Chelsea vs. Arsenal: team news and predictions as Sarri takes on Emery
Eden Hazard could start for Chelsea as new-look Gunners aim to avoid back-to-back losses
Chelsea vs. Arsenal
- When: Saturday 18 August
- Where: Stamford Bridge, London
- Kick-off time: 5.30pm
- TV channel: live on BT Sport
New Arsenal boss Unai Emery will take the Gunners across London tomorrow to face Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea in the big game of the second week of the Premier League.
Neither side is expected to win the title this season but these two London teams should be competing for a top four finish. The clash will give some indication of where the two sides are going after a summer of upheavals.
Arsenal are adapting to life without Arsene Wenger, while Chelsea fans will get a first look at Maurizio Sarri – the club’s tenth manager in ten years – at Stamford Bridge.
Both clubs are in transition and reigning champions Manchester City have proved their superiority against them in the past fortnight, cantering to victories against Chelsea in the Community Shield and Arsenal in the Premier League – so what can we expect from Saturday’s showdown?
“A London derby defeat will not necessarily be a disaster for either sides’ season given Chelsea and Arsenal look likely to give their new coaches time to build for the future,” says the London Evening Standard.
“However, Sarri will be desperate to win his first home Premier League game at Stamford Bridge, while Emery will not want to be beaten in the capital for the second game running.”
Eden Hazard remains, for now, a Chelsea player and could make his first full appearance of the season after coming off the bench as the Blues beat Huddersfield on the opening weekend of the season.
“It remains to be seen whether Hazard would replace either Willian or Pedro on the flanks, or play up front in place of Alvaro Morata with the Spanish striker struggling for form,” says the paper.
There are already problems for Gunners boss Emery, says the Daily Mirror.
“The Gunners have been rocked by the news that Ainsley Maitland-Niles – who started Sunday's 0-2 home defeat to Manchester City at left-back – suffered a fractured fibula in the match.
“Maitland-Niles, 20, joins Nacho Monreal and Sead Kolasinac on the injury list.
“Right-back Stephan Lichtsteiner, Maitland-Niles’s replacement against City, could fill in.”
The paper adds that Petr Cech will start in goal despite many calling for a debut for Bernd Leno. Cech made some good saves against City but was unconvincing with the ball at his feet.
Most pundits predict that Chelsea will emerge victorious and consign new Arsenal boss Emery to a second successive defeat.
It was a “good professional performance from Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea at Huddersfield on the opening day although it was difficult to get too excited about Arsenal who were easily brushed aside… by champions Manchester City at the Emirates,” says Michael Owen in Metro.
“I expect Chelsea to build on their convincing win in Yorkshire and keep the points in Sarri’s first home game in charge of the Blues.”
Chelsea will have “too much” for Arsenal, agrees Paul Merson of Sky Sports.
“Chelsea had a great result [last week] and Arsenal’s was disappointing. I say disappointing but I don’t know what everybody was expecting? That a new manager was going to come in and they’d wipe the floor with Man City?”
Arsenal need time to work out their style of play, says Mark Lawrenson of the BBC, who also believes Chelsea will take the spoils. “This is an important game for both teams, just for the fact that, if Chelsea win, they will go six points ahead of Arsenal in the race for the top four.”