7 goals conceded each - but who has the better back four, Arsenal or Chelsea?

Arsene Wenger Looks On

Who comes out on top when the Blues and the Gunners go head to head in key statistical areas?

Back Four

Six games into the Premier League season, Chelsea and Arsenal are both where they would ideally like to be - in the top four.

Jose Mourinho's men lead the way, while Arsene Wenger will want more from his side considering they are fourth. But the minimum requirement is there.

Chelsea have been the form team, which explains their six-point advantage over the north London side. Defensively, however, both teams are very similar. Indeed, both have conceded seven goals in their opening six league fixtures.

So the question is: who has the better back four?

As the above Opta stats show, it's a closer contest than some may have guessed. When you think of Chelsea's back line, you remember the top flight's best defence last season. They have been more open this term, though, and paid the price with goals conceded.

Consequently, Wenger's side outperform them in more than one key area. In terms of interceptions, the Gunners win, indicating a higher pressing style, compared to the Blues' superior blocking and effective clearances - indicating a tendency to go deeper and stop attacks at a later stage.

In the air, though, Arsenal are surprisingly the better side so far this campaign, while they are only six won tackles behind Mourinho's men. Chelsea have, however, kept one more clean sheet.

  TeamPosTackles WonInterceptions WonEffective ClearancesAerial Duels WonAppsMins
Cesar Azpilicueta Chelsea DF 17 15 25 11 6 540
Calum Chambers Arsenal DF 16 12 26 11 6 433
Branislav Ivanovic Chelsea DF 12 8 22 17 6 540
Mathieu Debuchy Arsenal DF 10 7 28 23 4 351

A look at individual performers also mirrors the team stats. Chelsea edge proceedings here but only just. And what is interesting is that both side's full-backs are far more involved than their centre-backs defensively.

Indeed, Cesar Azpilicueta has won the most tackles and interceptions, although Calum Chambers has been more impressive in terms of clearances. The injured Mathieu Debuchy, meanwhile, has made the most clearances and won the highest number of aerial duels - despite playing two games less.

The statistics are interesting taking Jamie Carragher's recent quotes into context. The Sky Sports pundit has urged Wenger to tell his full-backs to hold their position at Stamford Bridge and the above figures certainly show they can defend well enough to do so, although Debuchy's absence will be hugely felt.

After tomorrow's game, these stats may well change. For Arsenal, it will be about keeping it tight at the back and not suffering another horror show like the one that saw them concede six at Chelsea last season. But will the Gunners' open, expansive style allow them to do that?

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