It’s remarkable how perceptions can rapidly alter in the Premier League.
Chelsea finished 10th last season and were struggling this time last year. They started off this time with a flourish, winning their first 3 games of the season. Yet fortunes have been flipped over the past fortnight and, remarkably, as the Gunners get set to host their capital rivals on Saturday evening, they currently sit ahead of the Blues on goal difference in the table after five games.
Arsenal started the season with a defeat at home against Liverpool, but Arsene Wenger’s side have recovered well since then and are undefeated in all competitions.
Although Arsenal have failed to win any of the last nine Premier League meetings between the two sides, this could change this time as Arsenal are much stronger and have a great depth in the squad.
Arsene Wenger celebrates 20 years in charge of Arsenal this week, but the milestone could be tarnished if his team do not overcome London rivals Chelsea at the Emirates in the late kickoff on Saturday.
Just two years ago, Chelsea were a dark cloud over Wenger’s 1,000th game at the helm when they thrashed Arsenal 6-0, and the West London outfit will be hoping to cause an upset on another landmark week for the Frenchman.
After years of mockery over their woe-be-us attitude regarding their transfer policies, the last few years have seen the Gunners make some quality improvements in the transfer market. Last season’s acquisition of Petr Cech finally gave them a proper goalkeeper, while this summer, they actually brought in a defensive midfielder in howitzer-legged Granit Xhaka and a very good center back in young German international Shkodran Mustafi.
After uneven starts to the season, Arsenal have been written off by many in their pursuit of the title. Three points here, coupled with the momentum that can be gathered with a victory over rivals, may see perceptions shifted again as this Premier League season starts to settle down.
Wenger confirmed this week that midfielder Aaron Ramsey is unlikely to return to action for another three weeks due to a hamstring injury. Olivier Giroud is yet to start a game for the Gunners this season, and he may have to wait longer for the call as he is a doubt with a toe injury. Wenger has a selection dilemma in midfield as Xhaka has been in form – scoring twice in his last two games – but Francis Coquelin could provide a bit more sturdiness in Saturday’s game.
Apart from that, We can see a regular Arsenal team with Sanchez playing upfront and Walcott on the right and Iwobi on the left.
Kick-off Saturday 5.30pm
Venue Emirates Stadium
Referee Michael Oliver