Chelsea v Arsenal: Gunners' slump to continue

Arsenal's bid for the top four is looking shaky, and Kevin Hatchard believes London rivals Chelsea will put another dent in their hopes.

Chelsea looking to save their season

It's been a decent season for Chelsea, but of course the bar at Stamford Bridge has been set unusually high over the course of years of boom and bust. The League Cup final was lost against Liverpool, and Thomas Tuchel's side will get the chance for revenge in the FA Cup final. Chelsea's grip on the Champions League trophy was loosened in dramatic fashion by Real Madrid at the Bernabeu, despite a terrific effort in the second leg. Chelsea have already won two trophies - they lifted the UEFA Super Cup after beating Villarreal on penalties, and they edged out Palmeiras to become FIFA's Club World Cup champions.

The thing that will hurt the most is that despite having a world-class coach and an incredibly talented group of players, Chelsea haven't come close to challenging for the Premier League title. They are way behind the top two, both in terms of points and in terms of the underlying data. The return of Romelu Lukaku to Stamford Bridge simply hasn't worked, with failures on all sides as the Belgian has toiled in a way he simply never did for his previous club Inter.

Chelsea survived a scare or two against Crystal Palace at Wembley on Sunday in the FA Cup semi-final, but goals from Reuben Loftus-Cheek and Mason Mount saw them reach the final. Timo Werner teed up Mount's goal, and has been on terrific form of late, while Kai Havertz remains a consistent threat in front of goal. The German's reinvention as a genuine centre-forward could prove to be beneficial for club and country in the next few months and years.

Mateo Kovacic damaged an ankle against Palace, and could be replaced by N'Golo Kante. Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ben Chilwell are still out.

Arsenal must turn tide quickly

After Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Southampton, Arsenal's third straight Premier League defeat, Gunners boss Mikel Arteta was prepared to confront some harsh truths. Yes, his team had dominated possession and done a lot of things well between both boxes, but they failed at key moments. Arsenal missed some big chances (although Saints keeper Fraser Forster produced a world-class display), and they gave up a sloppy and preventable goal to Jan Bednarek.

The North London giants have not only failed to claim a point from their last three outings, but they have scored just once in that spell. The goals have suddenly dried up, with the Gunners finding the net just twice across their last five outings. Across those games, Infogol's data shows they have racked up an Expected Goals For figure of 7.22, so there has been a big underachievement in front of goal.

Arsenal are three points behind local rivals Tottenham with a game in hand, so there is no need to panic, and it has still been a strong campaign. Although Arteta spent heavily in the summer (his transfer outlay was the biggest in Europe's top five leagues), qualification for the Champions League might have been hoped for, but it wasn't demanded.

Arsenal's downturn has coincided with injuries to left-back Kieran Tierney and midfielder Thomas Partey, and both are still sidelined. Takehiro Tomiyasu hopes to make his comeback soon after a frustratingly long absence. At time of writing, it's unclear whether Alex Lacazette will be involved after testing positive for COVID-19.

Blues are fair favourites

Arsenal's record against the top three this season is appalling, with five defeats out of five against Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea (they also lost to Liverpool in the League Cup). In those games they have conceded 15 goals and scored just once.

Chelsea's recent form has been shaky, but they can fully focus on the league until they play the FA Cup final, and they currently have less pressure than Arsenal. The Gunners have hit a slump at the worst possible time, and I think they'll fall short here.

You can back Chelsea on the Exchange's Match Odds market here at 1.92, but if you want a bigger price you can use the Sportsbook's Bet Builder to double up a Chelsea win with an Under 3.5 Goals bet at 2.4. Only one of Arsenal's last 12 league games have featured four goals or more.

Young stars to shine

Kai Havertz and Mason Mount are in the Premier League's top 13 when it comes to shots on target per 90, with Havertz recording a figure of 1.19 and Mount 1.23. You can use the Bet Builder to back both to have a shot on target in the match at combined odds of 1.96.

If you want a bigger price, throw Emile Smith Rowe in there for a treble at 3.8. Smith Rowe is 14th in that list at 1.17. Keep an eye on the team news, and pick between those three accordingly.


0 nhận xét Blogger 0 Facebook

Post a Comment