Someone had to keep the pride of London intact.
Arsenal will aim to (at least momentarily) go top of the Premier League table this weekend as they make a cross-capital trip to Chelsea.
Unbeaten in their last 15 league London derbies, the Gunners have dominated the local scene recently and are well-placed to earn an astonishing fourth successive win at Stamford Bridge – a feat no team has achieved since Watford in the 1980s.
However, Mauricio Pochettino managed to steady Chelsea before the international break and has never lost a Premier League home match against Arsenal in six meetings, while the underlying data suggests his Blues team could pose us problems at both ends.
Chelsea vs Arsenal: 3 battles to watch out for in blockbuster Premier League clash
The Battle of Stamford Bridge looks set to be a classic, and here are three individual matchups that may decide who wins.
1. David Raya vs Nicolas Jackson
Can David Raya replicate the imperious form of away-day Ramsdale?
Despite initial claims that he would rotate his goalkeepers, Mikel Arteta has selected Raya for six of our last seven games and will likely do so again on Saturday.
The loanee largely failed to impress against the champions two weeks ago and almost gifted them two first-half goals, flapping at an early corner before Julian Alvarez charged down his attempted clearance.
Of course, inviting opposition pressure is central to our tactical blueprint and Raya’s willingness to execute such orders will see him start here, but Chelsea’s man-to-man pressing strategy might test his nerve.
Nicolas Jackson will lead their aggressive press (if declared fit) and he boasts the speed to scare Raya in build-up phases, especially if the Spaniard has limited short options and dawdles on the ball to bait him from an advanced, ‘extra-man’ position.
His directness also offers a threat in counter-attacks, and the Arsenal recovery unit may not be quick enough to save Raya from a one-on-one situation.
If that happens, we can only hope Jackson (once again) left his shooting boots at home.
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