Arsenal v Chelsea Betting Preview: Latest odds, team news, tips and predictions
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Arsenal have stuttered in recent weeks, which has allowed Chelsea to open up a six point gap over their rivals in fourth spot. To add further pressure on The Gunners, a resurgent Manchester United have now gone level with them on points, with only goal difference separating the two. This now means that this is a must win game for Arsenal as a loss here may signal the end of their Champions League hopes, with a nine point gap probably too much to close over the remainder of the season.
Gunners fans could have been forgiven for thinking that their team had turned a corner under Unai Emery, with a run which included 11 straight wins and 22 games undefeated in all competitions signalling his new era. However many games were won in the second half with late goals, which may have masked the true progress being made. In recent weeks, Arsenal’s weak underbelly has again been exposed, with West Ham last week defeating The Gunners by outmuscling their London rivals.
Chelsea have also been patchy at times since their stunning victory over champions Man City, with points being unexpectedly dropped in a loss at home to Leicester and a draw against Southampton. This has kept Arsenal and Man United both interested, and their use of Hazard as a false striker has blunted some of their attacking play in recent weeks.
Maurizio Sarri certainly has an issue up front, with big money signing Morata failing to live up to his price tag and Olivier Giroud not gaining the managers confidence, the burden has fallen on Eden Hazard to lead the line. This isn’t the preferred position of Chelsea’s talisman and with Cesc Fabregas leaving for Monaco and Jorginho’s form having dropped, Chelsea are grinding out results rather than running away with games.
Arsenal will be likely to restore Lucas Torreira to the starting lineup and Emery has been boosted in recent weeks with the return to action of captain Laurent Koscielny and Hector Bellerin. Danny Welbeck and Henrikh Mkhitaryan however remain long term absentees.
Chelsea still have injury doubts over Alvaro Morata, but given his form and a potential January move, he is unlikely to start either way. Sarri is likely to persist with Eden Hazard in the ‘false nine’ role, with a view to ensuring that Chelsea do not lose the game at The Emirates. Ruben Loftus-Cheek remains out with Sarri unlikely to make changes from the team that won against Newcastle last week.
Arsenal will go into this game knowing that they need to get a home win if they are going to have a realistic chance of overhauling their London neighbours. This leaves Chelsea with the same conundrum as Liverpool against Man City – whether to stick or twist in maintaining or further opening up their points gap over The Gunners. Sarri will look to dominate the midfield with Kovacic and Kante in the hope of them overpowering the the likes of Guendouzi and Xhaka, who have have been found wanting at times. A player with the ability to unlock Chelsea’s defence is Mesut Ozil, but it has been something of a mystery as to why he doesn’t even make the bench, despite it being reported that he is fit to play. The uncertainty surrounding Arsenal’s biggest players and the loss of Ramsey at the end of the season may derail this current one.
This bodes well for Chelsea, and with their attacking front three of Hazard, Willian and Pedro all being blessed with pace, this is likely to be a difficult game for Arsenal.
Bet365 start the game with Chelsea as favourites, but the odds are still over evens at 13/10. This represents great value for a Chelsea win and it is our view that this is an offer that should be taken.