Arteta already under pressure
It’s only been one game, but the manner of Arsenal’s defeat at newly-promoted Brentford already has the knives sharpening at the Emirates – and the visit of Chelsea is the last thing Mikel Arteta needs right now.
The Gunners did the double over Chelsea last season but there could hardly be a bigger difference in the confidence between the two sides after just one game. Throw in the fact Arsenal’s best strikers Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette could again both be missing after suffering with coronavirus and you can see why the club are already in a mess.
Arteta could have new signing Martin Odegaard available but although he’s a good creative spark, signing the Norwegian and goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale doesn’t seem likely to get them into shape just yet – this will take much harder work from the manager.
Now, I’m a positive person but even I’m finding it hard to put any kind of positive spin on Arteta’s situation – he was 12/1 pre-season to be the first Premier League manager to leave, he’s now the even-money favourite! With Man City up after this game it’s already crunch time at the Emirates.
Blues flying high under Tuchel
Compare and contrast Arteta’s demeanour with that of Thomas Tuchel who just can’t stop smiling at the moment – and who can blame him after walking into a job with an uber-talented and expensively assembled squad, tightening up their defence and cleaning up the Champions League in just a few months?
On top of that you get to splurge £100m on Romelu Lukaku. There is huge pressure that comes with the Chelsea job but it’s also borderline fantasy football at times. And Tuchel is making the absolute most of it.
Roman Abramovich expects a title push this season though, and nothing short of going very close will do – it may even be title or bust given Chelsea have signed a star striker, something Man City have, so far, failed to do.
Chelsea have a poor recent record against Arsenal though, losing the last three and winning just three of 14. But the Blues’ confidence could hardly be higher as they look for a fifth away London derby victory in a row.
Lukaku odds-on to score on debut again
It’d be just like Lukaku to score on Sunday, wouldn’t it? It certainly would going on his record of scoring on his debut for his last four clubs – he’s actually odds-on to score at the Emirates on his second debut for Chelsea.
Chelsea are also a short price for victory with the visitors 1.794/5 and Arsenal a huge price at 5.14/1 – even the draw is priced up as being out of reach for the hosts at 4.03/1 given the apparent gulf between the teams.
The crowd back at the Emirates should help the Gunners at least keep this close, with under 2.5 goals favoured at 1.824/5, but the main difficulty for Arsenal will be putting the ball in the back of the net.
‘No’ is slightly favoured in the both teams to score market and that’s mainly aimed at an Arsenal side who had the most shots out of any team last week (22) but failed to score and got just four of those on target.
That task of scoring against Chelsea is also a totally different ball game to bagging against Brentford – Edouard Mendy has kept more Premier League clean sheets than any other goalkeeper in the competition (10) since Tuchel took charge and his overall record of 17 in 32 games is the best in league history.
Those stats make a Chelsea win to nil at 2.8815/8 look particularly inviting.
Back Tierney to hit the target
If there’s a nagging threat that the Gunners could actually score, Chelsea and under 3.5 goals at 2.35/4 is a good cover bet as it’ll cover the possibility of a 2-1 Chelsea win but also the 1-0, 2-0 or 3-0 in favour of the visitors.
The threats come from everywhere for Chelsea and as big favourites even the player markets are a bit short with even Marcos Alonso now a marked man with the bookies after scoring last week and being just 1.674/6 to get a shot on target.
There are inviting options on the Arsenal side here, though, with Emile Smith-Rowe 3.211/5 to hit the target as he did at Brentford – he was one of the few bright spots for the Gunners.
Bukayo Saka could start after coming off the bench at Brentford and, at 2.35/4 for a shot on target, he’s another interesting option to perhaps add to a Bet Builder on the game which would no doubt lead on a Chelsea win.
The big price comes with the excellent Kieran Tierney, who is 5.04/1 on the Sportsbook to get a single shot on target.
The Scotsman is one of Arsenal’s best players, he’ll get a huge boost from the home crowd and be storming up and down that left flank all day long – and he hit the target with one of his three shots last week. He deserves a look here at a big price.