Arsenal vs Chelsea – Analysis, Prediction, Team News
Tuesday 2nd May 2023
As part of our midweek Premier League predictions, we examine the London derby between Arsenal and Chelsea. A must-win game for Arsenal, though both are winless in 4. Free betting tips and more with our Arsenal vs Chelsea prediction.
Arsenal vs Chelsea Preview
Arsenal’s title challenge is on the verge of collapse, following a dismal run of form which has yielded just three points from four matches and a 4-1 humiliation (correctly predicted) at the Etihad Stadium against Manchester City. Unfortunately for Mikel Arteta’s men, it would appear that Arsenal simply do not have the resources to see it through, which is no disgrace – the difference in financial resources between the two sides is stark, and Arsenal have a fine platform to build on for next season.
Of course, this could very well be premature – the title race isn’t over, but things are looking ominous for the North London side. They’re well clear of both Newcastle and Manchester United, and barring an extended collapse in form it’s highly likely that they will avoid slipping down to third or fourth place. They do, however, face Newcastle at St James’ Park, followed by two potentially difficult fixtures.
While they beat Brighton in the reverse fixture with an excellent performance to boot, Arsenal were performing at an altogether higher level than they are now. Nottingham Forest at home have been a banana skin for some of the big clubs this season, and Arsenal have been punished in transition repeatedly during their recent poor run of form.
Chelsea are in the midst of a full-blown crisis and there doesn’t appear to be a way out for the moment. Many have been quick to point the finger at returning coach Frank Lampard, although the rot had set in long before. Chaotic player recruitment has made it difficult for Chelsea to establish a settled side, and changing coaches twice in a season has led to disjointed performances. They have a lot of talent at their disposal, but is it any wonder they don’t appear to know what they’re supposed to be doing from game to game?
It’s astounding that Chelsea aren’t mathematically safe from relegation at this stage of the season, but the chances of them actually being relegated to the Championship are minuscule. We’d say they could play for pride between now and the end of the season, but with so many of their players bedding in, it’s doubtful they have that kind of group mentality required to ‘play for nothing’. Therefore, it’s hard to see a way out – we suspect they’re waiting for the season to be over and done with.
Chelsea have slipped so much this season that we would not be surprised to see them lose at Bournemouth following this derby match. Nottingham Forest at home will be fiercely contested owing to Forest’s predicament, away matches against the two Manchester clubs don’t inspire confidence and they face in-form Newcastle on the final day of the season. Lampard’s men will have to show far more resolve in the final weeks of the season to rescue any sense of respectability.
Injuries and Suspensions
Might Not Play:
Will Not Play: Elneny, Saliba, Tomiyasu
Might Not Play: Havertz
Will Not Play: Bettinelli, Broja, Cucurella, James, Koulibaly, Mount
Arsenal vs Chelsea Lineups (Predicted)
Arsenal (4-3-3/4-2-3-1): Ramsdale; Zinchenko, Gabriel, Holding, White; Partey, Xhaka; Martinelli, Odegaard, Saka; Jesus
Chelsea (3-4-2-1): Arrizabalaga; Badiashile, Silva, Fofana; Chilwell, Azpilicueta, Kante, Fernandez; Kovacic, Gallagher; Sterling
Arsenal vs Chelsea Analysis
We Feel Arsenal Might Play More Cautiously
Despite their recent collapse, the goals have continued to flow for Arsenal. Two goals per game is roughly on par with their season average, and their xG stats are also in line. The issue is that in order to generate that kind of threat, they have to play an open, expansive style of football that requires them to be exceptional in defending transitions – both in terms of getting back quickly and actually having the ability to stop the opposition when they get there.
This sounds so simple, doesn’t it? The cold hard truth though is that Arsenal have been not been doing the defensive fundamentals required to play their expansive brand of football. They’ve missed the influential Saliba at the heart of their defence, but we feel this is a deeper problem connected to a lack of squad rotation. At the end of a truncated season, Arsenal are simply not providing their defence with the protection it requires, and we can draw parallels with Liverpool (who have improved but are still conceding far too many).
Therefore, with Arsenal’s title challenge fading fast, surely they’ll rein it in a little bit against a Chelsea side that lacks imagination in the final third? You’d think that it would make it safer for Arsenal to impose their ‘usual’ game, but Chelsea still look quite dangerous on the counterattack – the issue is they’ve been playing possession football without the quality to create clear chances in the final third. Arteta will probably know that Chelsea can’t live with Odegaard, Saka, Martinelli and Jesus in transition, and they should be looking to lure Chelsea in.
Chelsea Still Create Chances on the Break – Can They Take Any?
Chelsea may be in terrible form, but Arsenal will still need to be wary of overcommitting players – particularly in light of their recent poor defensive record. Although low on confidence, Chelsea have technically competent midfielders who can put players through on goal when afforded the opportunity to do so. The glaring issue is that Chelsea don’t have any forwards in form who can take them. That said, fortunes in football can turn quickly – nobody expected Southampton to score three at the Emirates.
They were able to do so in the first leg of their Champions League tie against Real Madrid and were perhaps unfortunate to come away with a 2-0 defeat. A 0-0 home draw against Liverpool, albeit under a different coach (Saltor), demonstrated that Chelsea can keep things tight and generate their own threat when they’re not tasked with finding a way through the low block. Arsenal are likely to be more cautious but not to the point where Chelsea will have to break down two banks of four or anything like that.
Arsenal have been caught out in wide areas recently as their cumulative fatigue grows towards the end of the season, and Chelsea have capable wingbacks at their disposal. Reece James is a big miss for them of course, but Ben Chilwell is still in relatively good form and his return against Brentford was one of the few high points for them.
This match might be more competitive than it would appear to be. Yes, Chelsea look lost, caught in tactical no man’s land between generating a threat on the break and playing possession-based football – they’re not converting in either scenario. However, we cannot ignore that Arsenal have looked poor recently, and we feel that they’ll prioritise the points and play it safer.
Therefore, we anticipate a low-scoring match which Arsenal will be able to grind out. There’s no room for additional slip-ups, and they’ll know that Chelsea are far from the best side in the Premier League at breaking teams down. Therefore, we expect that Arsenal will be more disciplined and look to attack responsibly. Chelsea are unlikely to score in this scenario.
Arsenal 1-0 Chelsea
Arsenal vs Chelsea Betting Tip – Arsenal Odds:
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