Two of the big six’s fierce London derby rivals meet this weekend when Arsenal and Chelsea bring very different opening weekend results to the Emirates Stadium (Watch at 11:30am ET Sunday on NBCSN and live stream online at NBCSports.com).
Arsenal struggled and labored in a 2-0 loss to newly-promoted Brentford while UEFA Champions League-winning Chelsea sauntered past Crystal Palace.
Mikel Arteta is missing key pieces Alexandre Lacazette and (probably) Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, while the game comes too soon for new addition Martin Odegaard.
Chelsea won’t have Christian Pulisic after the fully-vaccinated USMNT star tested positive for COVID-19.
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Arsenal news, injury, lineup news
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette are trying to return from COVID-19, but Lacazette has not returned to training and Aubameyang only has a single day in the books. The club wasn’t able to register new signing Martin Odegaard in time but there are scenarios in which they could get Aaron Ramsdale registered in time for the tilt with Chelsea.
$70-million center back Ben White has also joined Aubameyang and Lacazette on the COVID-19 list.
🗞 Our team news for #ARSCHE 🗞
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) August 22, 2021
QUESTIONABLE: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (illness), Alexandre Lacazette (illness) | OUT: Ben White (COVID-19), Thomas Partey (ankle), Gabriel Magalhaes (knee), Eddie Nketiah (ankle)
Chelsea news, injury, lineup news
Thomas Tuchel will not have Christian Pulisic available after the fully-vaccinated American tested positive for COVID-19 (He’s said he’s feeling no symptoms).
Lukaku starts for the Blues! 👊
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) August 22, 2021
But Romelu Lukaku could re-debut for Chelsea as Tuchel hopes fitness allows the striker into the fold Sunday.
As for the status of N’Golo Kante, whose ankle is injured, and Hakim Ziyech, who had a sling on his arm after a shoulder injury suffered in the UEFA, here’s Tuchel:
“Hakim and N’Golo were both in training today. They have done everything since yesterday to be in training today,” Tuchel said. “They have had absolutely no problems so we absolutely have to have more physical and intense training sessions tomorrow with them and the team.”
QUESTIONABLE: Romelu Lukaku (isolation), N’Golo Kante (ankle), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (COVID-19) | OUT: Hakim Ziyech (shoulder), Christian Pulisic (COVID-19).
Odds and ends (provided by our partner, PointsBet)
The oddsmakers would see an Arsenal win at home as a decent upset, paying at +360, while a Chelsea win pays just -130. A draw also seems unlikely at +255.
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It does, indeed, seem like the definite absences of Lacazette and Odegaard plus possible absences for Aubameyang and Partey are a lot to ask of Arsenal, though the Gunners will still be smarting from the loss to Brentford. But Chelsea will be missing Pulisic and possibly Kante while also hoping Romelu Lukaku hits the ground running. We can’t get ourselves to an Arsenal win. And we really can’t find a draw in us, either. Arsenal 1-2 Chelsea.
How, where to watch Arsenal – Chelsea stream and start time
Kick off: 11:30am ET Sunday
TV Channel: NBCSN
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com