Carlo Ancelotti Has Arsene Wenger’s Number
Premiership Tips explain why they expect Carlo Ancelotti to continue his 100% record against Arsenal.
Last season, Chelsea produced two convincing victories over Arsenal. First, the Premier League champions won 3-0 at the Emirates Stadium in November. Then they completed they double with a 2-0 victory at Stamford Bridge in February.
Despite dropping all 6 points to Chelsea, Arsenal remained in the title hunt after their second defeat. This Sunday, a defeat to Chelsea could end their realistic hopes of taking the title away from the Blues as early as the eighth game of the season.
Arsenal are sitting 4 points below Chelsea after 6 games. A shock home loss to West Bromwich Albion last weekend was a prime example of both Arsenal’s inconsistencies and Manuel Almunia’s incapabilities in goal. Arsenal have a lot to fear when they travel to their London neighbours on Sunday.
Chelsea head into this match off the back of a 2-0 victory over Marseille on Tuesday night at Stamford Bridge. They have two of the top Premier League goalscorers in Florent Malouda (6) and Didier Drogba (5), with Drogba himself having a particularly impressive record against the Gunners. The Ivorian averages a goal per game in his 12 matches, in which Chelsea have won nine of them. Arsenals’ defence do not know how to deal with last season’s Premier League top goalscorer.
One negative in the Chelsea side this weekend is that they are missing Frank Lampard, Salomon Kalou and Yossi Benayon in midfield. That doesn’t leave them lightweight, with the likes of Michael Essien and John Obi Mikel in particular, as well as the free-scoring Florent Malouda. But it does leave them lacking an additional natural attacking midfielder, as well as an impact sub such as Kalou. Daniel Sturridge could potentially fill that role, but he’s only had 26 minutes of Premier League action so far this season.
Arsenal have a more serious casualty list than the hosts. World Cup winner and captain, Cesc Fabregas remains injured. Arsenal looked short of ideas without him when they played Sunderland in their last away Premier League game. Central defender Thomas Vermaelen is also a loss at the back, but perhaps Laurent Koscielny can have better success against Drogba when he faces him in the Premier League for the first time on Sunday. Robin van Persie, who scored a brace the last time Arsenal won here, before going on a four match losing streak in all competitions, is also absent. Two big losses in terms of attack, but Arsenal’s biggest concern will be dealing with Chelsea’s attacking threat; Drogba and Malouda.
Should Manuel Almunia return in goal for this weekend’s game, he has the West Brom nightmare lurking in the back of his head, mixed with jeers from 40,000 opposition fans. Expect it to be a tough time for the Spaniard. And in a battle of Didier Drogba versus Manuel Almunia, I won’t be favouring the goalkeeper.
A lot has been made of the physical prowess Chelsea possess when they meet Arsenal. The Gunners are still lacking that physical side to the game. That will likely be evident on Sunday when Didier Drogba is able to hold off and knock defenders out of his path, while the likes of Andrey Arshavin too may struggle to create much of a threat when Michael Essien gets in his way.
Carlo Ancelotti is 2/2 versus Arsene Wenger in the Premier League. I expect that to be 3/3 after Sunday. You can find odds close to 4/5 currently on Betfair for Chelsea to beat Arsenal. Didier Drogba by the way is odds-against to score anytime.
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