The last time these teams met, it was something of a watershed. Chelsea won the Europa League final to ensure Arsenal wouldn’t qualify for the Champions League.
It was Maurizio Sarri’s final game in charge of the Blues, and it may have well been Unai Emery’s last for Arsenal, for all the good he did them this season.
So instead we have a meeting of managerial midfield maestros. Not that either of them had a good record against their opponent here; Mikel Arteta only won five of his 17 career games against Chelsea, while Frank Lampard was only victorious in 12 of his 43 appearances against the Gunners.
Blimey, he must have been playing an incredibly long time ago.
Predicting football matches is hard work, as you never know when a long run of form is going to end.
Chelsea had lost four of their previous five league games prior to their recent trip to Tottenham, and hadn’t won away at one of the big teams in the league for over two years.
So, what happened? They won easily, of course, but then followed it up with a home defeat to Southampton.
As this will be Arteta’s first home game in charge, can he immediately turn around Arsenal’s wretched home record this season? The Gunners have won just three of their nine league games at the Emirates in 2019/20, and their underlying numbers are even worse.
Arsenal have only had more shots on target than their opponents at home twice, whereas Chelsea have done this in seven of their nine away matches so far.
So unless studying at the knee of Pep has made Arteta into a miracle worker, we can expect Chelsea to dominate the stats.
Paddy has the Blues as the 13/10 favourites, showing what faith he has in Guardiola’s knees.
But then Arsenal have a good home record against Chelsea – winning three and drawing one of the last four – and Emery’s only Emirates league losses to other top teams both came against Manchester City.
I told you predicting match outcomes isn’t easy.
Best Bet: Arsenal to win – 15/8
Will there be goals?
When it comes to looking at how many goals there might be and whether both teams will score, most fixtures tend to have an established pattern. This one is all over the place.
Last season, Arsenal lost 3-2 at Stamford Bridge before winning the return game 2-0. The season before, there were two 0-0s at Chelsea in the league and League Cup, but a 2-2 and a 2-1 home win at the Emirates Stadium.
For all that Arsenal have struggled in front of their own fans (or anyone’s) this season, they’ve still found the net against every visiting side except the current champions. The problem is, Bournemouth are the only away team who haven’t scored too.
Chelsea have had the same records on the road, only failing to score in their first match and only keeping a clean sheet in their most recent. On average there have been over three goals in Arsenal’s home league matches this season, and over four in Chelsea’s away games. By that logic, we have to expect more of the same.
It’s difficult to predict how Arteta will set out his side for this, in only his second-ever match in management.
The logical choice for a goalscorer bet would be Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, as he has 12 league goals when no other Gunner has more than five.
However, Alexandre Lacazette leads him 5-4 on league goals scored at the Emirates this season. The Frenchman is one ahead on non-penalty goals against the big six at home since the start of 2018/19 too. I’d keep my powder dry until the teams are announced, but Lacazette may prove to be the smart choice if he’s in the team.
Best Bet: Alexandre Lacazette to score – 13/10
Only three players had scored a Chelsea goal at the home of one of the other top teams since the start of last season prior to their trip to Spurs, and Willian wasn’t one of them. I went for Pulisic, and he didn’t even get on. Cheers, Frank.
So this time I’m going for Tammy Abraham. Seven of his 11 league goals in 2019/20 have been scored on the road, and he’s had 10 shots in the box without scoring in his last four league starts.
Best Bet: Tammy Abraham to score – 10/11
* All odds correct at time of posting.