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Back Chelsea to beat Arsenal in the Caesars sportsbook.
The Gunners are out of form and the Blues will be on a high after their FA Cup success at the weekend.
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Last week was a bittersweet one for Chelsea.
In the middle of it, they delivered a brilliant all-around display to beat Real Madrid 3-2 at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, but that was not enough to overturn a 3-1 deficit in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final tie. The Blues were therefore knocked out of the competition they won the last term.
The mood around Stamford Bridge had improved by the end of the weekend, though. On Sunday Chelsea registered a routine 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace in the last four of the FA Cup, setting up a meeting with Liverpool in next month’s final at Wembley.
The defeat of Palace continued the club’s fine record in the competition: only once in the last six seasons have the Blues failed to reach the final. They will hope to avenge their defeat by Liverpool in the League Cup showpiece earlier in the campaign.
Before then, Chelsea has Premier League business to attend to. They have failed to keep pace with Manchester City and Liverpool, and have not been in contention for the title for some time. But despite the occasional wobble, their position in third has never looked under threat. Ahead of Wednesday’s game, Chelsea holds a five-point advantage over fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur despite having two games in hand on the club from across the capital.
Considerable uncertainty surrounds the club at present, with the race to replace Roman Abramovich as the owner still ongoing. It is to the credit of Tuchel and his players that Chelsea has, for the most part, dealt well with all the distractions. They are likely to continue doing so for the remainder of the season.
In the early kick-off on Saturday, Tottenham suffered a surprise 1-0 loss at home to Brighton & Hove Albion. That opened the door for Arsenal to move level on points with their north London rivals in the race for the top four, but the Gunners were unable to take advantage. They too were defeated 1-0 by a team from the south coast, as Jan Bednarek’s goal gave Southampton all three points at St Mary’s.
A few weeks ago Arsenal looked well positioned to qualify for the Champions League, but it is Tottenham who now has the initiative. Their advantage of three points is not in itself significant, especially as the Gunners have played one fewer match. But Mikel Arteta’s men look to have fallen out of form at the worst time possible: the business end of the campaign.
Arsenal has now lost three games in a row and four of the last five. They have scored only two goals in their last 450 minutes of Premier League action and have now kept just two clean sheets since the end of January. The youthfulness of the squad has brought some dynamic, exciting soccer this term, but the drawbacks of Arsenal’s relative inexperience have manifested themselves of late.
Arsenal won at Stamford Bridge just under a year ago, but that was their only triumph at Chelsea’s home stadium in the last decade. If Arteta’s side were to suffer a fourth consecutive defeat on Wednesday, their top-four chances would be hanging by a thread.
Chelsea will be on a high after Sunday’s success at Wembley, and Tuchel will want to see his team maintain the level of performance that brought them victories over Real Madrid and Crystal Palace in the last seven days. With Arsenal faltering, Chelsea will look to make a quick start and put the visitors under real pressure in the opening stages of this rearranged fixture.
At the start of the season, Arsenal fans would have been in fifth place (and three points adrift of fourth) at this late stage of the season. Yet although they were not expected to qualify for the Champions League last summer, a failure to do so from here would be a huge disappointment, particularly were they to stumble over the finish line.
A win at Stamford Bridge would not just put Arsenal right back in the race to finish fourth, it would be a statement of intent ahead of the final few games of the campaign. Yet nothing in their recent displays suggests the Gunners are ready to inflict defeat on Chelsea, comfortably the third-best team in England.
The odds might not be overly attractive, but the best bet for Wednesday’s London derby is a home win.
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|Chelsea vs Arsenal Information
|Chelsea vs Arsenal
|Stamford Bridge, London, England
|Wednesday, 20 April 2022, 2.45 PM EDT
|How to watch
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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