PREMIER LEAGUE expert Ben Levene (@benlevene96) shares his views on Saturday evening’s mouthwatering clash between Chelsea and Arsenal.
Chelsea v Arsenal | Saturday 18th August 2018, 17:30 | BT Sport
Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea got off to a winning start at Huddersfield last weekend. The Blues in moments resembled Sarri’s free-flowing Napoli, with Willian, Eden Hazard and Pedro all thriving in roles off the striker.
However, high-pressing was at the heart of Sarri’s success in Italy, so whether that’s something his Stamford Bridge squad have cottoned onto, remains to be seen. Huddersfield offered little in possession.
Star-man Eden Hazard should be available from the start this Saturday, having created the third-goal from the bench seven-days-ago.
Unai Emery has been dealt a harsh hand at the start of the season. Only Liverpool were able to scalp Man City last season, so expecting the new Gunners boss to see off the settled Citizens would have been harsh.
Nonetheless, Arsenal were worryingly open defensively – it’s clear it’ll take time for the Spaniard change things.
An open game likely
Friendlies give us little insight but these sides faced each other at the start of the month – while the personnel will be different, the styles won’t be. It was an open end-to-end game.
Both sides’ opening games saw over 2.5 goals so it’s no surprise to see the same outcome available at odds-on.
At odds-on I have little interest in Chelsea. They haven’t shown enough to justify such a short status and we haven’t seen enough to be confident in the Blues as an odds-on chance.
£27m-man Lucas Torreira will be pushing for a start in midfield after being introduced in the second-half last weekend.
The Uruguayan midfielder was booked six times for Sampdoria last season. He attempted Serie A’s 12th most tackled and ranked inside the top-30 players for interceptions.
Torreira is tenacious in style and will likely be busy with both Eden Hazard and one of Pedro and Willian operating in narrow roles behind the striker.
Referee Martin Atkinson showed four yellow-cards when Newcastle and Spurs met last Saturday and averaged 3.6 cards per game across 33-matches last campaign. In six matches between the top-six last season, Atkinson averaged 3.5 cards per-game.
In a game with few certainties, I’m happy to ignore the short-prices and chance the 11/4 (Unibet) about Torreira being shown a card.
Chelsea v Arsenal – Lucas Torreira to be carded (11/4 Unibet)