football

Chelsea v Arsenal: Will The Blues Take Another Step Towards The Title?

February 03, 2017

- Grant Whittington

Given the hyperbole that surrounds the Premier League, you could be forgiven for thinking that football did not exist prior to 1992. This is certainly the case when we consider rivalries such as the one that exists between London rivals Chelsea and Arsenal, with the Blues having held the upper-hand over the course of the last 12 years.

In fact, the two clubs have met 188 times since their first clash back in 1907 (which the Blues won 2-1), with Arsenal having prevailed on 73 occasions as opposed to Chelsea’s 61. This is the good news for Arsene Wenger’s men as they head into the 189th meeting at Stamford Bridge this weekend, where they must win to keep their faint title hopes alive.

How Are Both Sides Shaping Up?

Recent history is certainly against the Gunners, who have beaten Chelsea twice in their last 12 encounters. While Arsenal fans will be quick to point out that one of these victories was secured during a 3-0 win at the Emirates in September, however, the Blues have won a staggering 15 of their subsequent 17 league games since. They have suffered just one defeat during this time, while their lead at the top of the table (and over third-place Arsenal) has been extended to nine points.

The Gunners themselves have showcased some patchy form throughout the season. The impressive win against Chelsea has been offset by some truly shambolic displays, such as the 4-3 reversal at home against Liverpool on the opening day of the season and the shock, 2-1 defeat against Watford last time out. Altogether, Arsenal have won six and lost three of their last 10 league outings, while they have also been defeated on four occasions overall.

Such inconsistency will be a concern heading into the game with a confident and metronomic Chelsea side, while Wenger’s bizarre admission that his side were not mentally prepared for the game against Watford was even more worrying. You can rest assured that no such doubts will plague Antonio Conte’s impressive Chelsea outfit, whose professional display in securing a 1-1 draw at Anfield last time out underlined their status at champions elect.

The Last Word: Who Will Win?

The current Premier League title odds have Chelsea as clear favourites, while they are also favoured to win against Arsenal at the weekend. Certainly they have the form and the momentum to extend their impressive run against the Gunners, while their mental fortitude and consistency (when allied with home advantage) makes it hard to look past a home win.

Local derbies are difficult to predict, however, while Arsenal’s ability to go from the sublime to the ridiculous means that they cannot be discounted. They also have the incentive of having to win to maintain any lingering title hopes, and while this knowledge did not help Liverpool to beat the Blues it may inspire talents such as Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil to come to the party.

We are backing the Gunners’ old failing to resurface, however, with Chelsea likely to emerge with a narrow, but decisive, victory.

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