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Arsenal - Match Preview


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The Match
Chelsea will go head-to-head with title and London rival Arsenal in the first Premier League match of the weekend with the game set to kick off at 12.45pm UK time tomorrow. The reverse fixture at the Emirates Stadium back in December saw both sides played out a dull 0-0 draw but with so much more at stake this time around in the title race, the two teams will be looking to pinch the win that would hand them the advantage and momentum in the last two months of the season.

This will be the first meeting between Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger ever since they traded barbs last month and the now infamous “specialist in failure” comment made by the Portuguese on the Arsenal manager. The ‘no love lost’ relationship with the two is well documented and in what will be Wenger’s 1000th match in charge of the club, Mourinho could not help himself but to fire another small jibe at his counterpart despite everyone else seemingly indulge themselves in celebrating the landmark - incidentally, Chelsea also played Wenger and Arsenal in his 500th game 9 years ago and won 1-0 thanks to a goal from Drogba.

"I admire him and I admire Arsenal, because it's not possible to have 1,000 matches unless the club is also a fantastic club in the way they support the manager, especially in the bad moments and especially when the bad moments were quite a lot," said Mourinho in his press conference this morning. The Chelsea manager would definitely be looking to spoil the occasion for Wenger and claim the 3 points that would boost his team’s title chances while denting Arsenal’s own.

The host come into this game on the back of a shock defeat to Aston Villa last Saturday but have got back to winning ways on Tuesday – albeit in the Champions League – after comfortably beating Galatasaray to reach the quarter finals of the competition where they will face Paris St. Germain. That defeat aside, Mourinho’s side were unbeaten in 14 league games prior to last weekend and have been performing well consistently which has taken them to the top of table and hold no reason not to be confident when facing Arsenal tomorrow.

In contrast, the North London’s side form have been indifferent after winning just 2 of their last 5 Premier League matches including a 5-1 thrashing at Anfield in early February. However, the Gunners did pick up a morale boosting win against Tottenham at White Hart Lane last Sunday and will be looking to achieve the same result especially in the occasion they are involved in with their manager. It remains to see the approach Arsenal will take in this game as they have been more pragmatic this season as Wenger has deployed his players to play on the counter attack, when needed to, and brought on defensive players to shut down games, something rarely seen in previous seasons.

Both sides will be desperate to get the win to continue their title challenge as a draw will do neither teams any favour and will only benefit Liverpool and Manchester City. Chelsea would want to continue where they left off in the previous home league game by dispatching another London rival while Arsenal and Wenger would seek to beat Mourinho for the first time.

Team News
The Brazilian duo Ramires and Willian are suspended for this game having been sent off against Aston Villa. The former will serve the first of his three-match suspension while it will only be a one game ban for the latter and Ashley Cole is still out with a knee ligament injury. Otherwise, Mourinho have a full squad of players to choose from.

Provisional Squad: Cech, Schwarzer, Blackman, Ivanovic, Kalas, Cahill, Terry, Luiz, Azpilicueta, Mikel, Lampard, Matic, Schurrle, Hazard, Oscar, Salah, Eto’o, Torres and Ba.

Wenger have more injury concern than their opponent as Ozil, Ramsey, Wilshere, Walcott and Diaby are all injured with respective injury. Tomas Rosicky has an ankle problem and will face a late fitness test before the game while the Swedish midfielder Kim Kallstrom could be included in the matchday squad for the first time since being signed in January.

Provisional Squad: Szczesny, Fabianski, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Jenkinson, Monreal, Vermaelan, Flamini, Arteta, Podolski, Cazorla, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gnabry, Rosicky, Kallstrom, Sanogo and Giroud.

Stats and Facts
1. Chelsea are unbeaten in their last 4 Premier League games against Arsenal - W2 D2.
2. Chelsea have scored in 14 of out of their 15 home matches this season; Only West Ham have kept a clean sheet at Stamford Bridge.
3. Chelsea have the best home record in the Premier League this season - W13 D2 - while Arsenal have the best away record (along with Tottenham) - W9 D2 L4.
4. Chelsea have recovered more points from losing positions than any other team in the Premier League this season (14). (via Opta)
5. Only Chelsea and Arsenal are still unbeaten in this season's Premier League London derby; Chelsea - W5 D3 and Arsenal - W7 D1.
6. Only Chelsea have stopped Arsenal from winning a London derby this season - 0-0 draw at the Emirates in December.
7. Chelsea have won 6 of their 10 league matches (D3 L1) against the Top 7 this season including 5 out of 5 home wins while Arsenal have only won 3 of their 9 games (D3 L3) with all 3 defeats coming away from home.
8. Jose Mourinho has never lost to Arsene Wenger and Arsenal in 10 competitive matches - W5 D5.
9. Samuel Eto'o has scored 7 Premier League goals this season and all of them have come at Stamford Bridge.
10. Both Arsenal and Chelsea are level with West Ham United in keeping an unbeaten 13 clean sheets in the Premier League this season. (via BBC)
11. Only Liverpool (twice) have failed to score on fewer occasions than Arsenal (four times). (via BBC)
12. Arsenal have won away at Stamford Bridge more often than any other visiting side in the Premier League (7).
13. Arsenal have failed to score in the two games against Chelsea this season (0-0 in the Premier League and 0-2 in the Capital One Cup, both at the Emirates Stadium). (via Daily Mail)
14. Arsenal have won none of their last 11 Premier League meetings against Chelsea, Man Utd or Man City - D5 L6. (via Opta)
15. This will be Arsene Wenger’s 1000th competitive match as coach of Arsenal – his record in so far is W572 D235 L192. (via Opta)
16. The last five Premier League wins Arsenal have enjoyed at Stamford Bridge have all seen the Gunners come from behind to win. (via Opta)

Match Odds (Final Result/Full Time)
Chelsea WIN - 17/20
DRAW - 5/2
Arsenal WIN - 3/1

*Odds obtained from SkyBet*

Match Coverage (TV, Radio, Twitter)
Depending on where you are from, you can watch the match in the following channels:

United Kingdom: BT Sport 1
United States: NBCSN, NBC Sports Live Extra
Middle East: beIN Sports
Belgium: Sporting 2, Be Sport 1
Brazil: ESPN Brasil, ESPN3 South America, ESPN + Sur, ESPN + Andina
India: Star Sports HD 2 India, Star Sports 4 India

For additional regions, you can check out the TV schedule for the match here.

There should be many match streams that can be found online if your local sports channels are not broadcasting the game or if you happen to be busy and cannot catch the game live, follow TalkChelsea on Twitter as it would provide live match commentary on the action.

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