Arsenal will be looking for the first victory against Chelsea since 2011 as they welcome their London rivals to the Emirates on Saturday.
That torrid run of results against the Blues has seen Arsenal fail to even score a goal against Chelsea since 2013, suffer a 6-0 humiliation at Stamford Bridge for Arsene Wenger’s 1,000th game as Arsenal manager, and have players sent off in both outings against Chelsea last season.
However, Arsenal are the team with the momentum heading into this weekend, having won three straight in the league and earned a valuable point away at PSG in the Champions League. Chelsea on the other hand, haven’t won a Premier League match since August, having lost to Liverpool last week and drawn with Swansea earlier this month.
Both teams registered victories this week in the league cup – Arsenal winning 4-0 against Nottingham Forest, Chelsea beating Leicester City 4-2.
Arsenal’s win saw new signing Lucas Perez get off the mark with a pair of goals, while fellow new signing Granit Xhaka scored his second goal for the club, which like his first, was a long-range stunner struck from well outside the box.
Despite Perez’s two goals against Forest, with Olivier Giroud still working his way back from injury, Wenger is more than likely to deploy Alexis Sanchez at striker again.
The Chilean is Arsenal’s most capable attacker, although the jury is still out on whether playing at center forward is really the best outlet for his talents. Aaron Ramsey is still out with a hamstring injury and will also be unavailable.
In midfield, Wenger is likely to go with the experienced duo of Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin.
On the blue side, look for Diego Costa to get the start up top. Cesc Fabregas, with his history as an Arsenal player, will almost surely be involved, either as a starter or off the bench. Meanwhile defender David Luiz will also likely make his first appearance against the Gunners since rejoining Chelsea last month.
While Chelsea have had the better of the Gunners for the past half decade, this is familiar territory for Wenger, but less so for his counterpart in the Chelsea dugout, Antonio Conte. The Italian tactician has yet to register a Premier League win over a “top four” team since taking the helm last summer. After beating the likes of West Ham, Watford and Swansea earlier this season, Conte has seen his team struggle against stronger teams.
While Chelsea have generally held a psychological edge over Arsenal in recent seasons, Conte’s relative inexperience in English football and the team’s shaky confidence from losing to Liverpool could give the Gunners the leverage they need to end their losing streak against the Blues.
Watch Arsenal vs. Chelsea this Saturday, September 24 at 12:30pm ET on NBC Sports.