In recent times, Chelsea vs. Arsenal at Stamford Bridge has meant one thing to the betting community: a home banker.
Regardless of the form of the two sides at the time, the Blues have always emerged triumphant. Even in 2015/16, when Jose Mourinho thought it’d be a laugh to immediately drive a title winning side into the ground, Chelsea ran out comfortable 2-0 winners.
Arsenal’s last win at the Bridge was 5-3 in 2011, but the odds of a repeat scoreline are understandably 500/1. With good reason too, as Chelsea have won the last five meetings in west London by an aggregate score of 15-2. Ouch.
The home side’s price with Paddy Power is 3/4. A licence to print money, you might think. Is there any hope for Arsenal, at 7/2? After being walloped 4-0 by Liverpool, the Gunners have at least won their last two matches. They were both at home against teams in the bottom two in their respective leagues though. This will be a far tougher challenge.
A look at their stats from away matches against other teams in the big six over the last couple of years does not suggest an Arsenal win either.
It would be unfair to expect Arsenal to dominate the stats in the toughest of matches, as no away team does. But on a game-by-game basis it’s just as ugly.
The obvious headline is the Gunners haven’t won any of these matches. But they have also only had more of the shots and more of the shots in the box once in the eleven games too. Arsenal fans will have to cling to the fact their team has had more Opta-defined big chances than their opponents four times in these heavyweight clashes.
But not against Chelsea, and it’s not as if the Blues have struggled under Antonio Conte on this front.
In the Italian’s 21 home league games in charge, Chelsea have only had fewer big chances than their opponents twice.
The opponents responsible were Liverpool and Manchester City though, so perhaps Arsenal can follow their lead and upset the Blues after all. If all else fails, maybe Wenger can blind the opposition using his jacket.
Let's not let the poor performance, result or fan behavior distract from the fact that Wenger's jacket has a F*CKING LUMINOUS PINK LINING! pic.twitter.com/VsLa3A6rd7
— Paddy Power (@paddypower) September 14, 2017
Since a first day meltdown against Burnley though, Chelsea have won their last four games by an aggregate score of 12-2. Yes, half of those goals came against the might of Qarrier Bag FK, but the Blues’ form is good right now.
As for other bets, both teams to score (at odds of 4/7) looks a likely outcome. It has happened in three of Chelsea’s league games so far, and though Arsenal have yet to score away from home this season, that run can’t last for ever? Both teams found the net in 13 of the Gunners’ league awaydays last season, and only West Ham, with 14, saw it happen more often on the road.
Away from the result itself, the battle of the new boys dominates the first scorer market. Alvaro Morata is the 16/5 favourite, and no team in the Premier League has scored more headers than he has so far this season. I’m sure when Kolasinac and Bellerin study this preview, they’ll take note to block crosses like their lives depend on it.
Lacazette leads the market for Arsenal players scoring first. The Frenchman is yet to score on the road though.
In fairness, he barely played at Anfield in the Gunners’ last away match, but then neither did the whole team. He’s also running hot, with two goals from just six shots, so this may not be the game in which to back him. He did score 12 first goals last season though and only Cavani, with 17, bettered that in Ligue 1. If he’s your man, he’s available at 11/2.
If you’re looking for longer odds in the first goal scorer market, let’s take a look at who is due a goal on either side. It’s too early in the season for a really lengthy barren run to have built up, but top of the tree is Mesut Ozil.
The German is 9/1 to score first, and this season has had nine shots without finding the net. He’s not known for scoring on the road (or playing well, come to that), as he has only scored ten Premier League goals away from the Emirates in four seasons. But he’s due a goal, and has converted 13% of his non-penalty shots in the English top flight historically, so perhaps he won’t have too long to wait.
He’s also more likely to start than Chelsea’s current top shooting goal-less wonder: Willian. That said, the Blues’ #22 put in a man-of-the-match performance in midweek so might have bagged a spot in Conte’s XI on Sunday. The Brazilian has had seven shots without scoring in the league this season, but has only scored 7% of his non-penalty shots in the Premier League to date. He’s also only scored three league goals at home in the last year, and one of those was against Sunderland on the final day, so shouldn’t really count for much. He can be backed at 7/1 to score the first goal here.
If you fancy an even longer first scorer punt, Granit Xhaka has had nine shots without scoring in 2017/18, and currently has odds of 22/1 to net the opening goal. As 43 of his 45 shots in the Premier League have been from outside of the box I’d steer clear, but what do I know? It’s your money. Spend it wisely, my friends.