Premier League Preview: Chelsea vs. Arsenal

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  • Arsenal won 3-0 in September
  • Wenger 19W-14D-18L vs. Chelsea
  • Arsenal leads all-time 73W-54D-61L

Arsene Wenger has matched wits with Antonio Conte just once, an Arsenal win earlier this season, but he knows Saturday morning’s opponent at Stamford Bridge is a very different Chelsea (Watch live at 7:30 a.m. EDT on NBCSN and online at NBCSports.com).

The Blues went on their record-equaling 13-match win streak following that loss, joining them with Arsenal in the Premier League record books.

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That run helped Chelsea to where it is now, atop the PL with a nine-point cushion over Liverpool and Arsenal. Completing a season sweep would open the door just a crack to title chasers.

Wenger will be in the stands serving a touchline ban for pushing an official, and Conte thinks that could affect the proceedings.

Conte also hasn’t forgotten the first meeting, obviously, and vows to use that memory to help flip the script.

“September’s defeat away against Arsenal is always on his mind, and he hopes it is on the mind of his players too.”

What they’re saying

Wenger, onn trying to sign Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante: “Yes! When he was in France, when he was at Leicester. We cannot explain everything, but it is quite obvious when you look at where he has gone. I do not want to talk more about that. Transfers are transfers.”

Chelsea’s Cesc Fabregas on playing with Diego Costa: “It’s not the same thing to play with a striker like let’s say Diego Costa or Thierry Henry than David Villa, or Eduardo when I was at Arsenal, they are a bit sharper on the short move, on the shorter run and maybe you have to play closer to them. With Diego, maybe even with Van Persie, Adebayor and Thierry, it was that you could have more distance but you know the feeling that we had set it up.”

Prediction

I’d rather not predict any match involving Arsenal this season, a club capable of looking like Barcelona or a high-priced Sunday League team on any game match day. At the Bridge, it seems foolhardy to completely bet against Chelsea. But we’ll hedge. 1-1.