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Premier League

  • September 29, 2012
  • • 12:45
  • • Emirates Stadium, London
  • Referee: M. Atkinson
  • • Attendance: 60101
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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

  PROBABLE LINEUPS

ARSENAL

Mannone

Jenkinson, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Gibbs
Diaby, Arteta, Cazorla 
Walcott, Giroud, Podolski
CHELSEA

Cech
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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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
25Vito MannoneGoalkeeper
5Thomas VermaelenDefender
6Laurent KoscielnyDefender
25Carl Jenkinson Defender
28Kieran GibbsDefender
24A. DiabyMidfielder
8Mikel ArtetaMidfielder
16Aaron RamseyMidfielder
19Santi CazorlaMidfielder
9Lukas PodolskiStriker
27GervinhoStriker
-Damián MartínezGoalkeeper
4Per MertesackerDefender
27Andre SantosDefender
5Johan DjourouDefender
12Olivier GiroudStriker
14Theo WalcottStriker
15Alex Oxlade-ChamberlainStriker
1Petr CechGoalkeeper
2Branislav IvanovicDefender
3Ashley ColeDefender
26John TerryDefender
23David LuizDefender
11OscarMidfielder
12John Obi MikelMidfielder
17Eden HazardMidfielder
7RamiresMidfielder
9Fernando TorresStriker
8Juan MataStriker
21Ross TurnbullGoalkeeper
24Gary CahillDefender
28César AzpilicuetaDefender
-Ryan BertrandDefender
-Oriol RomeuMidfielder
8Frank LampardMidfielder
-Victor MosesMidfielder
Players to Watch
A. Diaby
A. Diaby
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 24
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
The France international has put in a series of dominant performances this term but, of equal importance in this London derby, is Diaby’s efficiency in feeding the ball to Mikel Arteta and Santi Cazorla. Arsenal’s Spanish midfield maestros hold the key to the sort of fluent performance the home side need to wear down a resilient Chelsea side.
John Terry
John Terry
Position: Defender
Squad Number: 26
Games Goals YC RC
3 0 0 0
Never one to let off-the-pitch crisises affect his Chelsea performances, the Blues captain is likely to be relied upon to feature this weekend. The bullish centre-half will expect, and probably thrive off, a hostile reception from the Emirates faithful, but of more concern will be a resurgent Gunners attack.
Prediction
Both clubs remain undefeated in the league this season, though the west Londoners sit four points above Saturday’s opponents. However, with the Gunners taking strides forward in the strength of their defensive setup of late and boasting an array of potent attacking variables, this will be a game Arsene Wenger will think they can snatch.

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.
Editor's Prediction

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