Arsenal make the short trip to West London to take on Chelsea in the Premier League, looking to stop a three-match losing skid that has taken a good deal of the wind out of the sails at the club. A result or two would turn the morale around quickly, and what better time to start than in a London derby? Even though it feels as if a 4th-place finish is slipping away, points-wise, it’s still very much on the cards. That is if the Gunners start scoring some goals.
The Gunners aren’t playing poorly, per se, but they aren’t playing great either. They’ve mostly had atrocious “luck” over the last four matches, both in terms of goals scored and goals conceded. On both xG and xGa separately, we’re in a world that happens less than 2% of the time. And when you take the two together, the specific outcomes in terms of goals scored and conceded over the last four matches happens .03% of the time.
The Blues are looking to avoid three straight home losses for the first time since 1993. The third straight home match they lost back then? To Arsenal. Chelsea’s form overall is pretty good, although they seem to be in the midst of a “play really well or play really poorly” streak. Here’s hoping not-good Chelsea show up at Stamford Bridge today.
The Blues will be without Mateo Kovacic (ankle) and Ross Barkley (illness) who are both out short term. Callum Hudson-Odoi (back) and Ben Chillwell (knee) are long term absences. Romelu Lukaku will start up top for Thomas Tuchel, but the Chelsea manager does not expect his fitness to last for 90 minutes.
Arsenal see Alexandre Lacazette return to the bench after missing out at the weekend with a positive COVID result. Takehiro Tomiyasu is “very, very close” to a return but wasn’t fit enough to make the bench for the Gunners. Kieran Tierney is out for the season. Thomas Partey is likely to miss the rest of the season, but something in my gut tells me he might make a surprise return for the final match or two.
Arsenal - Ramsdale, White, Gabriel, Holding, Tavares, Xhaka, Elneny, Saka, Ødegaard, Smith Rowe, Nketiah
Chelsea - Mendy, James, Christensen, Sarr, Azpilicueta, Loftus-Cheek, Kante, Alonso, Mount, Lukaku, Werner
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