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Chelsea have a much stronger team than Arsenal and that should be reflected in the scoreline this weekend. The best value from a betting perspective, though, lies in the goals market. With Arsenal possessing a leaky backline but likely to try and play on the front foot, there should be plenty of goals on Sunday.
Odds of +102 on more than 2.5 of them look very generous.
|Arsenal vs Chelsea Information|
|Teams||Arsenal vs Chelsea|
|Location||Emirates Stadium, London, England|
|Time||Sunday, 22 August 2021, 11.30 AM EDT|
|How to watch||NBC Sports|
It is difficult to overstate the impact Thomas Tuchel made at Chelsea last season. His biggest achievement, of course, was winning the Champions League. Frank Lampard had successfully negotiated the group stage of the competition, but Tuchel did a magnificent job to take the Blues all the way to the trophy.
The draw was not overly kind either: Chelsea beat Atletico Madrid, the champions of Spain; Porto, who had previously knocked out Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus; Real Madrid, the 13-time champions of Europe; and Manchester City, the bookmakers’ favorites, in the final.
But Tuchel also did wonderfully well in the Premier League, which is easy to overlook as Chelsea did not actually win any silverware domestically. Only Manchester City amassed more points than the Blues after Tuchel’s appointment in late January. Chelsea outperformed Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Leicester City, and others during the German’s time in charge. That, together with the club’s recent signing of Romelu Lukaku, is why Chelsea are seen as Manchester City’s closest challengers this season – by pundits and bookmakers alike.
Tuchel’s side got their campaign off to the perfect start last weekend. Chelsea proved far too strong for Crystal Palace, as goals from Marcos Alonso, Christian Pulisic and Trevoh Chalobah handed the west Londoners a 3-0 win. Palace – managed by Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira for the first time – were restricted to a single shot on target, underlining Chelsea’s dominance. Sunday’s trip to the Emirates Stadium will be a tougher test for Tuchel and his players, but the Blues will be confident of victory.
Arsenal, by contrast, began the new campaign in the worst possible way, and much of the traditional pre-season hope and optimism has already evaporated in the red-and-white half of north London. A 2-0 defeat by Brentford, playing their first ever Premier League game, was an extremely poor result for Mikel Arteta’s side.
The Arsenal boss was not helped by the absence of Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, ostensibly due to illness. But Arteta will have been alarmed by the manner of the defeat, as familiar problems reared their ugly head once more. Arsenal had plenty of possession but lacked guile and creativity in the final third. Emile Smith Rowe and Kieran Tierney did their best to get things going in attack, but the Gunners produced few clear-cut chances against newly promoted opposition.
At the other end, a shaky defense was rattled by Brentford’s front two. In fairness to Arteta, Arsenal’s defensive record was pretty good last term: only Manchester City and Chelsea conceded fewer goals. But this team still has a soft underbelly and struggles to react to sticky situations. Arteta is clearly trying to work on the squad’s collective mentality, but there are still strides to be made in that regard.
A top-four challenge would probably be an overachievement for Arsenal this season. Arteta’s squad is weaker than that which is available to the likes of Tuchel, Pep Guardiola, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Jurgen Klopp. It would therefore be unfair to expect him to compete for a Champions League place, but Arteta must show evidence of progress to avoid his job coming under threat.
Chelsea will have Lukaku available for selection following his move from Inter, and Tuchel may well start the Belgium international now that he has had a few days to train. The Blues boss has so many options in attack when everyone is fit. Presuming Lukaku is a nailed-on starter, Tuchel can choose his two supporting forwards from a cast of Mason Mount, Kai Havertz, Timo Werner, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Hakim Ziyech, and Christian Pulisic. We can expect plenty of rotation in that area of the pitch this season.
Arsenal will hope to have at least one of Aubameyang or Lacazette back, although both players have been linked with the exit door in recent days. Martin Odegaard could be available if he is registered in time, although Arteta is unlikely to throw the Norwegian schemer straight into the team. As such, Arsenal’s starting XI might not be too different to the one which played at Brentford, although Bukayo Saka will almost certainly be included after stepping up his fitness this week.
With a full house at the Emirates Stadium for the first time since March 2020, Arsenal will be roared on this Sunday. That will compel them to get on the front foot, which could in turn leave space for Chelsea in transition. An away win is the most likely outcome in terms of the result, but the best bet here is over 2.5 goals.
Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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