The top 4 race is heating up and Maurizio Sarri’s men know that they must take advantage of the slips of other contenders for the UCL qualification positions.
Chelsea travel to the Emirates to face Arsenal on Saturday in another London Derby which will have a major impact on the race for a finish in the top 4 places in the ongoing season.
Unai Emery’s Arsenal have been out of sorts lately and Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea have not been spectacular either. Regardless, both city rivals will be looking to deal a blow to each other’s top 4 aspirations.
Chelsea currently lead Arsenal on the Premier League log with 6 points but are being hotly chased by the recently revitalized Manchester United who now have their eyes on a top 4 finish after a brilliant run of form.
Therefore, a draw for Chelsea in the game might not be good enough but 3 points will suffice perfectly. However, it will be a very tough game for the Blues to emerge from with 3 points.
Ahead of the game, there has been a key departure at Chelsea with Cesc Fabregas off to Monaco. There could yet be more as Alvaro Morata continues to attract interest from Atletico Madrid.
Meanwhile, Chelsea are expected to complete a loan move for Gonzalo Higuain before the end of the week. In light of this., Maurizio Sarri may stick to his false 9 system as he has done in recent games with Eden Hazard being flanked by Pedro and Willian.
Mateo Kovacic who has recently returned from injury will definitely be preferred ahead of Ross Barkley. The other mainstay players in the team like N’golo Kante, Jorginho, David Luiz, Rudiger, Alonso, and Azpilicueta are all expected to keep their place.
Meanwhile, all eyes will be on Callum Hudson-Odoi and how he fits into this big game as news of a possible departure to Bayern Munich in search of regular first-team action continues to heighten. Can Maurizio Sarri hand the youngster a start? It remains to be seen.
Unai Emery’s Arsenal, on the other hand, will miss the likes of Danny Welbeck, Rob Holding, and possibly Henrikh Mkhitaryan for this one. The first game of the season between the two sides was a very open encounter, and it remains to be seen if the clubs will deploy the same approach in this fixture or tread cautiously.
Recent H2H meeting has seen Arsenal win 1, lose 8 and drawn 5 of their last 14 Premier League games against Chelsea. The Gunners are also yet to taste defeat in their last 12 Premier League London derbies at the Emirates, drawing 3, and winning the last 5 in a row.
The reliance on goals in this game will likely be on Eden Hazard for Chelsea and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for Arsenal. The two players have 22 goals between them, Hazard with 10, and Aubameyang with 12, thus making them the highest goalscorers for their respective sides in the season thus far.
The game will definitely be a cracker. Hopefully, the Blues can steal all 3 points while other results also go in their favor.