Arsenal v Chelsea Cheat Sheet
Arsenal v Chelsea
If you had told most Arsenal fans they would have been in a title race before the season started they would have called you a liar, but a strong season from the Gunners means they will finish at least 2nd this season. While Arsenal pushed Manchester City all season, it is now widely expected that Manchester City will go on and clinch the trophy. Arsenal’s 4-1 loss last week to Manchester City meant they are now 4 matches without a win, Chelsea in their poor run of form may be the perfect team to come up against. It is clear that the injury to William Saliba has really cost them this season and with his return date still unknown, Arteta will try with Holding at centre back yet again as they look to get back to winning ways.
Chelsea are in a terrible place right now, they are 8 games without a win and have lost all 5 of their matches since Frank Lampard took over. Chelsea’s season has gone so badly that they are level on points with Bournemouth right now and have slipped below Crystal Palace to 12th in the league. Chelsea will be without a large number of players for this match, they have no Reece James, Cucurella, Mount or Koulibaly although Kai Havertz is expected to be fit enough for this match after some knee problems.
Sterling has started in 4 of Lampard’s 5 matches in charge, he was only rested in the second leg against Real Madrid when it was generally recognised that the tie was already over. Lampard has played Sterling as a winger again as well as up front and clearly has a lot of trust in the Englishman. Raheem Sterling has averaged 1.16 fouls per 90 but has committed a foul in all of his 4 starts under Lampard.
Sterling likes to press in transition straight after Chelsea lose the ball and against tactical players he struggles to win the ball back and often commits fouls. Against Arsenal, Chelsea will look to press instantly after losing the ball and Sterling will lead this if up front, and he should commit a foul here.
Arsenal’s wingers are very tough to play against, especially Bukayo Saka on Arsenal’s right wing. The young Englishman attempts 4.63 take-ons per 90 and has attempted the most take-ons of any player in the league this season. His dangerous dribbling game sees him draw a lot of fouls, Saka draws 1.78 fouls per 90 and has been fouled in 19 of his 24 matches since the World Cup break. Due to Marc Cuccurella’s injury, Ben Chilwell will definitely start at left back for Chelsea in this match.
Chilwell has played in 4 of Lampard’s 5 matches in charge so far, committing a foul in all of them. Chilwell has averaged 0.94 fouls per 90 so far this season and clearly commits a lot of fouls against high-quality teams as he has committed at least 1 foul in all seven Champions League appearances so far this season. Chilwell will have Saka running at him a lot in this tough away match at the Emirates so I expect him to commit at least 1 foul.
Lampard went for a team with 4 midfielders in the 2nd leg against Real Madrid and while they lost that match 2-0, they played well, winning 1.9-1.8 on xG. Lampard went with a very similar formation in Chelsea’s 2-0 loss to Brentford in their last match and I expect them to do the same here, to try and keep possession against a high-pressing team. All three of Brentford’s centre midfielders committed a foul against Chelsea in their last game, with 2 of the 3 committing at least 2 fouls as they struggled to deal with all of Chelsea’s midfielders.
I expect similar problems for the likes of Thomas Partey here, the defensive midfielder has averaged 1.35 fouls per 90. Partey has particularly struggled in all of Arsenal’s poor performances recently, he has committed at least 2 fouls in all of his last 4 matches and committed 2 fouls in Arsenal’s previous league loss. Chelsea may have struggled to score recently but they still get a lot of men forward and create a lot of chances, Partey will have his work cut out. Partey has committed a lot of fouls in matches recently against 4 midfielders in the middle I would expect him to struggle here and commit 2 fouls.
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