Chelsea to put the boot in

Ian Brindle previews the crucial Monday Night Football encounter between Arsenal and Chelsea.

Last Updated: 23/12/13 at 21:05 Post Comment

Chelsea can celebrate another victory at the Emirates Stadium

Chelsea can celebrate another victory at the Emirates Stadium

Arsenal v Chelsea (2000 GMT)

In the global village, there is no such thing as a local derby anymore and there are likely to be plenty of northwest-based viewers as Arsenal go head-to-head with Chelsea on Monday Night Football.

Following Arsenal's humbling at the hands of Manchester City, there was a predictable chorus across social media and the press that questioned whether the wheels will come off their season as a consequence, and while any team that concedes six is sure to feel the pain, Arsene Wenger is equally sure to concentrate on the positive of sticking three in at the other end.

Away from the hyperbole, Arsenal's home record has been typical of that required by champions. Following an opening day loss against Aston Villa, they have been unbeaten in seven games with six victories obtaining. That said, they were arguably a little lucky to come away with a share of the spoils against Everton as the Toffees were highly effectively in starving them of possession and momentum.

Jack Wilshere didn't exactly shine on that occasion, and his petulance has seen him an absentee from Monday night's fixture while at the back, Laurent Koscielny is also missing having suffered a gash to the leg last weekend.

I was happy to oppose Chelsea in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday and while comparisons between the outfit that lined up at Stadium Of Light and the team that will turn up at the Emirates are somewhat meaningless, it must worry Jose Mourinho that they failed to kill off a game in which they created plenty of chances.

Mourinho has played the media card spectacularly well en route to this game by ensuring that plenty of focus has been shifted onto the likelihood of Ashley Cole appearing on the bench against his former club, but this is a venue where the Blues have done well in recent seasons and they were 2-1 winners last term thanks to some exceptional goalkeeping by Petr Cech. Earlier this year, a strong XI knocked Arsenal out of the Capital One Cup and they have a generally excellent record when visiting the Gunners.

Monday's game is one where the effectiveness of the midfield players will decide its outcome and the experience of Michael Essien could mean Chelsea miss his presence after the tough-tackling midfielder picked up his fifth booking in just six appearances during the week.

Both teams are capable of attractive football but there is a steel fist within the velvet glove at Chelsea and having gained his team a penalty in somewhat controversial circumstances at Stamford Bridge last term, Ramires will be keen to impress his critics here.

Fernando Torres seems sure to return up front after being rested in the Capital One Cup while Lukas Podolski's availability should ensure he manages a place on the Arsenal bench with Olivier Giroud retaining striking duties.

Ordinarily, Chelsea's away form would make them a clear second best in this fixture with 11 points from an available 24, and six goals conceded against Sunderland and Stoke City in their last two starts.

However, they've shown an ability to produce performances at a time when it counts most and ahead of a vital Christmas period, three points here could really set the title race alight. I'll back them to do exactly that.

Verdict: Arsenal 0 Chelsea 1

Opta stats:

Chelsea have won eight and lost just two of the last 11 meetings with Arsenal in all competitions.

Jose Mourinho has never lost against Arsene Wenger as an opposition manager (W5 D4 L0).

The Gunners have conceded as many goals in their last two Premier League games (7) as they had in the previous 13.

  • This game is live in the UK on Sky Sports' Monday Night Football


    New Sky Bet customers: Free £30 matched bet


  • Related News

    Most Commented

    Readers' Comments

    L

    oved the article. i remember at school, after failing an exam, I would become obscenely secretly happy if I discover that others failed as well. Misery loves company...Now here is to hoping Chelsea joins the party and Stoke city wins the league...Cheers!

    gabu
    The Premier League: As Crazy As A Bag Of Snakes

    C

    haos reached its ultimate reckoning last weekend with Tony Hibbert looking assured at left back and Osman looking like a cultured ball playing midfielder before busting a gut to get to the back post for a Samuel Eto'o ball. Different chaos but chaos. If Kone scores the winner tonight I fear the world will end.

    jelasfirsttouch
    The Premier League: As Crazy As A Bag Of Snakes

    A

    beautiful demonstration of why stats mean diddly-squat in football.

    cheshire-gooner
    WhoScored's PL Team Of 2014 So Far...

    Footer 365

    La Liga: David Moyes says he wants to 'excite' Real Sociedad fans ahead of Elche clash

    David Moyes wants to "excite" Real Sociedad fans in his first home game in charge of the Basque club against Elche.

    Europa League: Benjamin Stambouli fires Tottenham to win over Partizan Belgrade

    Benjamin Stambouli's strike earned Tottenham a 1-0 win over Partizan Belgrade and a place in the last 32 of the Europa League.

    Europa League: Trabzonspor and Fiorentina among teams to reach last 32

    Trabzonspor and Fiorentina were among the teams to progress to the last 32 of the Europa League on Thursday night.

    Mail Box

    Arsenal Fans Are Full Of Hope Again...

    Arsenal fans have been sucked back into believing Wenger can bring the glory years back after beating Borussia Dortmund. Plus, more on Liverpool's worrying decline...

    Makes Sense To Make Gerrard Liverpool Manager

    That's the thoughts of one Mailboxer, who wants Jamie Carragher as defensive coach. Plus views on Arsenal, Malmo v Juventus, Alexis Sanchez & tremendous improvement...

    © 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property