Preview: Chelsea v Arsenal

Chelsea will be eyeing a winning start at Stamford Bridge on Saturday when they host an Arsenal team eager to bounce back after losing their season opener.

Premier League
18 August 2018
Gameweek 2
Kick-off: 18H30 (GMT+2)
Venue: Stamford Bridge

Referee: M. Atkinson
Assistants: L. Betts, S. Child
Fourth official: J. Moss

Head-to-head summary:

TEAM MATCHES WIN DRAW LOSS

Chelsea 175 57 51 67
Arsenal 175 67 51 57

Previous encounter:

Arsenal 1-1 Chelsea 01/08/2018 (International Champions Cup)

Arsenal goalscorers: A. Lacazette (90’+3)

Chelsea goalscorers: A. Rudiger (5′)

Players to watch:

The hosts expect to give star forward Eden Hazard a spot in the starting line-up after coming off the bench against Huddersfield. The Belgium international’s pace and skilful dribbling has the potential to cause problems for Arsenal.

The Gunners will be hoping Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang can get off the mark for 2018/19. The former Borussia Dortmund striker scored 10 goals in 13 league games last season and could combine with Alexandre Lacazette, if Unai Emery feels more adventurous.

Team form and manager quotes:

The Blues recorded a comfortable 3-0 victory over Huddersfield Town in their Premier League opener last weekend. N’Golo Kante gave the visitors the lead at the John Smith’s Stadium before a penalty from Jorginho made it 2-0 and Pedro capped off the win late on.

Maurizio Sarri’s men are still in the process of adapting to his style of play and the Italian will be hoping they can make further progress with a positive result against Arsenal in front of the Chelsea fans.

“I think that Emery is a very good coach. He won three times the Europa League. He won in France with PSG. And I think Arsenal, this season, will be competitive. I think that they will be able to fight for a place in the Champions League,” Sarri told a press conference when asked about his opposite number.

Meanwhile, the Gunners are also in a transition period with manager Unai Emery experiencing his first Premier League season in charge. They were humbled in their opening game of the season as they lost 2-0 at home against reigning champions Manchester City.

Emery will have another tough encounter to navigate when his side take on Chelsea and the Spaniard will be eager to see more positive signs from his team after a concerning performance last weekend.

“You shouldn’t change your mentality if you lose the first game. I want a consistency in our way. I want us to do well with our thinking and our mentality,” Emery told a press conference.

“We have one plan, we have one process. Maybe in one match, you can be very happy with the performance and the result – and I want that on Saturday. But then you need more time to completely watch your team as you want [them to play].

“I want us to show more personality in each match to improve, so the performances arrive quickly. Saturday is a very good option to show our personality, our capacity against a big team like Chelsea, and away from home.”

Team news:

Chelsea have no fresh injury concerns and could give Hazard his first start of the season, after coming off the bench against Huddersfield.

Arsenal will be missing Ashley Maitland-Niles, Sead Kolasinac and Laurent Koscielny, but Nacho Monreal is back in training and could feature.

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