The biggest and fiercest London derby in the EPL takes place today at Stamford Bridge and the outcome will have huge ramifications on the title race. Chelsea will host Arsenal in this match-week’s first game with the aim of beating their city rivals and extending their lead over them. In the last round of games, Manchester City were the only team in the top half of the table to win their game and thus gained some hitherto lost ground on their rivals at the top.
Swansea got their second win on the bounce, while Burnley continued their impressive home form with their fifth consecutive home win in the league and Watford produced the shock of the round by snapping out of their seven game winless run with an impressive win over Arsenal at the Emirates. We hope this weekend will produce more excitements and talking points.
Any match between Chelsea and Arsenal will always draw the attention of the football world and today’s game will not be any different. The Blues are sitting pretty at the top of the table, nine points ahead of their third placed city rivals, with fifteen matches left to play in the league. If they beat Arsenal today, then the Gunners’ title ambition might just be all over. Chelsea drew with Liverpool during the week, while the Gunners lost at home to Watford that same night. The Blues will go into this game buoyed by the knowledge that they have won their last four home ties against Arsenal, while the Gunners will believe that the 3-0 drubbing they handed Chelsea the last time they met will give them a mental edge going into this game. David Luiz has been playing with a knee injury picked up earlier in the season but Antonio Conte cannot risk taking him out of the team just yet and especially not against Arsenal. The Italian has his team set in stone except for one position which will be fought for by Willian and Pedro. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain should start at the base of Arsenal’s midfield with the loss of Aaron Ramsey in their last match and the absence of Granit Xhaka and Santi Cazorla. Arsenal will need to play three at the front and try to isolate Chelsea’s centre backs as the pace and trickery of the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Alex Iwobi might open up spaces that their full backs can capitalize on. Chelsea will be patient and wait to exploit and capitalize on any mistake from the Gunners in this game. Victor Moses and Alex Iwobi will face each other and the Nigerian support will be divided across club lines.
Six games will kickoff at 4pm today and the first one I will be previewing will be the game between Watford and Burnley at Vicarage Road. The Hornets got a surprise away win over Arsenal in the last round and will want to consolidate on that result with another win when the Clarets come visiting today. Burnley have lost on all but once on their travels this season and only the heroics of Tom Heaton against Manchester United at Old Trafford, which earned them a point, ensured that they haven’t lost all their away games this season. Watford’s new signing Mauro Zarate will be free to make his debut after serving his suspension, while Jose Holebas is also back and available for selection. For Burnley, club record signing, Robbie Brady could make his debut today alongside fellow deadline day signing Ashley Westwood. Odion Ighalo has left Watford, but another Nigerian in the person of Isaac Success is still in the team and we hope he gradually fights his way into the starting lineup and start banging in the goals for the Hornets.
Bottom placed Sunderland will travel to the capital to face Crystal Palace in a relegation six pointer. The Black Cats were able to hold a high flying Tottenham side to a goalless draw in their last match, while Crystal Palace defeated Bournemouth away from home. Sam Allardyce will be coming up against the side he helped escape relegation last season with the intention of helping his new side beat the drop this season to maintain his record of never being relegated from the Premiership. David Moyes will have his deadline day signings Darron Gibson and Bryan Oviedo available after they were not cleared on time to feature against Tottenham in midweek, but the Scot might stick with the team that battled to a goalless draw against Tottenham, which would mean sticking with the 3-5-2 formation he used in that game. Victor Anichebe will not be a part of today’s game as the big Nigerian is currently sidelined with injury.