English Premiership: CHELSEA vs ARSENAL – Match preview

Chelsea host Arsenal in match week 10 of the Premier League, on Saturday, October 29, 2011, at the Stamford Bridge, in what is undoubtedly the biggest match of the day.

Chelsea are coming off a shock 1-0 loss to QPR, last week, in a match that witnessed two sending offs, seven yellow cards and a penalty. With Bosingwa and Drogba having been red-carded and due to miss the game against Arsenal, Torres is likely to spearhead the attack, on Saturday. A win in the game with QPR would have propelled Chelsea to second place ahead of Man United who lost to City in the Manchester derby. But for several missed chances and a complete loss of discipline, the Stamford Bridge squad should have achieved it. Luiz made a daft challenge in the 8th minute and referee Chris Foy had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Currently in third place, on the points table, the Stamford Bridge squad, with 19 points, are just a point adrift of Man United, while Arsenal with 13 points from their nine games are in 7th place.

Arsenal are coming into this game with a 3-1 home win over Stoke under their belt. Van Persie scored a second half brace; the teams went into the break, level at 1-1, after Peter Crouch’s 34th minute equaliser cancelled out Gervinho’s 27th minute strike.

Chelsea have had a perfect record at home this season having won all four league games hosted at Stamford Bridge; contrast this with Arsenal’s away record which makes poor reading: one draw and three losses making up the Gunners four games on the road.

Head to head, the two sides have won seven games each in the last 20 league matches between them with the remaining six matches ending in stalemates. The sides last met in December 2010, at the Emirates, when hosts Arsenal won by a 3-1 score-line. However, last season’s encounter at Stamford Bridge went Chelsea’s way, with the hosts winning 2-0. In their last 10 games in the Premiership, Chelsea have recorded 6 wins, 3 losses and a draw, while Arsenal’s last 10 games have resulted in 4 wins, 4 losses and 2 draws. With midweek wins in the Carling Cup, both teams will be looking to build on that momentum. That said, Chelsea have shown better attacking fluidity this season than Arsenal who have been overly reliant on a few players, particularly Van Persie.

Good betting opportunities in this match? I would say an easy win for the Blues, but the odds are not in our favour for this one (around 1.60), so I would take anytime goal scorer Van Persie @ around 3.25 and under 3.0 total goals @ around 1.75. But hey! Don’t forget it is a derby and anything can happen here!

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