Match Preview: Chelsea v Arsenal (Premier League)
Premiership leaders Chelsea take on fifth-placed Arsenal in the London derby at Stamford Bridge this afternoon.
Luiz Felipe Scolari’s side will look to clinch full points against Arsene Wenger’s Gunners, who will be out to avoid third successive league defeat following their losses against Aston Villa and Manchester City.
The Blues can ill afford any slip-up with the title race neck and neck as Liverpool, who have same number of points as the west London club, take on West Ham United on Monday. Last weekend, both joint-leaders were involved in separate goalless draws.
Good news for Arsenal though, Chelsea have a long list of injury-enforced absentees with Juliano Belletti (ankle), Michael Essien (knee), Ricardo Carvalho (knee) and Franco di Santo (hamstring) out with Joe Cole likely to be forced to miss the game due to an ankle injury against Bordeaux in Champions League 1-1 draw on Wednesday. Didier Drogba, who seems to have a knack of scoring against Arsenal, is banned.
Arsenal, who won 1-0 against Dynamo Kiev in midweek, are set to be boosted by the return of Emmanuel Adebayor, Bacary Sagna (both ankle) and Samir Nasri (knee). However, Abou Diaby (abdominal strain), Kolo Toure (calf), Theo Walcott (shoulder) and Emmanuel Eboue (knee) are sidelined.
Gunners tactician Arsene Wenger has insisted that his side can beat the west-Londoners, who lost their unbeaten run in the league at home earlier in the season when they were beaten by Liverpool.
“We are written off. You cannot say when you are 10 points behind that we are favourites to win the championship, but you can say as well the only way we can get back into it is to believe we can.
“That is why we want to go into this game on Sunday by believing we can beat them because we know we can. That is all you want your players to do.”
Predicted Starting XI
Sagna – Gallas – Silvestre – Clichy
Denilson – Fabregas (c) – Song – Nasri – van Persie
Match Prediction: Chelsea 3-0 Arsenal
Gooner Talk will provide live coverage of this Premier League clash on GoonerTalkTV. Post-match highlights will be avaliable at midnight for those of you who were unable to watch the game.
Leave your views and predictions of this evening’s game in the comments section below.