Arsenal - Chelsea Preview: Di Matteo's table-toppers face undefeated Gunners in London derby
The Blues have kept clean sheets in their last three Premier League matches but face an Arsene Wenger side boasting an array of on-form attacking options
By Josh Clarke
Jenkinson, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Gibbs
Diaby, Arteta, Cazorla
Walcott, Giroud, Podolski
Ivanovic, Terry, Cahill, Cole
Mikel, Lampard, Ramires
Hazard, Torres, Mata
Theo Walcott, after scoring a double against Coventry, is unlikely to see his midweek League Cup involvement take him out of Arsenal Wenger’s thoughts, especially with Gervinho misfiring spectacularly against Manchester City. Olivier Giroud, who scored his first Arsenal goal on Wednesday night may replace the Ivorian, with Walcott having to make do with a place on the wing.
Thomas Vermaelen (illness) returns and could force Per Mertesacker to drop to the bench, with the Belgian linking up with Laurent Koscielny to recreate the centre-half pairing that served the home side so well last term. Long-term absentees Jack Wilshere (ankle), Bacary Sagna (leg), Tomas Rosicky (Achilles) and Wojciech Szczesny (foot) remain out until next month.
Frank Lampard and Daniel Sturridge (hamstring) should recover in time for the visit to the Emirates though only the former is likely to feature from the off.
John Terry’s recently imposed four-match ban will not start until after the appeals process has been concluded so the Blues captain should remain in the starting line-up defence, as Roberto Di Matteo finds himself with a full squad to select from.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Victory over Chelsea would hand Wenger his 350th Premier League win as Arsenal boss.
- Compared to last season, Arsenal are 10 places higher, have five more points and a goal difference which is 15 better.
- Vito Mannone (91%) has a better saves-to-shots ratio this season than Petr Cech (88%).
- Mikel Arteta (pictured, right), who will be in line to make his 250th start in English football, has averaged 111 touches per game this season, more than any other player in the Premier League.
- Chelsea have not conceded a goal in the Premier League for over a month, with Reading's Danny Guthrie the last man to breach their backline.
- The Blues have not conceded in 331 minutes - Danny Guthrie's goal for Reading in August being the last.
- John Terry is one goal away from 50 for Chelsea.
- Branislav Ivanovic is in line to make his 100th start for the Blues.
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Top 3 Predictions
Arsenal 1-2 Chelsea FC
- 14.79 %
Arsenal 3-1 Chelsea FC
- 14.61 %
Arsenal 2-1 Chelsea FC
- 12.7 %
|England - Capital One Cup(League Cup) (CCUP)||Oct 29, 2013||Arsenal 0 - Chelsea FC 2|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Jan 20, 2013||Chelsea FC 2 - Arsenal 1|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Sep 29, 2012||Arsenal 1 - Chelsea FC 2|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Apr 21, 2012||Arsenal 0 - Chelsea FC 0|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Oct 29, 2011||Chelsea FC 3 - Arsenal 5|
|Dec 8, 2013||Arsenal 1 - Everton 1||EPL|
|Dec 4, 2013||Arsenal 2 - Hull 0||EPL|
|Nov 30, 2013||Cardiff City 0 - Arsenal 3||EPL|
|Nov 26, 2013||Arsenal 2 - Olympique de Marseille 0||UCL|
|Nov 23, 2013||Arsenal 2 - Southampton 0||EPL|
|12||John Obi Mikel||Midfielder|
Chelsea have only scored once in their last two Premier League encounters – against Stoke and QPR – and this potential impotency could cost them at the Emirates.