Premier League Preview: Chelsea vs. Arsenal

AP Photo/Alastair Grant
0 Comments
  • Gunners won Community Shield match 1-0
  • Chelsea: four-match PL clean sheet streak vs. Arsenal
  • Arsenal leads all-time 72W-54D-59L

Chelsea hopes its midweek Champions League win helps embolden its form into a marquee match-up with Arsenal at Stamford Bridge early Saturday morning (Watch live, 7:45 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra).

The Blues handled Maccabi Tel-Aviv on Wednesday, but have just four points through five Premier League matches this season. Arsenal has the opposite form, falling to Dinamo Zagreb on Wednesday but sitting fourth in the PL with 10 points.

It’s no surprise that the rival bosses see Saturday’s match different. Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger observes an opportunity to build off Derby momentum from the Aug. 2 win at Wembley, while Jose Mourinho thinks otherwise.

“It’s just Chelsea against Arsenal,” Mourinho said. “It’s a match we want to win. If it’s a pre-season friendly match it’s the same, I want to win.”

Mourinho would go on (see below) to slyly betray his point a bit, mentioning Chelsea’s dominance of Arsenal in the Premier League. And does “preseason friendly” mention nod towards the Shield?

What they’re saying

Mourinho on the singular meaning of this match: “I want to isolate the match from every context. Our fantastic record against Arsenal doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter they haven’t beaten Chelsea for seven matches in the Premier League. It doesn’t matter they beat us in the Community Shield.”

Wenger on the Community Shield win over Chelsea“For me, what is important is that Arsenal win games,” he said. “It can sometimes be a mental block for the players or the team when they do not win against certain teams. On that front it was good [to win the Community Shield]. What you expect from these kinds of games is [that they are] always high intensity, full commitment and of course you want to prepare for that and play with a full focus.”

Prediction

Is there a better spot for Eden Hazard to snap out of his funk? Look for a lot of creative battling here. Arsenal may expect Chelsea to “park the bus”, and it’s safe to assume the Gunners will find a way past John Terry and Asmir Begovic at some point. But look for Chelsea to have just a little more desperation, home field advantage and a little more cutting edge. Blues, 2-1 (But if Arsenal scores first at the Bridge, look out).