Arsenal v Chelsea
Venue: Emirates Stadium
Kick Off: 17:30
Referee: Michael Oliver
Summer signing Shkodran Mustafi is likely to continue his partnership with Laurent Koscielny despite Gabriel’s return from injury in the midweek EFL Cup win.
Granit Xhaka is fighting for a starting position after coming off the bench and scoring against Hull plus he scored in the week.
Olivier Giroud has returned to training but Aaron Ramsey still has a hamstring problem and won’t be seen until after the international break.
Club captain John Terry remains on the sidelines with the injury sustained at Swansea.
Cesc Fàbregas could be given a starting berth against his former club after his two goals in midweek.
Long time absentee Kurt Zouma is set to return to training next week.
Arsene Wenger is likely to recall the eleven that started against Hull last weekend after making wholesale changes in the EFL Cup.
After a slow start the Gunners are up and running with three wins on the bounce and in the process have clocked up nine goals in those games.
Chelsea have stuttered you might say. They drew 2-2 with Swansea, when decisions didn’t go their way, and on Friday night football didn’t really turn up in their defeat versus Liverpool.
Antonio Conte will want a reaction from his players following that loss and they could do it in this London derby.
The Blues were forced to extra time in midweek against Leicester when two goals from Cesc Fàbregas were enough to see off the ten-men.
Professional sportsmen should be able to cope with the scheduling but it can be used as an excuse, so there could be a bit of fatigue physically and mentally amongst the Chelsea squad.
Last season’s meeting’s between these two sides weren’t the most thrilling encounters with scorelines of 1-0 and 2-0 both in Chelsea’s favour.
In the last six meetings only one side has scored, however that trend could firmly change here with both sides looking shaky at the back. Mustafi and Koscielny are still gelling as a partnership whilst their Chelsea counterparts are Cahill and Luiz – with the latter not really having the positional sense.
With quality players in attacking areas then we could actually see some goals. For both sides Both Teams to Score & Over 2.5 Goals has landed in four of their five Premier League matches. This is EVS in places but considering that BTTS hasn’t landed in six of the last eight then that could be short.
A way in could be through the cards markets. The figures for the last eight are (red cards in brackets): 4 (1); 4 (2); 7; 7; 1 (1); 3; 3 & 5.
William Hill go 17/10 for Over 65 Booking Points and that would have landed in three of the last four meetings, so has to be considered.
Michael Oliver is in charge and has already shown 22 yellows in four Premier League matches at an average of 5.5 per game.
He took charge of Arsenal on the opening day in their defeat with Liverpool showing six yellows. He refereed this fixture in the 2014/15 season showing seven cautions, so the Over 5.5 Cards with Bet365 at 5/6 looks fair.
Arsenal average two cards per game compared to Chelsea’s three, so the Blues to collect most cards or booking points could be a way forward.
The corner count once again varies. The stats show: 13; 10; 8; 4; 8; 14; 12 & 11. The eight meetings that have seen a total of 80 corners at an average of 10 per game, but there seems no value in this market.
For me I’ll be backing Diego Costa anytime. He’s in sparkling form in front of goal having scored five goals this campaign and he’s scored in two of four Premier League games against this opposition.
With Arsenal only having kept one clean sheet he can prove to be a thorn in their side up against this new central defensive partnership for the Gunners.
Some bookies do specials, so if there is one for him to score and be carded then that is something else to look at.
Diego Costa to Score Anytime (17/10)