Chelsea Vs Arsenal
Arsenal raced past Chelsea at the Stamford Bridge with a 5-3 victory. Reuters
With both sides having trouble defending, this could prove to be a goal-fest. Picture - Reuters.

Arsenal have their biggest test yet as they look to prove they're back in the business, with a trip to Stamford Bridge in Saturday's early Premier League kick-off.

A fixture which Chelsea have dominated in recent years could come as a big-ask for Arsenal. They have only just managed to emerge from the rubble created by the departures of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri and a trip to Stamford Bridge, a stadium which is as close to a fortress you can get, is daunting by any means.

The Blues have lost only three of the eighteen times they've played the Gunners in all competitions - a record which otherwise could instill terror within the receiving team could be meaningless this time around. Over the years, a purpose-driven, functional and organized Chelsea proved to be too powerful and physical for Arsenal, with their more liquid style-of-play, to deal with. This season, the Blues have drastically changed their playing style, which has made them more exciting to watch and has got them scoring a few goals. But it has also seen them conceding a bit - they've only managed to keep one clean sheet in their last eight premier league outings.

Much of it has to do with the high defensive line they've maintained under manager Andre Villas-Boas - something which could play right into the hands of Arsenal, whose pace up front coupled with Captain Robin Van Persie's scintillating goal-scoring form could pose the home side a few problems at the back.

The Gunners come to the game after yet another RVP moment in the league last week, wherein he came off the bench to score twice and help his team secure a 3-1 win over Stoke City. After the doom and gloom of the early season, they've managed to stitch a run of four wins together. It leaves them in a confident state of mind, although their away form is a cause to worry as they haven't won any of their eight previous games on the road. Chelsea have, meanwhile, rampaged to a run of 31 points from a possible 33 at home.

The Blues left their shocking 1-0 loss at QPR, last Sunday, behind them with a 2-1 win at Everton in the Carling Cup in midweek. Didier Drogba saw red in the QPR match for a reckless tackle, along with Jose Bosingwa although the latter is available for the Arsenal game as he already served his suspension for a professional foul during the Carling Cup encounter on Wednesday. However, Fernando Torres makes a timely return from his own suspension and is likely to lead the line against Arsenal.

The Gunners defending this season hasn't exactly served much to boast and Torres seems to have found his scoring touch once again - he netted twice against Genk in the Champions League before which he scored in the League twice as well.

It all leads to quite an interesting early-kick off in the Premier League this weekend.

Team News

Chelsea will be without Didier Drogba, who is suspended, while Fernando Torres could make a starting return. Ramires has recovered from a knee injury and is set to play.

Arsenal will welcome back Thomas Vermaelen after he recovered from an injury, although Carl Jenkinson is a doubt and Kieran Gibbs is still unavailable.

Match Fact

Chelsea have lost just three of their last 18 games in all competitions against Arsenal who have suffered a 2-0 defeat in their two most recent visits to Stamford Bridge.


Chelsea's home form and Arsenal's dismal run on the road makes this a very one-sided affair on paper. Arsenal will look to exploit the high-defensive line Chelsea have, but runs the risk of leaking goals at their own end. The visitors will be happy with a point, but that's hard to see.

Chelsea 3-1 Arsenal