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Chelsea’s 3-1 defeat to Arsenal on Boxing Day last year was the beginning of the end for Frank Lampard, who lost his job less than a month later. The impressive victory also proved to be a false dawn for Arsenal, who have outdone themselves in terms of embarrassing results in recent months.
Arsenal went on a seven-game unbeaten run following that win over Chelsea but have since won just six of their last 14 league games in addition to being dumped out of the Europa League at the semi-final hurdle. They have probably done just enough to consolidate their place in the top ten and have no real hope of climbing any further in the league table, so their season is effectively over with three games to go.
Mikel Arteta’s side have little hope of taking anything from Stamford Bridge against a Chelsea side that will be very different from the one they battered at Christmas. The Blues have lost just one league game since Thomas Tuchel took over at the end of January and they now seem certain to finish in the top four.
A win on Wednesday would virtually guarantee their place in next season’s Champions League and allow them to focus all of their attentions on the FA Cup and Champions League finals. Victory against Arsenal would also be the perfect preparation for Saturday’s Wembley date with Leicester and they should have no problems collecting the three points.
Chelsea v Arsenal
Wednesday, May 12: 8.15pm
Sky Sports Premier League/ Main Event
Chelsea’s defensive record has been imperious since Tuchel’s arrival. The Blues have kept 11 clean sheets in 16 league games since the German’s arrival, conceding just nine Premier League goals. That record is even more impressive considering five of those goals came in a bizarre game against West Brom.
Tuchel’s Chelsea have kept a staggering 18 clean sheets in 25 games in all competitions since he took over and it is difficult to see Arsenal breaking them down on Wednesday. The Gunners have been toothless in a number of high-profile games this season.
Most recently, they mustered just one shot on target in a goalless draw with Villarreal as they exited the Europa League at the semi-final stage. In April, they managed just three shots during an insipid performance in a comprehensive defeat to Liverpool. They were also held scoreless by Everton who won at Arsenal since 1996.
It’s difficult to see a listless Arsenal breaking down such a rigid Chelsea defence on Wednesday night.
It’s fair to say that Werner has not lived up to his big-money price tag in his debut season at Stamford Bridge. The German has managed just six league goals in 33 appearances and appears to miss a big chance in almost every game he plays.
His record is certainly not flattering. Werner has attempted 72 shots on goal in the league this season, scoring one in every 12 shots he takes. His expected goals is also double his goalscoring tally. However, the German has clearly been getting in the right positions and showed adept finishing when he was flagged offside against Manchester City and Real Madrid in Chelsea’s two most recent games.
Chelsea have enjoyed the lion’s share of possession in almost every game they have played under Tuchel, utterly dominating most opponents they’ve come up against. Chelsea have averaged 14.6 shots a game in their 16 league games under the German and will expect to at least match that figure against an Arsenal side that has conceded a plethora of shots against every half-decent team they’ve come up against in recent weeks.
Hakim Ziyech, who averages more than two shots per start in the league, will hope to benefit from Chelsea’s dominance on Wednesday night.
Ziyech has not been a regular starter for Chelsea this season, but Tuchel may give the Moroccan forward a start as he looks to rest some of his key players ahead of the FA Cup final on Saturday. His well-taken goal against Manchester City at the weekend may also have bought him a second successive start.
It’s not beyond the realms of possibility that Ziyech will have three efforts on Bernd Leno’s goal on Wednesday and he is decent value to do so.
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