Chelsea v Arsenal - Match Preview, Stats & Team News

To be played on Saturday 22nd March 2014 at 12:45. Venue: Stamford Bridge, London.

Odds: Chelsea 18/19, Draw 5/2, Arsenal 7/2

Last season: 2-1

Preview & injury news

This could game could have a massive say in terms of who becomes champions this season. Chelsea will be looking to bounce back from their disappointing result at Villa Park last weekend which dealt a blow to their title challenge as their rivals picked up maximum points. Two of Chelsea's players are suspended for this clash after being sent off in last week's defeat with Ramires beginning his three match ban, whilst Willian was shown two yellow cards and will only miss this game. Last week was Chelsea's first defeat since September but they are still unbeaten at home in the league going into this game, and managed to secure their passage into the Champions League quarter-finals on Tuesday by overcoming Galatasaray.

Arsenal will be looking to give Arsene Wenger a big reason to smile in his 1,000th match in charge of the club this weekend. They are going through a difficult spell of fixtures at the moment but they won their last game against Tottenham courtesy of a fine Tomas Rosicky strike and a good defensive effort to keep themselves in touch at the top of the table. Arsenal currently sit in third place, four points behind Chelsea at the top with a game in hand, so a win here would hand them a little more control over their own destiny in the title race but Manchester City remain favourites to lift the Premier League crown come May.

On the injury front, Chelsea could welcome back former Arsenal left-back Ashley Cole who has been recovering from a lateral knee ligament injury, though Cole is likely to have to settle for a place on the bench with Cesar Azpilicueta preferred ahead of him, whilst Marco Van Ginkel continues his recovery from a long-term injury he picked up towards the start of the season.

Arsenal's injury list appears to be a bit more substantial. Jack Wilshere is ruled out of the game with a broken foot, whilst Aaron Ramsey's recovery from a thigh problem appears to have had a setback. Mesut Ozil is out until at least the middle of next month with a hamstring problem whilst Ryo Miyaichi has an ankle problem. Both Theo Walcott and Abou Diaby are recovering from long term knee injuries.

Key stats

Here are the two team's top scorers in the Premier League this season:

Eden Hazard Chelsea FW 13 30 2,550
Olivier Giroud Arsenal FW 12 27 2,334
Aaron Ramsey Arsenal MF 8 18 1,495
Samuel Eto'o Chelsea FW 7 18 1,177
Oscar Chelsea MF 6 28 1,837
Theo Walcott Arsenal MF 5 13 858

Their average possession statistics:

NamePossession PercentagePlayed
Arsenal 56.24 29
Chelsea 54.27 30

And the amount of clean sheets they have kept this campaign:

NameClean SheetPlayed
Chelsea 13 30
Arsenal 13 29

5 players to watch

Samuel Eto'o - Eto'o has scored on the big occasion a few times for Chelsea this season, and with a key game against a title rival this weekend - he could be the man to deliver again. He's scored in big games against Liverpool, Tottenham, Manchester United, as well as providing a key goal against Galatasaray in the Champions League. Will he find the net again?

Tomas Rosicky - Arsenal have their injury problems in midfield for Rosicky has more than enough quality to make up for that for the Gunners, as he proved with his terrific winner against Tottenham last week. He's a man that could give the best teams some problems with his quality and craft - and if he can demonstrate those skills at the weekend, the Gunners could strike a big blow in the title race.

Oscar - With no Willian, it is highly likely that Oscar will fill one of the roles in the more advanced positions, supporting the striker. He's a different player to his fellow countryman, as Oscar probably relies more on his close control and vision. Can those qualities be enough to unlock the Arsenal defence?

Olivier Giroud - Giroud is up against the strongest defence in the league this weekend and has the talent to cause them problems. Critics of the Frenchman will say he is wasteful, and probably doesn't take his chances. If there was ever a time to silence those critics, it's this weekend.

Gary Cahill - Cahill is probably the unsung hero in the Chelsea defence as he and John Terry have struck up a terrific partnership this season. Many of the plaudits go to the Chelsea captain, but Cahill has played a vital role, and will need a good performance to keep a lid on this Arsenal side.

Earlier on in the season

Arsenal 0-0 Chelsea, December 2013

It wasn't the most eventful game at the Emirates Stadium as many were of the opinion that Jose Mourinho set up his Chelsea side to get a point - and that's what they got. It still had its talking points as Frank Lampard came close to giving the visitors the lead with his shot hitting the woodwork, whilst Olivier Giroud had opportunities towards the end of the game to give the Gunners the win. John Obi Mikel was also said to be lucky to remain on the field after a challenge on Mikel Arteta, whilst the home side also had a penalty appeal waved away when Theo Walcott went down under a challenge from Willian. The result meant Arsenal missed out on the opportunity to go top of the table at Christmas, as they remained second to Liverpool on goal difference.

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