Three key players for Arsenal if they are to beat Chelsea

Coquelin

Here's a look at three players who could be key to Arsenal if they are to come away from Stamford Bridge with three points this weekend.

Arsenal will be looking to put another serious dent in Chelsea's Premier League title defence on Saturday with a victory at Stamford Bridge.

Jose Mourinho's side head into the weekend having collected only four points from their opening five games, putting them some 11 points behind early leaders Manchester City.

The Gunners themselves are five points behind Manuel Pellegrini's side and will be keen to pick up another three in order not to fall further behind City, who host West Ham in Saturday's evening kickoff.

Arsene Wenger recorded his first victory over nemesis Jose Mourinho at the 14th attempt in the FA Community Shield at the start of the season; a 1-0 victory thanks to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Chelsea have not conceded a goal in more than four games; 392 minutes of Premier League action against their London rivals, but that record is in threat of being ended this weekend having conceded two or more in each of their five Premier League games this season.

Although they were playing in Croatia in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday night, Arsenal fans must go into this game with some confidence that they can win at Stamford Bridge for the first time since October 2011.

Here are three players who, if they are at the top of their game on Saturday, can help the Gunners come home with a victory:

Alexis Sanchez

The Chilean star is yet to score in the first five games of the new season, or hit similar form to last season, but should fancy his chances if Branislav Ivanovic starts.

Sanchez isn't short of trying to open his account for the season - his 28 shots on goal are the most among his teammates, and no Arsenal player has more than his eight shots on target through five games.

Chelsea's right-back has had a very difficult start to the season, torn apart by Jefferson Montero, Raheem Sterling and Callum McManaman.

Alexis Sanchez has pace, power and trickery to cause Ivanovic plenty of problems in this game. However, will Mourinho go with the Serbian at right-back? Cesar Azpilicueta started right-back in the Champions League in midweek, with Baba Rahman making his Chelsea debut on the left.

Could the Chelsea boss start with these two at full-back again this weekend? It would be a big call from the Special One to give the youngster his Premier League debut versus Arsenal.

  PositionTeamTotal Scoring AttOntarget Scoring AttAppearancesMins Played
Alexis Sánchez FW Arsenal 28 8 5 362
Olivier Giroud FW Arsenal 18 8 5 288
Santiago Cazorla MF Arsenal 13 5 5 450
Aaron Ramsey MF Arsenal 13 5 5 450
Theo Walcott FW Arsenal 13 6 4 194
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain MF Arsenal 9 2 5 211
Mesut Özil MF Arsenal 5 1 4 347
Francis Coquelin MF Arsenal 4 0 5 384
Laurent Koscielny DF Arsenal 4 2 4 360
Héctor Bellerín DF Arsenal 1 0 4 360
Mathieu Debuchy DF Arsenal 1 0 1 67
Gabriel Paulista DF Arsenal 1 0 3 270
Per Mertesacker DF Arsenal 1 1 2 180
Nacho Monreal DF Arsenal 1 1 5 450

Francis Coquelin

For Arsenal to see a lot of the ball in this game, as they did when they drew 0-0 at home to Chelsea towards the end of last season, Francis Coquelin breaking up the play in the middle of the park will be key.

The French midfielder was rested midweek, so should be fresh for domestic battle. Chelsea are also without their number 10, Willian, as well as right forward Pedro. Oscar should be back in the starting lineup to replace his fellow Brazilian and be Coquelin's main threat, but don't be surprised if Cesc Fabregas steps into that role.

Eden Hazard loves to drift inside, too, and will be another player for Coquelin and his partner to pick up. Santi Cazorla is expected to play alongside him.

Only Leicester City's Ritchie De Laet (21) has won more tackles than Francis Coquelin (19) this season, so the Gunner is not short of form.

  PositionTeamWon TackleAppearancesMins Played
Ritchie de Laet DF Leicester 21 5 410
Jordan Amavi DF Aston Villa 19 5 450
Francis Coquelin MF Arsenal 19 5 384
Patrick van Aanholt DF Sunderland 18 5 450
Simon Francis DF Bournemouth 16 5 450
Nyom DF Watford 16 5 450
Robbie Brady MF Norwich 15 5 450
Yohan Cabaye MF C. Palace 15 5 434
Matteo Darmian DF Man Utd 15 5 428
Eric Dier DF Tottenham 15 5 437

Petr Cech

As well as good protection in front of the back four, behind them is important too. Petr Cech makes his first return to Stamford Bridge since leaving in the summer.

The Chelsea legend has already beaten his former employers in the Community Shield to start his Arsenal career, while he heads into this game on the back of three successive clean sheets.

Eden Hazard has not hit his best form this season, we've only seem glimpses of Diego Costa at his best, and both Pedro and Willian are absent – how busy will be Cech be?

Laurent Koscielny and Gabriel Paulista partnered midweek as Per Mertesacker has been ill of late. It will be interesting to see if this partnership remains intact, with the German World Cup winner available for selection again.

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