Premier League football finally returns this weekend after an International break as Chelsea are set to host their London rivals Arsenal at the Stamford Bridge which is expected to be a highly anticipated match.
Arsenal went to the international break with an instrumental performance against defending champions and treble winners Manchester City as they clinched the game by the only goal scored by substitute Gabriel Martinelli. Arsenal along with their North London rivals Tottenham remain the only two teams in the Premier League this season to be unbeaten.
Mauricio Pochettino’s Chelsea have picked up form in recent weeks beating Fulham and demolishing 4 past Burnley securing all 3 points. The massive win was their 3rd win for the season as they aim to slowly climbing up the table.
Both Arteta and Pochettino would look forward to get all 3 points as they face each other again,
WHEN AND WHERE?
Date: 21st October 2023, Saturday
Time: 17:30 HRS BST
Venue: Stamford Bridge, London
Referee: Chris Kavanagh
Assistants: Richard West, Matthew Wilkes
Fourth official: James Lington
VAR: Jarred Gillett
Assistant VAR: Darren Cann
Chelsea have lots of long-term injury sidelines in the squad with Wesley Fofana, Christopher Nkunku and Romeo Lavia all out. Ben Chilwell recently suffered an injury to his hamstring which would keep him out for a while and Axel Disasi also has issues to his quadriceps.
Gusto will be back after serving a suspension and missing out for a couple of weeks and Reece James was in contention to start after coming back from an injury, although there are reports about some complications that can delay his return.
Major concerns in their attacking outlet as Broja had to withdraw from Albania’s squad for the international break and Nicolas Jackson has undergone wrist surgery.
Jurrien Timber is Arsenal’s only long-term absentee from the squad as he continues to recover from his surgery.
Arsenal’s starboy Bukayo Saka missed the match vs Manchester City last gameweek and later pulled out from England duty so it remains a major concern whether he will be able to make it to the squad for the match against the Blues.
William Saliba is also a doubt as he pulled out from France duty picking up a chronic toe problem. Saliba’s absence will leave a huge void to Arsenal’s defence considering he was a monster vs City’s attacking duo of Alvarez and Haaland.
Positive news is that Gabriel Martinelli and Thomas Partey are back to full fitness.
PRE-GAME TACTICAL ANALYSIS
With Thomas Partey back for Arsenal, it will be interesting to see how they lineup. Would Partey come back into a single pivot with Declan Rice getting more of a license forward? or Would Arsenal continue with a single pivot system with Odegaard a bit deeper?
Moreover, with Trossard and Martinelli – both back to full fitness. Arsenal should continue to isolate either on the left where either an injury-returned Reece James or Malo Gusto would come against them.
For Chelsea, using that space left by Zinchenko on the left should come important, especially with deploying Raheem Sterling there. Gabriel Maghalaes would come as a wide centre-back to defend the zone, the whens about Sterling layoffs become more important as Maghalaes is a beast when isolated in such spaces 1v1.
Gabriel Jesus’ being back to full fitness, and following that role he played against Manchester City will surely be knocking for a start at No 9 come Saturday. He had a wonderful game at the Bridge last season.
Raheem Sterling has had a bright start to his campaign this season. Sterling seems to have found his form that he had lost since he joined the Blues, the rapport with the new boss is certainly doing him highs. Sterling is also Chelsea’s highest scorer this season netting 3 times in his 8 appearances for them in the Premier League.
Martin Odegaard has 2 goals and 1 assist against Chelsea in his last 3 appearances. Arsenal will look to use the best of the creativity that he sparks on the pitch. The Norwegian’s partnership with Saka is vital on the right for Arsenal but if Saka doesn’t start because of his injury, Odegaard would have to step up big time.
He’ll have to put his international disappointments behind him after Norway lost 1-0 to Spain on Sunday – leaving their Euro 2024 hopes in tatters
Chelsea’s recent summer signing Cole Palmer is one of Chelsea’s shining stars this season. He provided a goal and an assist against Burnley the previous gameweek and went on to captain the England u21’s. Palmer has fit very well into the Chelsea team which is key to his development. Palmer on the right wing is a real threat and could ask lots of questions to Arsenal’s defence.
Declan Rice has been one of the signings of the season. The way he’s adjusted and adapted to this team feels like Arsenal’s most expensive signing looks like a bargain! Arsenal have certainly ticked some of the boxes they lacked from last season with Rice’s inclusion. He could partner up along with Partey this weekend which will give him more room to run up the pitch. Together both of them are just going to get better and better.
Chelsea’s predicted lineup vs Arsenal: Sanchez, Cucurella, Colwill, Silva, James, Gallagher, Caicedo, Enzo, Sterling, Jackson, Palmer.
Arsenal’s predicted line up vs Chelsea: Raya, Zinchenko, Gabriel, Saliba, White, Rice, Partey, Odegaard, Martinelli, Nketiah, Jesus.
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