In only the second game week of the English Premier League, Arsenal are faced with another tough task as they battle Chelsea in a London derby.
The Gunners faced off against Manchester City in their first game of the season and are now hoping to turn things around by getting a big victory over the Blues.
On the other hand, Maurizio Sarri’s men got off to the perfect start by getting three points against Huddersfield Town as they hope to return as contenders in the Premier League.
Both teams are seeking big wins against each other, with the Gunners holding an advantage in their recent head-to-head battles. Arsenal have won three of their last six meetings across all competitions, with the other three ending up in draws.
With that in mind, Arsenal boss Unai Emery must get his tactics right against the Blues in their first away game of the season as consecutive losses may be a big blow in them reaching their targets for the Premier League season.
Here are a few things to watch out for in the coming clash between rivals.
Emery’s midfield options
As seen in their first match against Manchester City, Emery employed a 4-2-3-1 formation which had mixed results in their loss.
Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan were placed on the flanks and were relatively underwhelming against the City defences, while Aaron Ramsey failed to be a constant threat despite being given the task to play much closer to the final third of the pitch.
Furthermore, new signing Lucas Torreira was not part of the starting XI much to the surprise of many. The team’s big signing of the summer came on as a substitute and failed to make much of an impact in the game.
It is expected, that Emery will tweak the midfield which will incorporate Torreira more as they will try to maximise his strength in winning balls against Sarri’s possession-hungry style of play. Also, Ozil is likely to go back to his usual no. 10 role as he is more effective than being on the wings.
Resolving Chelsea’s defensive line-up
Despite only playing one game so far in the Premier League, saying that Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso have won their places in the defence is an understatement.
The two are considered two of the best in the Premier League and have displayed it time and again. However, the question remains whether David Luiz should still be the first-choice central defender for the Blues.
In his second stint with Chelsea, the Brazilian has been less-than-convincing as he has made a number of errors and his partnership with Antonio Rudiger has not been as expected.
Facing a player like Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, playing David Luiz may be to the Blues’ own detriment given the Arsenal striker’s pace.
Sarri might need to change things a little, giving Andreas Christensen a try as he has shown glimpses of what he can do when given the chance. Minimising errors and being more disciplined in the line may be enough to stop the Gunners from mounting their offence.
Pedro against Arsenal’s defenders
Eden Hazard is still Chelsea’s best player and is likely to make his first Premier League start of the season after coming on as a substitute in their first game. However, the Gunners must keep a keen eye on Pedro as he looks to terrorise the defenders.
Arsenal are having trouble with injuries as Nacho Monreal, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Sead Kolasinac are out of the game, leaving Stephan Lichtsteiner to play the left-back position as he did against City in game week 1.
He did a good job against City and needs to replicate the same against Chelsea as Sarri may implore Pedro and other wingers to keep attacking that side of the pitch to find holes in the Arsenal defence.
As for the Gunners, they will certainly need to help Lichtsteiner as the lack of personnel means even the wingers may need to back-track to stop the ball from moving towards their defensive half of the pitch.