Victory over Arsenal this weekend, would see Chelsea move six points ahead of their London rivals having played just 5 games. The turmoil that enveloped Arsene Wenger`s side throughout last season has not gone away. The Gunner`s scraped a victory over Cologne in the Europa League last night, but it was no walk in the park.
The game at the Emirates finished just before 11pm UK time. That`s just 62.5 hours before they kick off against Chelsea on Sunday lunchtime. Lack of recovery time may see Arsenal struggle to get going at Stamford Bridge. Antonio Conte will know this, and Chelsea may well hit Arsenal hard in the first twenty minutes. Predictions for the game have been appearing all over the interweb, and there are not many takers for an Arsenal victory. Ex Arsenal midfielder and jocular Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson is not optimistic,
“It’s all about the first goal. If Arsenal score first you will watch and think ‘wow, they look decent’. They will be confident and they have good players who look decent when they are winning. But when they are losing too many of them just go completely and utterly missing. The shape goes out of the window and if they let in the first goal it could be anything. People are saying to me ‘what a good result against Bournemouth’ but if you could have handpicked any team to play last week it was Bournemouth. If Arsenal score first it will be a very interesting match but I don’t think they will. Prediction 3-0 to Chelsea.”
That from the Sky Sports website. Mark Lawrenson, former Liverpool defender`s BBC column doesn`t favour Wenger`s side either,
“I fully expected Arsenal to beat Bournemouth last weekend, but that does not mean everything is rosy for the Gunners. Far from it. Arsenal boss Arsenal Wenger only ever seems to be a game – or even a half – away from a full-blown crisis, and I think he will have another defeat to contend with this weekend, rather than a repeat of what happened at Wembley in the FA Cup final. Since their opening-day defeat by Burnley, Chelsea have won four games in a row and I think the way they lost to the Clarets will actually have helped them focus. Sometimes you need a game to go badly like that at the start of the season to realise you need to get back at it if you want to defend your title. Prediction 2-0 to Chelsea.”
That courtesy of the BBC. In my very small opinion, I also expect Chelsea to win. Antonio Conte will have looked for Arsenal weaknesses, found them, and he`ll look to exploit them early. The game could be over as a contest by half-time. My prediction 3-1 to Chelsea.