WOUNDED Chelsea meet Arsenal in the Saturday lunchtime game. Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) gives us his views.
Chelsea v Arsenal | Saturday 12:45 | BT Sport 1
When these sides met in the opening week of October last season life was very different. Chelsea went into the match having picked up 16 points out of 18 and sat top of the table. Arsenal had won two of their six fixtures and were on 10 points.
Fast forward (almost) a year and Chelsea find themselves one place off the relegation zone after a fraught start to the campaign. One win in five has almost certainly fatally damaged their defence assault of the Premier League and the vibes are gloomy.
Arsenal aren’t doing the conga either. A bizarre opening day defeat to West Ham, a home draw against struggling Liverpool and a Champions League defeat to Dinamo Zagreb doesn’t smack of a strong, title winning side.
The bookmakers clearly think Arsenal have a strong chance here though. In that October game last year Chelsea went off best price 3/4, on Saturday you can grab 7/5! That’s quite a drift guys.
It’s a price I’m not willing to ignore to be honest. My steadfast habits in life are listening to Blur, eating sushi, drinking rose wine and backing Chelsea to beat Arsenal.
Whilst I accept this Chelsea side have huge problems they seem to turn a switch when Arsenal face them. The manager adores beating the North London club and so do his players.
Since Jose Mourinho returned to the Bridge in 2013 his league record against Arsenal is P4 W2 D2 L0 F8 A0. The two games in West London were both comfortable wins – 6-0 and 2-0 respectively.
But what about the Community Shield I hear you say. Well I don’t put 100% stock into that match. It’s essentially a glorified friendly and ultimately who will care about it if Chelsea finish above Arsenal again this season?
One must always question Arsenal in these type of games. It’s folly not to. When the pressure is turned up they shrink so for me it takes a huge leap of faith to back them at 28/13.
Wednesday’s comfortable win over Maccabi Tel Aviv may be the booster Chelsea need and they’re the kind of side that will grow in stature at the mere thought of this game. We may look back in open-mouthed awe later in the season when we remember Chelsea were 7/5 at home to beat Arsenal. The first thing we’ll think will be, ‘did I back them that day?’, I certainly don’t want it to be a regretful no.
Chelsea v Arsenal – Chelsea to win (7/5 Bet365)
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