Arsenal vs Chelsea | Sunday 22nd August 2021, 16:30 | Sky Sports
These two kicked off the season in contrasting styles. Arsenal were, well, typical Arsenal at Brentford on Friday night. Bullied physically, lacking incision and creativity in forward areas and failing to get into decent scoring positions. They were missing a few key players such as Aubameyang, Lacazette, Partey and Gabriel but all are likely to miss this one too.
Mikel Arteta has brought in Martin Odegaard who should provide some much needed craft between the lines, however he will not feature on Sunday as he’s waiting on a visa after his transfer from Real Madrid. With options limited it would not be a surprise to see the Gunners go with a back 5 and just look to play on the break with Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith-Rowe and Nicolas Pepe.
Chelsea, on the other hand, look to have their house firmly in order and have supplemented an already strong squad with the presence of serial goalscorer Romelu Lukaku. The big Belgian could be the missing link for the Blues who had to deal with the profligacy of Timo Werner last year.
Defensively Chelsea have been superb under Tuchel and I don’t expect that to change this season, their shape and know-how in a variety of situations is seriously impressive and it’s quite an aggressive approach that has bared fruit thus far.
N’Golo Kante should be back available and the only absentee for Tuchel is Hakim Ziyech which means they should come into this clash confident. The physicality especially of Lukaku has to be a worry for Arsenal fans but even without him you’d expect the visitors to come away with a win against what I rank as mid-table fodder in Arsenal.
Arsenal may do well enough at home against the lesser lights once they have a clean bill of health, but here they’re coming up against a genuine title challenger and still have key men out of action. It would be a surprise to see them get anything and the 4/5 (10bet) on Chelsea to win looks more than fair, they’d be much shorter against a West Ham for example, a team I rate higher than the Gunners.
I’ll also take the same price on Arsenal with a scratch 0 start on the Asian Card Handicap line (Bet365). Chelsea have been a very clean team under Tuchel, in fact 14/19 league games that Tuchel has took charge of the Blues have seen fewer than 2 cards and 10 of those 19 have seen them pick up 0 cards.
Arsenal may be at home but I think they’ll be chasing the game for large parts. I’m not expecting loads of cards here hence taking the Asian Handicap line, but favour Arsenal to be the dirtier as their fans will be demanding a response after the embarrassment of last week.
It means if the game ends level on cards then our stakes will be returned, but if Arsenal pick up more cards we will bank ourselves a winner. The only way we lose is if Chelsea have more cautions, an occurrence that has took place in just 4/19 league games under the German.