Blues Ready For Stamford ShowdownStats
Chelsea v Arsenal
The only two unbeaten sides remaining in the Premier League meet at Stamford Bridge on Sunday when Arsenal take on Chelsea.
The Blues have flown out of the traps this season in an eager attempt to rectify last season’s unsuccessful title bid, dropping just two points in their opening six Premier League games to lie three points clear at the top of the table. Their only failure to win came at champions Manchester City, when former hero Frank Lampard denied them victory with a late equalisier after coming off the bench.
It’s been plain sailing for Jose Mourinho’s side otherwise with wins against Burnley, Leicester, Everton, Swansea and, most recently, Aston Villa, with all their wins coming by at least a two goal margin. They’ve averaged more than three goals a game in the league, albeit at the expense of some defensive solidity the Portuguese has been famed for, as they’ve conceded seven.
Diego Costa has been a revelation since signing from Atletico Madrid in the summer, the striker has scored eight Premier League goals in six, including the second in their 3-0 win over the Villans last weekend and a hat-trick at Everton.
Arsene Wenger’s men have earned a win and two draws both home and away in their six league games, most recently battling to a 1-1 draw with bitter rivals Spurs at the Emirates last weekend when Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain cancelled out Nacer Chadli’s opener for the visitors. Their only wins have come against Crystal Palace on the opening day of the season and a depleted Aston Villa two weeks ago but they remain inside the Champions League places on goal difference, six points behind the leaders.
Danny Welbeck hit a hat-trick against Galatasaray in an easy 4-1 win for the Gunners in the Champions League in midweek, a first in senior treble for the former Manchester United attacker, who has four in five games since joining the London club on deadline day.
Brazilian midfielder Ramires remains a big doubt for Chelsea with a groin problem, while Didier Drogba is expected to miss out with an ankle injury. Those are the only likely absentees for Mourinho though meaning Cesc Fabregas should line out against the club he played for more than 200 times while Costa should also start for the third time in a week despite ongoing concerns about a recurrent hamstring problem.
Midfield duo Aaron Ramsey and Mikel Arteta were both added to Arsenal’s considerable injury list last weekend when they were forced off against Tottenham, joining Mathieu Debuchy, Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott, Yaya Sanogo and Serge Gnabry on the sidelines. Spanish defender Nacho Monreal is in contention again though but Abou Diaby is still lacking in match fitness.
Arsenal suffered a humiliating 6-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge last season, were held to a goalless draw by the Blues in the reverse league fixture and knocked out of the Capital One Cup by the Blues at the Emirates, failing to score in any of the three games.
The Gunners have now failed to beat Chelsea in their last six clashes.
The 4/6 on a home win might look quite short against another supposed title contender who are unbeaten in the league but it’s hard to see any other outcome here with a formidable outfit missing only two peripheral figures against a side without five likely starters.
The 17/10 on a win for Chelsea on a -1 handicap could also be worth getting on board with while the 7/2 on a first or last goal and even money shout for a goal anytime for the lethal Costa has to be snapped up.