shoulder) and N’Golo Kante (ankle) could return, while £98m recruit Romelu Lukaku may make his second Chelsea debut.
How to follow
Arsenal vs Chelsea is live on Sky Sports Premier League from 4pm; kick-off 4.30pm. Sky Sports customers can watch in-game clips in the live match blog on the Sky Sports website and app. Highlights will also be published on the Sky Sports digital platforms and the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel shortly after the final whistle.
Last time out…
Prediction: Jones Knows writes…
Arsenal have won the last three meetings in all competitions between these two – and gave me one of my most enjoyable ear cupping moments of last season when I tipped them up at 4/1 to win this very fixture. However, many things have changed since then. But the two most important factors are: Thomas Tuchel is now manager and Romelu Lukaku is their centre-forward. Chelsea are a different animal.
During Tuchel’s reign, Chelsea rank first for goals conceded (13), clean sheets (12) and shots on target (117). The basis for a title-winning side is there. So, what’s been missing? Lukaku, that’s what.
During that same period, they ranked 15th in the Premier League for shot conversion rate (nine per cent). It’s worth noting that Lukaku scored 24 league goals last season, four more than the combined total of Timo Werner (6), Tammy Abraham (6), Olivier Giroud (4) and Kai Havertz (4). Lukaku is the difference maker.
Meanwhile, Arsenal still look in the early stages of a huge rebuilding job. They got bullied all over the pitch in the defeat at Brentford and didn’t possess the finishing skills required to seriously test a very inexperienced defence. Mikel Arteta’s young side might get another lesson here in what it takes to play title challenging football.
I’m not one for steaming into an odds-shot but I’m all over Chelsea at 3/4 with Sky Bet. They are a must for the weekend accumulators.
SCORE PREDICTION: 0-2
BETTING ANGLE: Chelsea to win to nil (15/8 with Sky Bet)
- Arsenal won both of their Premier League matches against Chelsea last season, last winning three in a row against the Blues in the competition between January 2003 and February 2004.
- Chelsea have only won three of their last 14 games against Arsenal in all competitions (D5 L6), losing each of their last three games against the Gunners (2020 FA Cup final, both 2020-21 Premier League meetings).
- Arsenal are opening their league season with two London derbies – against Brentford and Chelsea – for a second consecutive season, having played Fulham and West Ham last season. Prior to this, they’d only done so once, in 2015-16, while Chelsea have only started a league campaign with two London derbies in 1989-90 previously, against Wimbledon and Queens Park Rangers.
- Chelsea have won their last four away Premier League London derbies, last winning five in a row between January 2005 and January 2006 under José Mourinho.
- Arsenal haven’t beaten Chelsea in any of their last 10 Premier League meetings on a Sunday (D2 L8) since winning 2-1 in November 2008 at Stamford Bridge. The Gunners are, however, unbeaten in their previous eight Premier League Sunday matches overall (W6 D2).
- Chelsea have won 15 of their last 20 away Premier League matches in August (D3 L2), although this is their first away league match against Arsenal in this month since 1984, when they drew 1-1 at Highbury with Kerry Dixon cancelling out Paul Mariner’s opener for the Gunners.
- Though they’ve won their first home league game in each of the last two campaigns, Arsenal have lost their first league match at the Emirates in five of the last 10 seasons (W4 D1). The Gunners had only lost their first home league game in five of the previous 29 seasons.
- Arsenal (who ranked 11th for total shots in the Premier League last season) had more attempts than any other top-flight side on MD1 (22). However, the Gunners failed to score, and had just the 13th highest expected goals figure (1.2).
Essential Football Podcast: Will Lukaku get off to a flyer for Chelsea at Arsenal? Plus: Pogba’s best role for Man Utd and the lowdown on Watford’s new stars
After a blockbuster opening weekend of the Premier League we’re gearing up to go again, with Arsenal vs Chelsea a headline fixture and set to feature the Blues’ new striker Romelu Lukaku. Peter Smith is joined by Gerard Brand, Adam Smith, Nick Wright, and Ron Walker to look ahead to another big round of games…
PART 1: Will Romelu Lukaku fire Chelsea to a Premier League title challenge? And are Arsenal really in crisis? We assess both sides who go into a London derby in contrasting moods.
PART 2: Paul Pogba starred in Man Utd’s win over Leeds with four assists – so how does Ole Gunnar Solskjaer keep getting performances like that out of him? And with Raphael Varane primed for his debut, do Man Utd now have all the pieces in place to become champions?
PART 3: Watford returned to the Premier League in style with a 3-2 win over Aston Villa on the opening weekend. We tell the story behind some of their new signings and examine their prospects this term. Plus we hear how a drive down the M6 was transformative for Brighton defender Shane Duffy…